As a B2B content marketer, I get the importance of attribution. Proving that my content efforts bring in leads is the basis of my job security. But I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I look at the lead source, the first touch, and call it a day.

After talking with Mike Tomita, Senior Manager of Web Marketing at Marketo, I am reminded of the dangers of single-touch attribution – and motivated to recommit myself to a multi-touch way of life. When you limit your view of the customer journey to the first touch, you’re mitigating the value of your marketing campaigns and you’re working off assumptions. This doesn’t leave much room to justify your worth or make powerful optimizations.

Mike brings over a decade of experience in web marketing, including mastering paid search, display, remarketing, SEO, and social media advertising. Basically, he knows his stuff, and he knows how to avoid the trap of first-touch attribution. Here’s his advice.

First Connect the Dots Between Program Cost and Revenue

According to Marketo’s Lead Generation Metrics report, 89% of organizations use spreadsheets to track their marketing spend. The problem with this approach is that it makes it difficult to connect the dots between your program performance, cost and revenue.

If you use a CRM and marketing automation system like Marketo, make sure your opportunity and revenue data from your CRM gets pushed to your marketing automation platform. Also make sure to input the cost of your programs into your marketing automation. The key is having the data in one place so you can see the entire customer journey and how each program fits in.

Breakout First-Touch ROI and Multi-Touch ROI

Once all your data is in one place, you can calculate ROI. To really understand your programs’ ROI you have to take a holistic look at their performance across the entire buyer journey. It’s not about one touch or one program or one channel. It’s a combination of interactions and programs that move a lead down the funnel.

At Marketo, Mike uses both first-touch and multi-touch attribution to capture which marketing source and program brings in a lead and which programs the lead touches on their way to becoming a customer.

Mike recommends measuring first-touch ROI by looking at the total opportunities and revenue generated from that first form fill or download. Your first-touch program success indicates if you’re attracting the right prospects.

Then your can measure your multi-touch program ROI by seeing how each program moves prospects through the funnel. Look at the revenue and divide by the number of programs that contributed. Some companies may choose to weight each touch differently depending on their unique buying cycle and goals, but you can also evenly divide between all involved programs.

You’ll find that some marketing programs are terrible at bringing in new names but they work great for nurturing. With a multi-touch approach you’re likely to discover your marketing has a much bigger influence on closed opportunities than you would otherwise know. Forget job security, it’s time for a raise.

Use Multi-Touch Data to Improve

Once you know how your marketing programs contribute to revenue and the customer journey you can make powerful optimizations. On a high level you can measure the performance of your programs and see which ones are working (either to bring in names, or move them along the funnel) and which ones should be retired. You can track how many touches it takes before a lead becomes an opportunity, and ultimately a sale, and find ways to streamline the journey. You can also analyze which messages work at which part of the journey. Which contacts respond to certain messages?  Are there opportunities to further segment nurturing tracks based on attribution data and a prospect’s online behavior? When you have a complete view of your program performance and the customer journey you have limitless opportunities to optimize.

It may seem like a pain to go beyond a single-touch attribution model, but the benefits far outweigh the trouble. With lead tracking tools and marketing automation solutions it’s fairly simple to get the data. It’s just a matter of using it.

Are you interested in learning more about improving your digital marketing with cross-channel attribution? Hear more from Mike and other expert B2B marketers at Google’s workshop, Better to Best: Improving Digital Marketing with Cross-Channel Attribution and Analytics. Register here.

Amber Tiffany

Posted by Amber Tiffany

Amber has a background in content strategy and brings her passion for writing along with her two first names to the role of Senior Content Marketing Manager at Invoca. Amber began her career as a marketing copywriter and has since gained experience in SEM and content strategy for both B2C and B2B organizations. Amber loves the outdoors, physical activity, especially when it’s competitive, reading and attempting to be musical. She is currently training daily to become the first female champion in Invoca’s Ping Pong League history.