2 thoughts on “The Thorny Question of Marketing Attribution: Does It Apply to B-to-B?”

  1. Well worth the read. Ruth brings us back to looking at the haystack, and then over at the hay bale, and then asks us to think backwards, even as far as the planting last Spring. This article nicely combines bigger picture with a discussion of all the nitty-gritty tools. I especially appreciate the reference to other authors and their work. Shows professional competence and confidence. Cause and effect in human actions are always complex things to figure out. This is a good discussion of that fundamental truth. It’s even more so because the complexity is multiplied in B-to-B where the "buyer" is a bunch of humans acting in a group and attempting to do so rationally.

  2. But wait … there’s more! (As they say on late night TV.) Not only is Ruth correct about the thorniness of BtoB marketing attribution, it turns out that channel partners and sales execs and managers usually want most of the credit and the kudos too.

    In 2013, I conducted assessments and training at seven worldwide lead gen/dev contact centers operated by third-party providers for a major US tech company. Couple the phone touches with other touches, both before and after, it’s clear that marketing plays a big role in earning the business. Yet when sales materialize, the sales folks say, “look at who asked for and got the money!” Proportional attribution? Naaah.

    So when calculating true cost-of-sales, how best to consider both marketing’s AND sales’ contributions? And how much difference would such a calculation make? Well, on the macro level, it makes a big difference, especially as a guide to the balance of marketing and sales investment. But on the micro level (“what do you mean I get only 22% credit? I did at least 30% of the work and touches”), it will make you crazy. Better to look at trends, touches-to-advance, touches v. cycle length, and so on.

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