Data Driven Marketing Improves Multi-Touch Attribution Performance

Data Driven Marketing

Having data is one thing, but doing something meaningful with it is another thing entirely. Continuing to acquire, update, and examine marketing data is essential to data driven marketing.

Think about it. On the financial side, the CFO has for decades relied on data to view past business results, examine current successes or failures, and predict trends so future business decisions lead to prosperity and a happy CEO and board of directors.

Data-driven marketers must take the same approach with their budgets by examining ad spend to determine the results from that expense. Dollars out combined with attributable dollars in gives marketers the incremental impact of their campaigns. Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the barometer by which marketing departments are judged, and on which future budgets are allocated.

While this spring 2021 McKinsey article focuses on data-driven marketing with a lens toward marketing during a pandemic, the principles are the same: more data is better; and acting on the data quickly provides a competitive advantage.

Buyer behavior indeed did change during the pandemic, and the data proved that out, guiding marketers to adjust campaigns to meet buyers where they were – on digital channels more than ever. Out of the pandemic, buyers modified their behavior again, swinging the pendulum back to more traditional channels, but not completely.

Just as employers and employees adjusted to a new hybrid work environment (in some cases, fully remote), marketers adapted to a new marketing landscape where careful examination of what channels and programs were working was often the difference between staying in business or closing the doors forever.

Data-Driven Marketing is a Necessity

Those winning at marketing today hold data-driven marketing in highest regard. The auto dealer that is selling the most cars has a dedicated person or team that looks closely at multi-touch attribution data to see what marketing channels are working to bring eyeballs to its website and traffic to its showrooms.

Identifying that customer’s marketing journey is vital to a successful campaign designed to sell more cars. Take a possible customer car-buying journey:

  • A person hears a radio ad while getting ready for work.
  • With 20 minutes to spare before the first work call of the day, she does a quick search for the car make and model she has in mind, recalls the radio ad and types in the name of the dealer she heard.
  • A few days later, a display ad from Google Display Network for the same car dealer featuring an early Labor Day sale. She clicks on the ad, views the inventory and fills out a form to indicate the model she is interested in.
  • Over the next few weeks, she checks the sites of other dealers in town to see what their inventory looks like.
  • A rep from the first dealer emails her with additional details about the cars she is interested in, as well as a couple of options that have upgraded features. She clicks the link in the email and is now back on the website.
  • A few days later, the dealer sent a text message with their newest offers, close to the vehicle she was interested in.
  • She calls the dealer and schedules test drives the following weekend.
  • She doesn’t feel comfortable yet and wasn’t sure if she could afford the purchase.
  • A week later she receives an offer in the mail for special financing and an offer on a trade in vehicle.
  • The next day, working with a brand new sales rep, she signs the paperwork and drives off the lot.

Now most salesman will ask “how did you find us” or “how did you hear about us,” but they won’t truly know the depth of that buyer’s journey without accurate multi-touch attribution, complete with time stamps, the various touchpoints and the conversion steps along the way.

The Power is in Your Marketing Data

A custom pixel, like the LeadsRx Universal Pixel™, installed by the dealer on its website, will help stitch together all the touchpoints that led a consumer to the dealer website and eventually the lot. Even that offline radio ad is measured and given credit for its contribution to the customer journey. That digital ads on paid search and paid social? Easy to see in the journey.

The point is, knowing what touchpoints are working, and how they are working together, is critical to making business decisions. The radio ad worked, but when did it air and how often? Which creative was the most able to drive customer action? Increase the spend on those – and decrease the spend on the others. The banner ad might have helped people lower in the funnel, but been a distraction to those still at the top. Maybe a paid ad on a social channel could help the next prospect along their journey – or maybe something in the broadcast space like TV or podcast ads.

No customer journey is the same, but when attribution data is looked at specifically AND holistically, marketers can dial in on what is working and do more of it. If a particular channel is working, increase spend there and cannibalize spend from what isn’t. Then recheck it all next week or next month – or even better update your campaigns mid-flight with real-time data.

Best of all, multi-touch attribution takes all bias out of assessing marketing performance. The boss has an affinity for Facebooks ads and “knows” they work best? OK, the data will prove it. Radio is old school, so but if you can measure it properly you might find the cost per impression, and cost per conversion to be comparable to the more competitive digital search and social channels. Look at the attribution data. It will tell you, impartially, how those radio ads are performing.

Data, specifically attribution data, doesn’t care about opinions or biases. It simply shines a light on the truth. What is the ROAS? What’s working, and what is not? It is data driven. And data-driven marketers are winning.

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