Maximizing B2B Sales: Effective Marketing Attribution Strategies

Back to Blog - by The Digilant Team

Conversations surrounding the benefits of digital advertising sometimes skew more B2C-centric. However, B2B companies can, and should, take advantage of the data-driven technologies available to advertisers. B2B companies face a longer sales cycle, on average (estimates say that of B2B sales take 3 months or longer to close, in comparison to 2-3 weeks for B2C sales), which means that quality, timely consumer touchpoints are essential. Attaining and maintaining consumers’ attention throughout this sales cycle is no easy feat, however, with a quality omnichannel approach, it is possible.

As advertisers invest in an omnichannel marketing solution, they realize they can feel more comfortable dividing their marketing budgets across different channels. Today’s omnichannel advertisers, whether B2B or B2C, combine channels such as display, video, digital audio, CTV, SEM, and social to create a more holistic omnichannel digital experience. In 2019, 51% of advertisers used eight or more channels to interact with consumers.

However, the key differentiator in an omnichannel solution is that it isn’t just spreading your camping across different channels to touch them all. Rather, it is effectively using these channels to the best of their ability, reaching the right audience on the right channels. This is especially important in a B2B sales cycle, as mentioned above, that usually extends longer than the average B2C cycle. B2B marketers need to embrace quality, rather than quantity, effective touchpoints backed by data-driven marketing.

So how does an advertiser ensure that their digital campaigns are yielding these strategic touchpoints? Enter B2B marketing attribution.

What is marketing attribution?

Attribution allows advertisers to analyze ROI respective to each channel used throughout the customer journey. It outlines how consumers get to know, and eventually purchase from your product. The goal of attribution studies is to understand which touchpoints (or channels) had the greatest impact on the desired result, such as a sale.

As mentioned above, the B2B sales cycle rarely has a 2 step path to purchase. Instead, consumers interact with your brand on social media, after seeing your ad while streaming television and then ultimately enter your site via a display ad they see while scrolling through a news article, maybe toggling between adding an item to cart before eventually deciding to purchase the product after receiving a discount code via an email campaign (even that would be a quicker sales journey than most). As marketers it would be our dream to understand the consumer thought process during each step of this journey – what they thought of the brand while interacting with them on Facebook, if the website fulfilled any questions they had, etc. Although we don’t quite have the technology to fulfill that exact process, marketing attribution gets us pretty close.

Different Types of Marketing Attribution

There are two major categories of marketing attribution studies: single-touch and multi-touch.

Single Touch Attribution

Just as the name would indicate, single-touch attribution models give credit of the desired action to one touchpoint during the sales cycle. The two most common types of single-touch attribution models are:

  • First touch: 100% of the sale is attributed to the first touchpoint the consumer had with the brand. In B2B marketing attribution specifically, you could also consider “lead creation touch” meaning that 100% of the sale is allocated to the touchpoint that directly led to a customer transitioning from a prospect to a viable lead.
  • Last touch: 100% of the sale is attributed to the last touchpoint the consumer had with the brand

So, take the example from above, if this brand was using a last touch attribution model, 100% of the sale would be attributed to the last email that was sent to the consumer. There would be no account for the CTV, social, or additional display ads that the consumer interacted with and saw.

There are undoubtedly cases in which these attribution studies have benefits and can be easily implemented to further your brand’s goals. However, in more recent times, advertisers have leaned more on multi-touch.

Multi-Touch Attribution

Multi-touch attribution models are more complex to outline and digest than single-touch attribution models, as they each have their own unique nuances and benefits. However, the basis of multi-touch attribution models is that they look at, again not surprisingly, different touchpoints along the customer journey and how they all contributed to the desired action. Some of the most popular models are:

  • Linear: This model gives equal credit to every touchpoint during the customer journey
  • U-Shaped: This model gives 40% of the credit to the first touchpoint, 40% to the last touchpoint, and all touchpoints between account for the other 20%
  • W-Shaped: This model allocates 30% credit to the first and last touchpoints but also allocates 30% to the touchpoint in which the consumer went from a prospect to a viable lead, leaving 10% for the remaining touchpoints
  • Time Decay: This model gives credit to the final touchpoints leading up to the conversion, or sale, and allocates less importance to the initial touchpoints

Aside from these two umbrella terms for attribution studies, there are also custom attribution studies that advertisers can create to weigh different touchpoints in their own unique way.

B2B Marketing Attribution: Finding the Right Solution For Your Brand

Finding the right attribution model will depend on your brand’s overall goals. So, before you decide on any of these B2B marketing attribution models, you must establish what you hope to gain from these studies and what you intend to do with this information once you acquire it. Without a plan in place as to how you will use the information to better your brand, you are more at risk to pick a study that ultimately doesn’t further your success.

Once these goals are in place, you will have a more clear direction of which study is best fit for you. Think of the B2B sales cycle in four different steps:

  1. first touch
  2. lead creation
  3. opportunity creation
  4. close/sale

If your brand is struggling with steps one and two, you should look to attribution studies that lend better insights into where leads that end up making a purchase, first interact with your brand. This will allow you to better allocate resources and advertising budget to channels that are successfully improving this part of the sales cycle.

Consider a custom U-shaped attribution model that aligns 40% to the first touch and 40% to the lead creation action. This also could be the case for a first-touch attribution model. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if your brand has no problem bringing in leads, but is struggling to close the sale, you will want to focus on attribution models that showcase end-of-sales cycle insights.

Consider time decay or last-touch attribution models. 

Time to get Started: Find a Marketing Attribution Partner

Because attribution models are growing more advanced and customizable, there’s no one-size-fits-all B2B marketing attribution study that will work for every brand across the board. With nearly limitless options, it seems constricting to have a blanket list for everyone to follow.

Rather, if you are looking to get started with B2B marketing attribution but don’t know where to start, consider investing in a digital advertising partner. This partner will work with your team to understand your business objective and in turn, find an attribution model that will best work to fulfill your said objectives.

Attribution is not an easy subject to digest, let alone implement into your digital media strategy. To uncover the full benefits of its features, finding experts who can guide you through the intricacies and changes that arise is a worthwhile investment.

Digilant’s Attribution Solution

At Digilant, we know the challenges that brands face. More pressure than ever to quantify business impact, greater trouble keeping pace with emerging channels, and an increasing need for digital media platform experts. All of our solutions are built with these challanges in mind.

Our custom-built dashboards give advertisers holistic, automated views into the customer journey, updated in real-time. We work with our clients to find a solution that works best for their needs. And, we understand that your needs may change and adapt as your brand does. Our team of experts is flexible and readily available to work with you every step and change along the way to ensure your brand’s goals are achieved.

Interested in learning more about Digilant’s attribution solutions? Learn more about our attribution solutions, or schedule a live demo with one of our attribution experts here

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