Recently at the Bay Area Content Marketing Meetup, we had a panel discussion on content marketing. The topic of multi-touch marketing attribution came up — that discussion inspired me to write this post.
Let’s start with an analogy:
To measure Twitter marketing for our B2B brand, we determined that mentions are a good thing.
By evaluating historical data, we calculated that a mention on Twitter is worth $.25.
Last month, we received 1,000 mentions.
So our Twitter presence was worth $250.
What about the sentiment of those mentions?
What if 250 mentions were compliments (good/great), 250 were shares of our content (good/neutral) and 500 were complaints about the horrible customer service we provide?
I’d argue that net-net, our Twitter presence had a highly negative return.
B2B Marketing Attribution
Now let’s consider “multi-touch marketing attribution.”
We closed a deal worth $20,000 and it had 5 touches: 2 blog posts, 2 white papers and a webinar. We’ll use a linear multi-touch attribution model, giving equal weight to each touch.
So each of the 5 assets is assigned a value of $20,000 / 5 = $4,000.
Side note: the team at Bizible has a nice blog post explaining the different multi-touch attribution models. I chose one model for this example — the focus of this post is not on the models themselves, but in the assigning of value to content assets.
One of the 2 white papers has this title:
The CISO’s Ultimate Guide to Multi-Factor Authentication
In this deal, it was awarded $4,000 in value. But wait! It’s also a “touch” in 10 other deals this quarter. Across those 10 deals, it was awarded $35,000 in value. So that’s $39,000 in value in this quarter alone.
It cost us $3,000 to create the white paper.
Wow! Let’s tell the boss! Look at the ROI of this one asset! It’s as if we received 1,000 Twitter mentions!
Marketing Attribution: What Gets Overlooked
So here’s the issue.
Granted, this exercise is at a small scale (e.g., 11 deals). If we looked at 5,000 deals and this white paper was touched in 600 of them, it’s a different story.
But anyhow, my main point is this:
Content consumed doesn’t necessarily help the sale.
In other words, marketing attribution looks at content in a binary fashion, without evaluating nuances on whether it advanced the deal. The rule is:
If white paper was touched, then assign positive value.
For this ultimate guide to multi-factor authentication, what if it:
- Was poorly designed or laid out
- Was poorly written
- Had spelling mistakes
- Was a fluff piece that had no depth or substance
- Introduced a new approach that was hard to grasp
- Provided pricing that was far different from what readers expected
Think differently now?
Now, you feel lucky to have closed those 11 deals. Maybe customers downloaded the paper, but didn’t read it (again, lucky!). Or, maybe they purchased your product, but have a lukewarm-to-negative impression of your brand. Not a great way to start a relationship.
I don’t have an elegant solution to this “problem,” except to say that we ought to go beyond touches and consider the sentiment of those touches.
You know, get some reader feedback.
Interested in your thoughts 👇