Turning the Ocean Liner: 5 Ways Multi-Touch Attribution Helps B2B Change Course

May 23, 2018 Ginna Hall

Big companies are like ocean liners. They move slowly. If you need to change course, you turn the wheel a few degrees and eventually the ship adjusts so it’s heading in the right direction. Over time, you find yourself in a very different place than where you started from.

The B2B sector has been buffeted by digital transformation, changes in consumer expectations, and mobile innovation—factors that have disrupted industries up and down their supply chains. Like the ocean liner, B2B companies are slowly adapting as their captains chart a new course.

Marketing is one arena that has changed forever, with new opportunities and challenges to reach and engage prospects. In this new era, B2B companies are turning to multi-touch attribution solutions that can help them acquire customers and drive value. Read on to learn how multi-touch attribution provides the information B2B business leaders need to turn the wheel.

Unique B2B Marketing Challenges

B2B companies have unique challenges when it comes to marketing. While B2C brands focus on reaching and engaging individual consumers, B2B marketers must engage multiple stakeholders within an organization throughout a lengthy sales cycle.

In the past, this meant staffing a large sales force that focused its efforts on C-level management. Today, many global organizations have shifted their strategy to build relationships with both executive and user-level personnel.

B2B marketing has gotten more complex as companies try to figure out different ways to engage with all of the different roles within a business. Multi-touch attribution is one way B2B organizations are managing this complexity,

Multi-touch attribution is an advanced way of measuring marketing effectiveness. It tracks the cross-channel, multi-device consumer journey and accurately assigns credit to the touchpoints that influenced a desired result. More sophisticated multi-touch attribution solutions are even able to integrate audience attribute data, so marketers can analyze performance in the context of key audiences.

Here are five ways multi-touch attribution helps B2B tackle its unique marketing challenges.

1. Harness Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has proved disruptive to entire industries and to traditional marketing and advertising tactics. Using channel-specific strategies, tactics and last-touch metrics is no longer effective.

Without the ability to track the consumer journey and tie interactions across channels and devices to one user, it’s virtually impossible to know which marketing initiatives are working and which ones aren’t.

Multi-touch attribution solutions that enable you to analyze the impact of your marketing and advertising against specific success criteria, understand which tactics are most effective for each audience, and predict performance with confidence are the way forward in the digital era.

2. Adopt a People-Based Approach

While B2C companies try to convert individual customers, B2B companies have a different business problem to solve—how to connect organization to organization. B2B strategy has morphed from a focus on the top of the organization to a collaborative relationship at the user level for a multi-pronged approach to marketing, sales and customer engagement.

For example, rather than engaging with a CIO to sell their stack, a tech company may decide to open up their software and allow developers to use it on a trial basis, with the hope that the developer will decide they need it and evangelize it throughout the organization.

To gain insight into both the CIO and developer-level prospects, B2B marketers need to drill down to the attributes of these individuals at the granular level. Integrating audience demographic and behavioral attributes with multi-touch attribution enables a people-based understanding of who your customers and prospects really are and how they behave.

B2B marketers can not only see all the consumer touchpoints involved in the buying cycle and track how each interaction contributes to a desired action at each stage of the funnel, but also deliver tailored messages and experiences that meet each user’s unique needs and preferences.

3. Break Down Marketing Silos

B2B organizations in general are very siloed. Audience-driven, multi-touch attribution solutions break down these silos, incorporating all audience and interaction data into a single, centralized repository, so you can analyze and optimize your marketing and advertising performance by audience segment.

B2B marketers need the ability to combine the profile data they have about their customers and prospects with marketing performance data to gain a consolidated view of each stakeholder and every marketing interaction leading up to a given success criteria (lead generation, trial download or contract signing).

While CRM, DMP, marketing automation and other platforms provide critical capabilities for different aspects of B2B marketing, they operate independently and lack the comprehensive insight required to meet today’s requirements.

With a holistic view of what’s working and what’s not for each type of audience, internal and external teams can work together to maximize spend efficiencies and deliver a better overall experience.

4. Measure Brand Engagement

Multi-touch attribution can also solve the B2B marketer’s challenge of analyzing the effectiveness of brand-building campaigns. Thought leadership via content marketing—creating brand awareness with valuable content—has become a successful approach for B2B organizations.

While traffic and user behavior can be tracked for each content asset, it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of brand-building tactics at the top of the funnel. Even with an increased use of digital channels and their inherent track-ability, responses to a brand marketer’s efforts often take the form of multiple “brand engagement” actions, or KPIs established through post-campaign surveys.

B2B brand marketers struggle to use these metrics in combination to gain an understanding of a branding campaign’s performance. A multi-touch attribution solution that incorporates multiple types of brand engagement activities (first-time website visits, video completions, content downloads, etc.) into a single currency enables brand marketers to easily identify which channels and tactics are contributing to brand engagement and make frequent optimizations that drive incremental brand lift.

5. Gain a Competitive Edge

Although B2B markets—with defined verticals and segmented competition—tend to move more slowly than the dynamic B2C landscape, B2B still need to understand the individual customer journey.

B2B prospects are trying to answer the question, ‘Will this product or service help my organization succeed?’ The most successful B2B solutions are “sticky,” encouraging repeatability and enablement.

To stay ahead of the competition, B2B companies must pivot to be optimized in the space that they’re in. Multi-touch attribution helps B2B companies focus on meeting their customers’ needs to drive more value than other players.

Marketing Intelligence for a New Era

A multi-touch attribution solution that integrates addressable touchpoints from digital and offline channels allows marketers to evaluate and optimize performance of all channels. Bringing all marketing and media under one umbrella helps B2B marketers build complete customer journeys, gain insights into which tactics are reaping the maximum benefit and steer a new course in the digital era.

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