Over the next three to five years, 75% of marketers say they will be responsible for owning the end-to-end customer experience. This includes the moment a prospect hears about your brand to the ongoing relationship that follows and beyond.
This represents a paradigm shift in the way organizations have viewed the role of the marketer. Customers hear about your brand through different channels, engage through new mediums and share their experiences in ways that they never could before.
As such, the traditional buyer’s journey stages (awareness, consideration, purchase) no longer map to the cross-device, non-linear, customer journey we see today. Instead, customers come in at all different points in the funnel, flowing back and forth between stages over the course of time.
At the heart of this evolution is attribution, the method by which we evaluate the performance of our campaigns to align marketing spend with revenue. Attribution allows you to answer essential marketing questions that indicate where to invest budget and time. For example, which ad campaigns are driving new leads? What are the pieces of content that lead customers to convert? Is one channel referring more subscription upgrades than another?
To answer these fundamental questions, archaic attribution methods such as first and last click no longer suffice. There is simply too much fluidity in today’s customer experience. In fact, according to Lewis Brannon, Paid Search Manager at CPC Strategy, “the average transaction today has more than 30 touchpoints in it!”
With full funnel attribution, each of these touch points would tie directly to a result and show the impact over time. To achieve this, I’ve outlined the three steps marketers should take that will fuze attribution modeling with real-time analytics to deliver an unparalleled customer experience.
Step One: Bridging the Siloed Data Gap
Leveraging customer analytics will reveal who your buyers are, what they want and how to keep them coming back for more. Unifying that data with attribution, instructs where to place your marketing dollars to receive the best return on investment possible. It’s not about focusing on one or the other; it’s about both working in harmony.
Every tool you use likely has its own set of corresponding analytics, telling distinct chapters of a story. But, without seeing the chapters laid out side-by-side, everyone in the organization is reading a separate section, not grasping the entire narrative and how each corresponds to the overarching customer journey.
For example, when purchasing a new piece of software, you’re likely going to conduct some research before. You might sign up for a free trial, submit a support question, click on a few ads and read some documentation before eventually converting to a paying customer. Each action plays a role in your purchasing decision. But, with different tools collecting the data on these actions, how could a marketer see these touchpoints to know where to optimize spend and how to attribute dollars?
According to Marketing Data Technology: Cutting Through the Complexity, “today’s marketers are leveraging upwards of a dozen distinct toolsets to support their aggregation, onboarding, management and deployment of customer data – with a small (but not insignificant) subset working with more than 30 tools on a regular basis!”
In Applying the Data Glue: The Quest for a Data-Driven Culture, I explain how businesses can leverage customer analytics solutions, like Woopra, to achieve a unified view of their data. Here’s how the process works in three steps:
- Identify the data sources you’d like to unify and the corresponding tool sets. For example, an eCommerce business might want to track analytics on their website, mobile app behavior, purchasing history, email engagement and customer support.
- Using Woopra’s AppConnect technology, select the applications you’d like to integrate. For example, this eCommerce company might select Marketo for email, Stripe for transactional data and Freshdesk for customer support.
- The data is then pushed to a single platform, complemented by Woopra’s website analytics. Any additional data sources that you’d like to track can be intertwined, revealing a consolidated view of every customer touchpoint.
The difficulty of this process will vary depending on the number of tools you use and how accessible they are to you. But, if you’ve made it a business priority to master full funnel attribution, consolidating siloed data is the first step, regardless of the solution that you choose to facilitate.
Step Two: Mapping Your Attribution Objectives
I had a chat with Derek Rey, the VP of Marketing at San Francisco based app company, CloudApp, who described a problem they were facing.
CloudApp is a platform for quickly snagging and sharing screenshots, videos and GIFs. Running on a freemium model, it’s important for them to get new users signed up, but even more important to keep those users engaging and sharing with the platform.
He needed to know what marketing channels were driving new user signups AND how those users engaged with the application over time, per channel. Here’s an example of why this is important:
Using his current analytics setup, Derek could see where new signups came from, but couldn’t tie those signups to individual usage and conversions. He wanted to compare application engagement data with specific acquisition channels. Then, he needed to see how that usage evolved, what channels drove conversions and, of those conversions, the corresponding retention rates.
To solve for this, we consolidated his customer data on the Woopra platform using the process described above. Then, we designed funnels that aligned his marketing activities to the customer journey. The end result looked similar to this:
Every business need will be different but the rule of thumb is that if you can collect it, there’s a way to attribute it. Taking a step back to define your objectives first will help in developing the funnel that delivers meaningful insights specific to your organization.
Step Three: Translating Insights into Action
So, we’ve seen how consolidating cross-company data – blending real-time demographic and behavioral touchpoints, allowed Derek to align customer behaviors with business results. But, to neatly tie the bow on full funnel attribution, action must be taken on these insights.
Data is only as good as what you do with it. As marketers, we hope that we’re always using the data at our disposal to effectively make the right decisions regarding the optimization and allocation of our budgets. The reality is, there’s a good chance you’re not reading a few of those chapters in your organization’s storyline.
According to Forrester Research, only 12 percent of companies are using the data that they have. If you’re in the majority, odds are it’s time to revise your analytics strategy. With the right combination of customer analytics and attribution modeling, marketing doesn’t have to be a guessing game.
Use the data at your disposal to identify, decipher and communicate insights to your entire organization. In doing so, you’ll become a full funnel attribution master – empowered to make data-driven decisions that uncover how customers engage with your brand and maximizing the return on your marketing investments.