Buying Cycle – The Need for Marketing and Management Alignment

Attribution and the Buying Cycle seem to be the hot topic of the moment and are changing marketer's approaches to online marketing. However, in the lead up to implementation, it is important to ensure you have a clear plan and in tandem, have the ability and agility to change or react to the insights a good attribution provider/tool can bring. Moreover, senior management need to have bought into the idea of the benefits and efficiencies that attribution can bring.

Many businesses are trying to understand how they can use attribution to improve their online performance and move forward in a rapidly expanding digital space. Several questions which are often asked include:

 What are the best ways to attribute?

  • How do we track and attribute across different platforms?
  • What attribution model should we use?
  • How can we determine which provider offers the best tools?

Answers to these questions, may provide digital marketers with enough insight to start planning what approach their marketing strategies are going to take. However, before rushing to work with one of the many providers in the market place, marketers must get their own house in order first, evaluating whether they have the required structures in place internally.  Without them, the marketing team will be unable to fully implement and exploit the data they are left with.

For an organisation to get the most out of an attribution model, all digital marketing functions (ideally including offline too) need to be aligned. To get the best usage from a tracking tool, marketers need to ensure all channels are tagged up and tracked in a weighted model, and that the model used, is created fairly and routinely tested.

Once all marketing channels are aligned, the business needs to be able to deal with the results of the implementation of the chosen attribution model.

For instance, the results of the test attribution model show that generic keyword exposure and interaction starts search conversations. These conversations prove to be a profitable addition to sales in search and work well with SEO and Direct to Site traffic.

Based on this information, a search marketing manger would argue that more money would need to be spent on PPC campaigns. However, in most organisations there is a limited budget assigned to each department at the beginning of each financial year/ quarter, which means that budgets will have to be re-allocated.  This in itself can prove to be a challenge.

However, what do you do if your marketing department and budget is segmented into different channels? How do you re-align budgets across departments when you have marketers who are siloed in their approach and focused on their channels' goals and targets?

These questions highlight how essential it is to have a well structured and aligned marketing team that is single in its digital vision to drive the overall digital bottom line. So for those of you, who plan on bulldozing ahead, please note that unless you have an aligned marketing team and the support of the board and senior management, your dreams of creating a successful attribution model will quickly fade away.

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