There’s actually a huge difference between marketing attribution and marketing automation!
I was speaking with a colleague the other day about how enterprise level clients are seemingly fixated on marketing automation; purchasing, setting up, and leveraging marketing automation systems like Marketo, Pardot, InfusionSoft, Leadpages, and more… while mostly neglecting, or not understanding, marketing attribution.
However, we agreed that all the marketing automation in the world does you no good unless marketing attribution is in place and being proactively managed.
First, let me give you a definition of both marketing automation and marketing attribution to help give some context:
Marketing automation: Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks. (Wikipedia)
Marketing attribution: Marketing attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events” or “touchpoints”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events. (Wikipedia)
Do you see the HUGE difference?
Marketing automation is software that increases the efficiency of distribution.
Marketing attribution is the intelligence gathered from the distribution touchpoints.
The problem, especially in the enterprise market, is that so many companies are pouring resources into marketing automation tools, without investing in the talent and resources to analyze the conversion data. One is marketing automation (software), while the other is marketing attribution (conversion metrics).
It’s one thing for a company to go out and invest in Pardot because it syncs up with their Salesforce platform (marketing automation).
But exponential growth comes when you glean data from your marketing channels and touchpoints to see where leads and sales are being generated.
And once you can analyze the conversion data, you are now empowered to shift resources to those channels (marketing attribution).
Marketing attribution is the data behind smart marketing iteration. You cannot shift your budget from Facebook paid traffic to TV commercials without knowing the details of your conversion data. Well, you can, but you are only guessing at what’s working – not making decisions based on conversion metrics.
You cannot shift from content marketing (blog and news articles for branding) to display ads in Google’s content network without complete insight into your conversion metrics (which is marketing attribution).
Fortunately, Google Analytics provides a simple (and free) way to implement marketing attribution into your funnels and digital workflows.
Marketing attribution can go beyond digital channels as well. One of the best marketing attribution examples I’ve seen with TV ads has been the DraftKings and FanDuel commercials. At the end of each commercial, you’ll see something like “just enter “CAFE” and receive a $200 instant credit.
But if you’ve seen enough of these commercials, which were constant during last year’s NFL season, you may have noticed that each commercial had different promo codes.
The commercial you saw during halftime was promoting a different code than the one that ran during the first quarter. And this is a strategic implementation of marketing attribution on their part.
By leveraging different promo codes on their TV commercials, these sites were able to track the conversion metrics at different points during football games. And the codes varied depending on when the commercials ran. So you got a different code late at night, during SportsCenter broadcasts, during games, etc…
Marketing attribution is important if you want to strategically grow your business through paid traffic and advertising. It’s not enough to just run your marketing campaigns through marketing automation software.
Again, to grow your business exponentially and scale your ad spend, strategic implementation of marketing attribution is the secret sauce.
And when you implement marketing attribution effectively across your channels (search, paid, off line, etc…), you will quickly put your business at the head of the pack in your market.
Almost every business is running marketing automation – but hardly anyone is implementing marketing attribution.
Which makes it a strong opportunity to gain an edge over your competition through the use of digital media.