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Paid advertising is where value is captured, not just where value starts
I have loved this quote every time I've heard Katrina Wong, marketing leader Segment, share this wisdom. Effectively using first / last / multi-touch attribution to communicate with sales and finance is a problem many CMOs face. The issue is that most sales are a combination of MANY engagements between MANY contacts and a company. Specifically:
1) Google Adwords doesn't necessarily CREATE all the value attributed to it as last touch. A prospect might see ads, download content, and even come to a webinar, and when they finally get ready to actively engage, search on Google for [company demo] and come to your site. Google can create awareness, but it often is harvesting all of the marketing work that has come before.
2) Last touch attribution itself is somewhat arbitrary - marketing could have served up content several times without getting to an MQL threshold, a BDR does "their own" outbound and triggers the opportunity creation. Or, a BDR could have been calling into an account for months, and then the contact "converts" at a tradeshow through marketing. Attribution is a useful tool for distributing work to get to the whole number, but it doesn't reflect the complexity behind actually creating revenue.
What to do?
1) We need to educate our CFO, our CRO and our company that it's the combination of Marketing SOURCED and Marketing CONTRIBUTED pipeline that should be considered.
2) We need to prove and show this regularly through weekly/monthly/quarterly reporting on sourced, contributed, plus how many contacts lead to a sale, how many sales and marketing touches are involved in big and small deals - not just numerically, but telling a story of some interesting accounts. We must be constantly reinforcing the philosophy behind a holistic strategy.
3) We need to keep looking at the pipeline goal as a SHARED responsibility of sales and marketing, with sourcing splits being directional, not absolute. If we have done our job, the CRO will give us budget to do more to support shared pipeline growth. I've seen it in companies where the CMO has been successful at proselytizing this philosophy.
How have you tackled this issue in your org?
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