Why Marketing Attribution Is Important For C-Suite Decision Making


Sergio Alvarez is a performance marketing expert, digital attribution leader, and CEO and Founder of Ai Media Group.

Many companies have been led to believe that conversion attribution is merely a nice-to-have data set that only affects the marketing department. There’s no reason the C-suite should even look at attribution statistics, ignoring the C-suite altogether. As the founder and CEO of a company that focuses on conversion attribution, in my opinion, this idea is both misleading and absolutely false. 

In reality, if the C-suite is making decisions without properly assessing and understanding attribution data, it’s likely steering the ship off course. Here’s why:

Ditch The Silos

Marketing attribution doesn’t just impact digital campaigns, it can also help decision makers understand what the future holds for the company. The key to using attribution data in this way, though, is to ditch the silos.

A cohesive picture of the attribution aspects of marketing conversions is vital. If you are only looking at the digital aspect and ignoring offline marketing efforts, you’re missing the connections. You cannot look at a single aspect of your campaign and assume that a high level of conversion means that that method works in isolation. 

By smashing down the silos, you can increase the efficiency of your campaigns, you’re able to see the impact of one campaign on another and an overall view of your entire effort emerges. 

Enter The C-Suite

To understand how the C-suite can benefit from focusing on marketing attribution, we need to acknowledge that, at least in most instances, top-level executives are disconnected from the day-to-day and lever pulling needed for the marketing plan.

A C-suite member may, for instance, see a surge in traffic on a particular social media channel and assume it’s deserving of a more significant chunk of the budget. The problem is, they’re only working with half the data. If they’d invested in holistic conversion attribution and paid attention to the complete picture, they would understand that this surge is not an isolated event. It was, in fact, the shifting of some nondigital tectonic plates that sparked the tsunami of digital conversions.

Let’s use the telecommunications industry as an example. Most telecom marketing campaigns comprise both online and offline components. If a telecoms C-suite member sees a surge in online activity and does not consider that several days before an offline campaign was launched by mail, they will fail to see and understand the connection. The increase in online traffic and all resulting sales conversions did not necessarily start online. The customer’s journey started at their mailbox. 

C-suite members are often responsible for pulling the levers that allocate budget and attention — the two most valuable commodities in business. If these individuals are pulling levers in isolation from the complete set of data, they are very likely going to pull the wrong ones. 

The Value Of Attribution Investment

The value of attribution can be multifaceted. It’s not just important to ensure that the marketing budget is indeed being funneled in the right direction, it is also valuable to the bigger picture. Attribution data can help C-suite members make decisions that are not even vaguely related to marketing. Decisions such as what talent needs to be acquired, where the company’s tech focus needs to be and even how the competition is faring can all be impacted by detailed and accurate attribution data. 

Not investing in attribution measurement can cost a company far more than just lost sales. This type of data is an ECG readout on the heartbeat of your market. You can’t judge the health of a market, or your place in it, with just half the readout. 

How To Succeed

In order to achieve buy-in and alignment with the C-suite, there are three key best practices that should be followed.

1. Advocacy: Working under the assumption that all members of the C-Suite fully understand marketing analytics and how they can aid the organization is a major pitfall. It is critical that you have advocates among your executive team that understand the CMO’s approach, media strategy and need for analytics to comprehend the relationship among all tactics as they attempt to move prospects through the stages of influence: unawareness, awareness, comprehension, conviction and action.

2. Alignment: As you engage with the C-Suite, you need to speak their language and gain an understanding of each member’s unique pain points. Analytics do not just serve the marketing team; they are a critical component to the success of the entire organization. Having a matrixed approach helps align all groups within the organization with a common playbook that serves as the foundation for performance-based dialogue.

3. Performance: The one thing that all members of the C-suite understand is the pressure to perform. It is critical to show examples of how the analytics have allowed you to measure and predict performance. Often tactics that generate awareness and engagement have little direct response but are critical to influencing users upstream to take action. Showing how these tactics draw users in and ultimately drive leads and sales supports what all marketers are trying to achieve. Being able to show the customer journey and the tactics that influenced the sale will support the predictive nature of marketing analytics, encourage future investment and allow your organization to thrive.

Lead With The Data

It is vital that C-suite members see the importance of attribution data. It is a big part of increasing revenue and advancing the company. Marketing attribution is the key to deciding what the future of your business looks like, both within the sphere of marketing and far beyond it.


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