Making B2B Marketing Pay: Customer Marketing Attribution (2)
Sep 2016

Making B2B Marketing Pay: Customer Marketing Attribution (2)

B2B customer marketing attribution is the single biggest area of weakness in the majority of B2B businesses today.

The purpose of marketing attribution is to quantify the influence integrated marketing campaigns have on a customer’s decision to make a purchase decision. In B2B marketing, customer attribution is the process of identifying a set of certain traits and criteria a customer has and the actions that a potential customer takes on the purchase journey that you (the business) can measure. Customer marketing attribution is the understanding of that combination of actions that influences individuals and business to buy from you.

B2B customer marketing attribution modelling matters because it offers a tangible view on what influences the audience. It allows marketers to optimise marketing spend and effort across different marketing channels. It allows the marketers to shortcut the process of finding customers that want and need to buy but also have the means to. Once you have an understanding and can measure the level of engagement across the whole marketing mix you eliminate the guesswork of creative campaigns, shorten the sales process and deliver greater sales.

In its most fundamental role, good marketing attribution connects sales and marketing data so companies can see which marketing efforts are having the most impact on sales. Think you understand what your value proposition is? The analysis offered by marketing attribution will tell you for sure. It tracks all of a visitor’s touch points through the funnel on its way to becoming a customer and attributes revenue back to the marketing efforts that led to the sale.

Depending on the company’s marketing mix, they can use different types of B2B customer marketing attribution to track their marketing channels. (It’s an area a lot of people have gotten very excited about and written big long white papers on, often forgetting to make them interesting or relevant beyond the product they are selling.) BREW’D is about marketing made simple… so here are the essential three elements you need to consider and combine when considering marketing attribution. It can never all be about sales data, it can’t just be about personas and it can’t simply be about UX data and opens and downloads. It has to be a combination of elements that are mapped to how your business operates and it’s short, mid and long-term objectives.

Account based attribution

    • This refers to measuring needs and actions of companies as a whole rather than individual people.
    • This includes classic market and business segmentation data and especially the identifying the ‘attributes’ of why a company will or will not buy from you.
    • It’s a key filter for identifying the physical and performance attributes of customer and mapping them onto a relevant value proposition.
    • E.G if you are selling SaaS then is there a minimum number of staff/desks in a business and it’s turnover before they are likely to invest in your service.

Persona Attribution

    • Looking at the key personas within an organisation that are the decision makers and primary influencers in purchasing your product.
    • How do they interact? Where does the power of sign off versus decision lie?
    • What influences them? What ambitions can you appeal to and what drivers and challenges do their job role have that you can market to?
    • E.G If selling an HR consultancy service with software support, are you confident the HR Director can make the decision alone? You need to understand the dynamic that exists with the CTO and CFO as well and market to all three.

Interactive (Cross-channel) Attribution

    • The measurement, primarily, of digital/online engagement, but includes all engagement where it is part of the brand, demand and lead generation process.
    • Aligning your digital engagement strategy with your field/f2f strategy is crucial.
    • Maximising the impact a salesperson can have in person might be the key driver for how you structure your marketing calendar.
    • E.G If your sales process is dependent on demonstrations and interaction then you need to develop the content/digital experience to reflect this. Use key events as campaign focal points.

Apparently, 74.6% of marketers actually use some type of attribution model but just 27.6% of these marketers chose their attribution model because they wanted to identify what marketing works! If you want to ensure an intelligent attribution model then sales alignment has to be you focus. The 2015 State of Pipeline Marketing Report showed that 86.7% of marketers with a multi-touch attribution model in place said that they have a well-aligned relationship with their sales team. (I wonder what the sales team would say?).

If you aren’t sales aligned (See part 1 one in this series) then your marketing will continue to struggle to prove its worth. The BREW’D ebook detailing how the interaction of these three elements will be available shortly. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you a free copy.

How the Making B2B Marketing Pay blog series develops:

  1. Making B2B Marketing Pay: Aligning marketing to the sales process  
  2. Customer Marketing Attribution: why they should care
  3. Website & content hub: how hard is it working?
  4. How integrated B2B marketing works: Generating demand, lead, and sales

Subscribe to receive our next instalment – Website & content hub: how hard is it working? It deals with how you take a lot of theory and data and make sure your website actually delivers on its promises.

References for additional reading:


BREW’D Marketing: B2B marketing experts based in Datchet, near Windsor, Berkshire, SL3 9ED. Delivering marketing consultancy, creative & content services, and lead generation to London, the Thames Valley, and the South East.


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