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The surge of digital marketing and channel attribution has been both a blessing and a curse to marketers everywhere. A blessing, in providing greater visibility over the combination of digital channels and how they drive desired actions for engagement. A curse, in that this ability to directly attribute some data, can distract us from painting a picture of our holistic marketing mix performance.

When we get bogged down in the detail of impressions, clicks and conversions, we miss the bigger picture entirely. 

In brief: 

  •  Introducing a framework for the purpose of marketing and how to reframe conversations for how “the mix” has been chosen for effective holistic outcomes 
  • The marketing attribution storytelling arc; marketing your marketing report through storytelling 
  • The way to categorise, benchmark and measure trends in marketing mix performance; determine trends in ongoing performance as you make changes and face market impacts, whether it be competitor influence or environmental impacts
  • Practical examples for a small and large mix of activities 

Let’s start with a quick reminder on the role of marketing in an organisation.

The role of marketing is to attract ATTENTION (eyeballs)
Turn that attention into ENGAGEMENT and
Turn that engagement into ACTION 

Meaningful reporting isn’t just about mining insight rich data, it’s about sharing the story that those data points make and each of our stakeholders have a different ending in mind. if we knew we had to end a story a certain way, how would we change the narrative in the middle?

We have so much channel data at our fingertips, it’s easy to get distracted. It would do us good to remember exactly who we are talking to and the ending they have in mind. This helps us to bring visibility to the right metrics, helping deliver better outcomes (whether that’s management of the business direction as a whole, or management of tactical marketing campaigns). 

We tackle attribution reporting in two ways. The first, helps you win over your boss giving them visibility on the return your team is generating (marketing mix attribution), and the second (channel attribution), helps you better manage your mix and your team.

Marketing mix attribution view: 

Map to appetite/interest: 

Mapping the mix of activities to a funnel helps us to measure who in the available market we’ve impacted and their appetite for what we’re selling. 

Our method for reporting on the holistic performance of the marketing mix is to:

  1. Categorise activity by its impact in the funnel
  2. Measure the rate in which it’s moving down the funnel; and 
  3. Add commentary for likely impacts at a point in time

With this view, we are painting a holistic picture of how the mix of activities and our level of investment in such activities is contributing to the market opportunity. This is, the volume of eyeballs we’ve attracted (ideally the right, qualified eyeballs), the number of those eyeballs who have taken some sort of meaningful engagement and finally, what’s dropping out the bottom as either marketing qualified leads or actual sales. 

We measure this as a whole and by the key channels in the mix that play a role in each stage of the funnel (note, this does not make it a channel attribution report, stick with us, we’ll cover that in the coming weeks). Remember that some channels will play a key role across every stage. The channels you choose to include should be representative of the size of your mix. 

Here are some examples: 

Large mix of activities: You might choose to represent your known above the line impact from digital channel impressions to known magazine sales (if you were running an ad or press release). Your engagements might mean anything from website visits to email addresses and cookie pools acquired for remarketing and action could mean marketing qualified leads or ecommerce sales. 

In the example above, we have a more complex, large mix of activities involved. 

Limited mix of activities: For a start up with limited budget, you might be focusing only on a few digital channels and can therefore get more granular. You may run promoted videos on Facebook to drive increased awareness. A percentage of those who saw the video (impressions) may have watched it to 75% completion. A percentage of those exposed may have clicked onto your website and taken action. 

In the above example, we have a simple, limited mix and therefore, a more tactical set of metrics. 

Regardless of how simple or complex your marketing mix is,  we recommend taking a high level snapshot of your activity for this view. The purpose is to measure the mix performance in aggregate as it aligns to the stage of the funnel (attention, engagement, action), not the performance of a channel. It’s only in cases where your mix is limited to a few channels, that you may choose to use the “Limited mix” example. 

Map to a timeline: 

What good is a snapshot view without being able to assess the rate of improvement over time? 

On a cadence of our choosing , mapping the key metrics from our funnel, on a line graph helps us to understand how we’re going. We always recommend aligning the key impact notes against activities. For example: if a poor month was a result of COVID-19 closures, or a positive month was impacted by a new product release or promotion. 

A note on reporting periods.

A static reporting view can only tell us so much. This is why at SPT Agency, we work to centralise your data in a data warehouse and connect it up to a data visualisation tool that fits your budget. Sounds all too hard? It’s not. That’s what we’re here for. Want to know how we’d approach this for you?
Reach out for a complimentary consultation call.

Map to budget: 

What else do we include in marketing mix attribution view? Budgets of course. 

We want to know, at a glance, whether the outcomes of our mix (which we’ve just mapped to our funnel view) have as a whole, been cost effective for the reporting period. We get deeper into this in the channel attribution report where we start correlating channel to ROI, but for now, this “at a glance” view helps to simply understand the spread of the mix and its relationship to the groups moving through the funnel. We develop three (or more) depending on the layers you introduced in your funnel view. 

The inner circle: indicates the percentage of budget allocation you have to each activity. 

The outer circle: Indicates the % of total output for that level of activity (how much attention did it bring, engagement, action).  

It’s in views like this you can quickly understand the cost effectiveness of the outcomes of chosen activity. 
Now, the reason they must be viewed in tandem is to bring an understanding of message saliency and emotional impact. It’s likely for example, that a billboard spot will cost more per eyeball than Facebook will, yet its undeniable that a brand who is able to invest in a billboard, demonstrates a level of maturity beyond a Facebook impression, which anyone with a Facebook account and $10 to their name can afford.  

The timeline view of conversion rates (and thus, effectiveness) through the funnel over time is what gives us the opportunity to defend these marketing mix decisions. It’s what allows us to showcase the value in the pool of eyeballs we attracted and at what speed we moved them to action, thus speaking to the quality of the mix and the messaging that is placed to highlight the pain and encourage action. 

This is how any business can measure above the line without paying for Neilson data to measure the impact of messaging. 

How it all fits together. Meet your new marketing mix performance report. 

Altogether, your new Marketing Attribution reporting view.

Notice those other tabs down the bottom?

Tell us in the comments which one you want us to break down next.

So there you have it. With this one view, you can speak to the performance of your marketing mix as a whole. But what if your stakeholder has an appetite to go deeper? How do you actually discern which channels in your mix are providing bottom line impact and driving the highest CLTV? 

A channel attribution report. 

Would you like us to dissect exactly how we build our channel attribution reporting view? Tell us in the comments below and we’ll share our exact process and reporting view for channel attribution next on the blog. 

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