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From DIY to ROI: Measuring the Impact of Your Custom Attribution Model 

Posted March 6, 2024
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In the competitive arena of modern B2B marketing, attribution isn’t just another player—it’s the seasoned coach guiding your strategy. It helps you ensure you’re not just scoring leads, but also maximizing the final score: the ROI. 

As you play, it’s crucial to remember that marketing is a team sport. GTM teams must move beyond the marketing vs. sales mentality and focus on how everyone can contribute to the win. Customizing and leveraging attribution models can help you get there; however, success depends on executing a well-coordinated play.

The Starting Lineup

DIY B2B attribution models are like building a playbook from scratch. You need to assemble a database, implement logical frameworks, and engage in cross-functional discussions to make a clear game plan that unites efforts around a common target. It’s the embodiment of building a custom-built dataset, processing model, and allocating a custom percentage of credit against your pipeline and revenue. 

Over 90% of B2B organizations opt to tailor attribution models to their marketing strategies because DIY models are adaptable to diverse applications, from data extraction in Snowflake and custom weighting in Tableau to developing Salesforce custom objects for enhanced campaign and opportunity insights. Customization allows variable engagement weighting and criteria, such as a 45-day window with two touchpoints.

With an internally constructed attribution model, you can get a more nuanced view of your marketing budget allocation and, in some cases, align with sales initiatives. Whether you’re launching a new B2B product or boosting website traffic through strategic content creation, you can craft a solution that fits your organization’s unique rhythms. By analyzing the performance of various marketing touchpoints—social media ads, email campaigns, or educational webinars—your attribution model can shed light on which channels and content types drive engagement and conversions to inform your strategy. 

Building a successful DIY attribution model requires meticulous selection of tools and techniques, clear goal-setting, stakeholder engagement, and aligning every action towards achieving a robust ROI.

Training and Strategy: Building Effective Custom Attribution Models

When building a custom attribution model, consider statistician George Box’s rule of thumb, “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” Attempting to chart every single interaction in your digital journey is a fool’s errand. Attribution modeling is less like baseball stats and more like synchronized swimming—somewhat subjective, requiring a blend of precision and artistry. 

Simplicity is key. Begin with foundational marketing and sales automation tools, initially attributing actions to straightforward metrics like opportunity objects and then methodically moving on to more complex aspects such as bookings. Employ gradual, feedback-driven enhancements to make your model adaptable and avoid overreaching by not applying conflicting models simultaneously. To maintain its functionality and alignment with strategic objectives, focus on the model’s primary purpose by critically assessing and removing elements that don’t directly contribute to meaningful insights.

An iterative approach encourages evolution of the attribution model from basic first or last-touch to more nuanced analyses, like the differential impact of various marketing channels, including paid social media. It sets the groundwork for a culture of continuous improvement and strategic refinement. Ultimately, this strategy yields a streamlined, adaptable model that prioritizes the efficacy of content delivery channels, underpinning the development of relevant, actionable intelligence that fine-tunes marketing strategies. 

As insights accumulate and the model’s accuracy improves, your organization can gradually shift towards more sophisticated solutions, always with an eye towards actionable intelligence that drives marketing strategy refinement.

Score Goals, Not Enemies

Understanding the broader impact of each channel and tactic on the overarching strategy is crucial, transcending the need to identify any single MVP. Shifting from singular attribution to adopting a broader perspective ensures that your organization’s success remains the primary objective. Much like intangibles such as team chemistry and morale are pivotal in sports, B2B marketing also encompasses activities whose impact might not be directly measurable but are nonetheless vital.

It’s essential to recognize how sales and marketing efforts, intertwined with broader organizational goals, contribute to financial outcomes and guide budgeting decisions with precision and intentionality. Take a deliberate, aligned approach to model building rather than a detailed valuation of individual actions. For example, leveraging attribution for campaign optimization directs attention to identifying strategies that most effectively engage target buyer groups, sidestepping the necessity to quantify their exact financial impact. This approach facilitates navigation through the complexities of departmental attribution and fosters collaboration across functions, avoiding disputes over credit for sales leads.

Challenges in building and maintaining a successful business strategy include integrating and removing tech stack applications and ongoing model calibration, all while managing the scope of analysis to keep the “controversy level” manageable. The balance between precision and adaptability is critical; overly complex definitions in modeling can lead to confirmation bias, detracting from the goal of optimizing marketing efforts.

A frequent obstacle is the misalignment within organizations regarding the model’s purpose and expected outcomes. Clarifying that attribution is merely a tool for marketing optimization sets realistic expectations, promoting a focused and efficient developmental approach. Cross-functional dialogue is essential to address the core issues the model aims to solve, avoiding the pitfalls of blending attribution with forecasting without clear differentiation, which could lead to model collapse. Keeping the scope of attribution projects focused is crucial for minimizing friction and uniting teams toward common goals. 

The Victory Lap

A focused, iterative approach with regular feedback enables gradual refinement of your model, leading to data-driven decisions that enhance the bottom line. With growing knowledge and increased precision, you can evolve more advanced solutions and further refine your marketing strategies. 

Customizing your attribution model for optimal ROI demands a clear, unified game plan, strategic training, goal-oriented measurements, and a cohesive team effort. The aim is not to spotlight individual channels or tactics but to score the goal. 

Need coaching on building your custom attribution model? Team up with CaliberMind for an expert strategy.