Marketing Performance Management (MPM) and attribution is gaining awareness and adoption among B2B marketers, especially with attribution analysis.  It’s about time.

When planned and executed correctly MPM and attribution measurement are powerful tools for B2B marketers. Attribution measurement is a component of Marketing Performance Management and it’s important because it shows how well channels are performing in building sales pipeline and driving revenue, and at what cost.

It takes careful planning and implementation to make attribution successful.  Here are the lessons we want to share from our MPM experiences over the last two years.

Identify and Align Around the Important KPI’s First

This is where it’s important to plan for the KPI’s to track and map and get the organization aligned. It’s meaningless to track attribution without any plan or connection to strategic KPI’s.

A marketing executive must lead this effort, which requires alignment with company goals and executive stakeholders.  Identifying the KPI’s that show how marketing builds a sales pipeline and drives revenue.  (Listen to our outstanding on-demand webinar with strategic KPI suggestions.)

It’s common for marketers at all levels to fall into the comfort zone of tracking activity metrics, guessing at what execs want, and creating monthly business reviews with spreadsheets and dozens of slides. Rathole exercises ensue. Frustration mounts with execs like the CEO and CFO because they can’t tell what the marketing team does to move the dial.

Rushing the process is your enemy. We always see companies who rapidly implemented an attribution tool without a thorough plan or a set of strategic KPI’s.  Marketers are under incredible pressure and they want to get tools implemented rapidly.  Martech vendors obviously are happy to accommodate because the time pressure helps drive the sale.  Unfortunately, after a rushed implementation and several months into the subscription, the attribution tools are often used poorly and the data doesn’t align with KPI’s that anyone cares about.


Check Your Current Data Model in Your CRM and Marketing Automation

Many marketers are stuck in analytics quicksand because they are tracking all the wrong data.  And then some poor soul on the marketing team is strapped with two weeks a month of spreadsheet gymnastics trying to collect disparate data and cram calculations into a meaningful dashboard.

An attribution system by itself won’t magically fix this problem.  Reliable and credible data requires a data model.  And the CRM and marketing automation systems must be configured with the data model. Taking data the way it’s been captured for the last few years will likely only reveal an incomplete and confused data picture which doesn’t align with the desired KPI’s.

This is hard.  It takes planning and thought.  Skipping the data model step and rushing through attribution tool implementation won’t solve any problems or magically reveal how well marketing is performing. Take the time to make sure you are tracking the right data that aligns with the KPI’s!


Establish the Rhythm  

When all of the pieces are in place with an aligned organization, a strong data model, and the right tools it’s time to execute with a regular rhythm and use the attribution tools on a daily basis.  Marketing Performance Management assets like attribution tools should be monitored on a daily basis.  They can reveal all kinds of patterns, problems, and opportunities.  Checking MPM attribution data once a quarter won’t lead to decisions that help drive the basis.  The daily rhythm should look at the clues from the historical data and also a forward-looking projection on future impact. (Gartner recently published an article using metrics to reveal clues, not provide answers.) The historical results are important.  But it’s even more valuable and important to intellectually analyze how the results will impact the business in the next quarter or the rest of the year.

Attribution tools are powerful components of Marketing Performance Management. Success requires planning, alignment, and a rhythm that makes the tools and process useful to help drive the business.