Understanding Attribution – Give Credit Where Due

Understanding Attribution – Give Credit Where Due

Give credit – where credit is due!

Did the 6 pints of lager lead to the hangover or was it the pint of water you drank just before going to bed?  This seems like a dumb question but based upon the rules of last-click attribution the hangover would be deemed to be the result of the water, and not the lager (or the vodka shots towards the end of the evening). The hangover is one of many scenarios to show that last click, or first click attribution, is not logical or helpful. It can result in a misunderstanding, and a lot of marketing money being squandered as a result. All humans are lovably complex. We are fickle and often consumed by complex rituals.

We might avoid walking under ladders, making big decisions on a Friday 13th or walking on the cracks in the pavement. Equally, we can easily walk away from a big decision after months of research if the salesperson does not answer the phone quickly or we don’t like the way they are answering our questions.

Choices or actions are not simply the result of the previous interaction but the result of a build-up of knowledge made over hours, days, weeks or months. To make life even more challenging we do not all assimilate knowledge in the same way or apply the same rules to each piece of data. This means that most sales journeys are not the same, and even those few that are a result of happenstance.

Our friends at Google have educated us about the 900 digital touchpoints in the buying journey. That’s just online and excludes the real-world interactions where people meet and talk to each other. It is also Google who have bought into play the hangover and other scenarios that show the folly of simple solutions to big problems. Google are also investing heavily in attribution beyond first click and last click, but it’s a very hard puzzle to solve.

Tailored Marketing

Great marketing should take customers on a journey and engage them. It should make friends, give information, ask questions and pre-empt any issues, all before any questions become an obstacle. The process should flow and lead to the sale because both parties want to make the deal.

Put your money where it has the biggest impact

My apologies for being simplistic but any form of attribution is distilled down to placing the investment on the tactics or channels that have the biggest impact. That makes sense but what happens when you only see a small part of the whole customer journey?

The danger is the assumptions made when setting the allocation of budget are the same assumptions made to review its impact.  No surprise that this analysis simply re-affirms that the initial decisions are the right ones and so the cycle continues. No business can rely on decisions based upon gut-feelings and the only solution is real sales data generated by call tracking.

Single Customer View

You probably know about the idea of a single customer view or 360-degree view?  The concept makes absolute sense. Combine ALL the information you have of a client or prospect into one database. Eureka!

It means that all their contact information covering offline and online plus all of their demographic information and transactional history. Armed with all this great data you can now tailor your communication to perfectly match the needs of each customer. It should result in higher conversion and much higher satisfaction levels.

Yes, that is right but there is a big but. Having made all the investment in building a single customer view you then need to build systems that generate a single customer communication. Full marketing automation!

The Age of Assistance

Your customers are now living in the age of assistance.  It means that the world revolves around them and they demand speed and service. They expect a seamless experience online and offline. They want real help and they want it right now. Their world is based upon their mobile phone. Much of the time they are messaging and searching but they also make a lot of calls. They prefer to call as they get to an instant answer.

More in-market customers pick up the phone than complete web forms, emails or chat. The ratio is 3:1 so make sure your business is optimised for the phone and not just the digital channels. Especially as they convert to cash 10 to 15 times more than a form.

Reality Check

I am just an old marketing bloke (true) but I don’t see how dealers are able to create an environment where all of this interaction can be fully personalised and automated.  Maybe, it is something we can dream about, but I think it could easily become a nightmare generating sterile brand waffle and hollow clichés.

What consumers want is a real service from a real person.  They want someone to politely provide answers quickly and truthfully.  That’s not too much to ask and does not need massive databases and sophisticated programmes.

What next in digital marketing?

I know that some dealer groups are working on attribution and have had some success. There is a vision of automating customers interactions and funnelling all leads through an engine that generates a personalised response, and then recycles non-buyers to squeeze all the potential value from all the leads.

My worry is that personalisation will not really be personal.

There is a danger that a big communication engine either dumbs-down all the nuances or tries too hard to mirror the semantics of the author. I made the point earlier how mood, age, location, knowledge etc all have an influence on interactions.  In conversations, non-verbal messages are more influential than the words we say, in written form we need to demonstrate real 121 communication – that is both understanding and empathy.

Back to the real world

Dealerships do not do a bad job. If they did they would not have a business. It is important to keep searching for the best ways to manage and control all customer communications. Central databases and a clear understanding of your customers is vital, along with some brand personality and values. The best place to start is to plug the holes and add knowledge to everything you do now. There is a lot to be gained here so start by joining the online and offline customer journey and managing all your phone calls far better.

Many hot leads are being wasted because they were written on a post-It note and not in the CRM (but do you really care if you can’t get the stock?). Generating leads online is not helping your business if they do not end up buying (all those post-It notes in a drawer is a big problem).

At Calltracks we have developed solutions to improve the impact of your online marketing investment and to stop all those lost, fumbled or missed calls.  Our products can help you increase your sales immediately. We will help you get things up and running quickly and then support your team get even more from Calltracks.

Start by capturing all the hot leads before they go cold or buy elsewhere. With Calltracks you could double sales without increasing your marketing spend. So, if you are seriously on this journey of discovery (putting all the pieces together) and you are not measuring your phone call enquiries, you are only getting part of the story. Stop looking down the back of the sofa (for that missing piece) and give us a call. Let’s talk – we can help you finish that puzzle.