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I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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September 11, 2015

@AMABoston #Marketing #Attribution 9/17 Panel Discussion Guide - Suggestions Welcome!

On September 17, I'm moderating a panel on marketing attribution analysis at a meeting of the American Marketing Association's Boston Chapter.

Here are some questions we've put together to guide the discussion.  What's on your mind?

  1. Let’s start with a plain English question: How do you decide where to spend your marketing dollars?

  2. What assumptions do you make about the relative effectiveness and efficiency of different options?

  3. What are these assumptions based on?

  4. So, for me, attribution is a fancy word for giving different marketing investment options -- channels, partners within those channels, creative alternatives -- proper, or at least more proper credit for their impact on a metric of interest, like a lead or a sale.  How would you define it, or improve on this?

  5. Earlier you told us about how you do it today, but I’m also interested in your attribution journey.  Where was the organization’s level of attribution sophistication when you got into your latest role?

  6. What attribution adjustments did you make first, and next?

  7. What was the logic for starting there? How much was it the potential value -- the magnitude of the spend, for example -- and how much was it about feasibility - you could reasonably expect to get the data?

  8. How much of the adjustment was based on “top down” statistical modeling of overall spend and impression data, and how much of it was bottom up based on user-level proxies like cookie data?

  9. How long did it take to get up and to an interesting insight you could put to work?

  10. What worked, and didn’t?

  11. What surprised you?

  12. How did you balance building the capability and getting results?

  13. What kind of results have you gotten so far?

  14. What’s next on your roadmap?

  15. How far do you think you can push attribution analysis before you hit diminishing or negative ROI?

  16. What’s the limiter? Is it data quality? Integration challenges like tracking a user across channels? Is it your ability to put insights to work?

  17. Let’s take each of those:

    1. We hear a lot about how cookies are dead, and then the death of the cookie has been greatly exaggerated -- how far can you trust cookie based data for attribution purposes?

    2. Now that the big platforms -- Facebook, Google -- can track us everywhere, and use that to do cross-channel advertising programs, do you try to beat them, or join them? If you try to beat them, how far can you take cross-channel tracking? When and how does privacy come into play -- what are your bright lines for this?

    3. What parts of your attribution insights are then integrated with your marketing automation platforms? What’s still manual?

  18. What does managing based on  more sophisticated attribution look like? Who does it? What kind of interfaces and reports does this person or team use?  How often do they review and act on the results?

  19. What kind of people and organizational challenges have more sophisticated attribution approaches created? How have you solved them?

  20. What advice would you offer to someone with a marketing budget of $1M? $10M? $100M? 

  21. What’s the practical technical frontier of what people are doing?

  22. How do you keep up?  What resources would you suggest for someone interested in learning more and staying up to date?

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