RESEARCH IN BRIEF

The Problem

There is a gap in knowledge among marketers about attribution, the concept of allocating credit to different campaigns in a customer's journey, but most marketers know how to measure an individual campaign’s performance. Ad networks and campaign tools have largely been focusing on how their campaign platform is different instead of focusing on benefits.

  • How do companies attract new business and continue to please current clients with new product offerings?
  • What features and strategies help companies stand out against other products?

The Insight

Companies can show marketers how campaigns fit into the overall lifecycle of a customer’s journey.

  • Using specific case studies for the marketer’s industry can improve lead generation.
  • By making campaign reports focused on key metrics like cost per acquisition, conversions, and conversion rate, companies can successfully woo buyers, earn their loyalty, and gain a competitive advantage.

The Recommendation

Compelling products have benefits-oriented messaging, industry use cases, and clear campaign reporting.

  • Companies need to align their marketing teams to partner with current customers to share their story.
  • Design, product, and engineering teams need to build reporting interfaces that are clear and focused on CPA, Conversions, and Conversion Rate
  • Executing these strategies will allow potential buyers to enter The Value Loop, which shortens the buying cycle and has customers experience the value of a product sooner.

 

PROCESS

In this generative study, we asked marketers about their knowledge of marketing attribution, their process for choosing a new campaign tool or ad platform for their marketing stack, and the metrics that matter to them when determining campaign performance.

Research Goals

  • Figure out whether the concept of attribution is understood by marketers.
  • Describe what influences a marketing when they choose to adopt a new tool or platform.
  • Describe how a marketer determines campaign performance and how performance impacts future decision-making

Methods

  • Survey design and research to gather market understanding of attribution.
  • Screener questionnaire for demographic data and recruitment of user interviews.
  • Remote user interviews with marketers from different company sizes and industry verticals.

Respondents fell under the following demographics in the study:

  • Age: 21 - 45
  • Country: US only
  • Must have experience with the following marketing tools: Google Analytics, Omniture/Adobe Analytics, Chartbeat, Clicky, Mixpanel and etc. Must use these product(s) at least once a week.
  • Roles represented: Marketing Content Manager, Assistant Marketing Manager, Director of Sales and Marketing, Marketing Manager, and Marketing Coordinator
  • Industries represented: Digital Marketing & Advertising, Agency, E-Commerce, Non-Profit, Architecture, Education

 

INSIGHTS

Insight #1: Marketers either know very little about attribution or know what attribution is.

An in-app survey was distributed over 7 days to users who were navigating to the Reports area of Kissmetrics in order to screen for users who were specifically analyzing deeper sets of data, as opposed to marketers who were getting a high-level look at their dashboard. These marketers were asked:

attributionhistogram

A histogram of the survey results show the majority of respondents being not confident at all or very confident, with very few respondents having a general understanding of the concept. A quick Google search for attribution points to popular marketing resources and blogs that confirm this sentiment that attribution is either unknown or known:

What is Google Attribution Modeling? Do You Need It?

Multi-Channel Attribution Modeling: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Because our sample revealed a split in knowledge, marketers may not always be familiar with attribution and how multiple touch points can contribute to a desired action, like a conversion.

Recommendation

campaignconfusion.png

 

Product marketing and sales collateral need to focus on showing how a product can fit into the lifecycle of a customer’s journey and how that product brings value at certain touch points along the path to conversion. Educating the potential buyer will improve the chance of winning a client.

Insight #2: Case studies are an effective way to generate leads.

In user interviews, we asked marketers:

decisionmakingbarchart

5 out of 7 marketers mentioned that industry-specific case studies and testimonials were the highest factors of influencing their decision to try out a campaign of their own. The remaining 2 noted that referrals and word of mouth were the highest.

When further probed with:

6 out of 7 marketers mentioned that their own current marketing mix and performance determined whether they were ready to take on a new tool or channel. They felt that it was only appropriate to expand their reach only once they’ve had everything else under control.  The remaining marketer mentioned that he was willing to try anything and everything to contribute towards improving his metrics.

Recommendation

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Focus product marketing and sales collateral to show testimonials and case studies. An A/B test of the homepage that includes more testimonials may impact conversion rates positively. Because marketers are concerned about current marketing mix performance, showing how a product can complement the current marketing mix will be a better approach than trying to convince a marketer to replace another tool.

Insight #3: Marketers care about three metrics: CPA, Conversions, Conversion Rate

We asked marketers:

Marketers were consistent in their answers for what metrics determine performance for their campaigns. Cost per acquisition (CPA), Conversions, and Conversion Rate were consistently expressed. When asked to rank the metrics that were shared, most marketers ranked CPA as the most important, Conversions as the second most important, and Conversion Rate following as 3rd.

Recommendation

focusmetrics.png

CPA, Conversions, and Conversion Rate need to be featured in campaign report visualizations. During product development, these three metrics should be the focus among other less important metrics such as views, impressions, etc.

RESULTS

From our research process, we came to find out three insights:

  • Marketers know either know very little about attribution or know what attribution is.
  • Case studies are an effective way to generate interest for marketers who are in the market to buy.
  • Marketers care about three main metrics for determining campaign performance: CPA, Conversions, and Conversion Rate

From there, we came up with three recommendations for the Marketing, Design, Product, and Engineering teams:

  • Product marketing and sales collateral need to focus on showing how a product can fit into the lifecycle of a customer’s journey.
  • Focus product marketing and sales collateral to show testimonials and case studies.
  • CPA, Conversions, and Conversion Rate need to be featured in campaign report visualizations when using the product.

After presenting these recommendations, I worked closely with Marketing, Design, Product, and Engineering to put these recommendations into action. The following are the outcomes of our collaboration.

Result #1: Marketing team focused content on the customer journey.

Marketers were split when understanding the value of attribution, which is the concept of allocating credit to different marketing touch points in a customer's journey. In order to help marketers understand attribution more, the product marketing team positioned the feature pages for our new product Engage to talk about key customer journey points such as cart abandonment or promotions to contextualize the value of the product.

Result #2: Marketing team created industry-specific case studies and Sales used reference sheets to attract potential prospects.

Since we recorded all user interview and usability testing sessions during the research process, I worked together with the product marketing team to give them snippets and quotes where customers discovered key moments of value realization as they tested the product with me.

We reached out to a couple customers for more in-depth case studies in preparation for a go-to-market strategy for our new product, Engage. The result was a piece of sales collateral that we could on launch on the marketing site as well a reference sheet that the Sales team had access for quick talking points.

Result #3: Design, Product, and Engineering teams developed a campaign dashboard so that marketers can scan and track performance.

User interviews with marketers were consistent. They wanted to know key metrics to determine campaign performance. Over multiple iterations with marketers, the design, product, and engineering team decided on a dashboard that included both total counts for measuring volume as well as percentages for getting proportional data. With the total counts, marketers mentioned that they would be able to determine whether a campaign was relevant or not in terms of impact. With conversion rates, marketers mentioned that they would be able to determine whether the campaign was performing well or not.

As of November 2015, we've changed the dashboard design slightly to accommodate user feedback after shipping. These changes help introduce more clarity and context for the marketer who is responsible for creating and managing the campaigns.

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