Amanda Greteman Brent Thomsen Scott Holton
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Utilizing Multi-Touch Attribution to Foster Prospects Along the Customer Journey

How valuable is a customer? Companies can place any value on a customer. However, utilizing a system called multi-touch attribution can help businesses rank and value a customer, all while fostering the customer on a journey from the first touch all the way to (hopefully) a closed deal. For some prospects, the journey may take only a few minutes or hours. For others, the journey could last weeks, months or even longer.

Simply put, multi-touch attribution is a measurement technique that assigns a value to touchpoints that lead to a customer conversion. Amanda Laverman, a Marketing Automation Expert and multi-touch attribution specialist at AKC, uses the process of buying a car as an example of the full-path attribution model.

“During your initial research online, you click on a display ad for a local dealership,” explains Amanda. “You browse that dealer’s website and fill out a form to get email updates on specials the dealership may have. A week later, you receive an email on a special financing offer. After reading the email, you call and talk to a salesperson to learn more and ask a few questions. Finally, you go in for a test drive and decide to purchase a vehicle.”

Each one of these connections is a touchpoint — the display ad, the website visit, the form, the email and the showroom visit — all leading to a purchase.

However, a lot more goes into multi-touch attribution than just sending emails or notifications to someone after they agree to be on an email list.

Understanding Attribution Models
HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers, explains that there are a variety of multi-touch attribution models. These different attribution models assign worth to different moments, helping businesses analyze the impact of their efforts through various lenses.

“Multi-touch attribution models show what marketing or sales assets your customer interacted with in different stages of the sales cycle,” explained Amanda. “How many stages are shown, and what weight is given to interactions at each stage, depend on which model you choose.”

  • First Touch Attribution: This is helpful for identifying the value of content that drives visitors to your site.
  • Last Touch Attribution: This model attributes 100% of the deal revenue to the last interaction before the deal was closed.
  • Linear Attribution: This model helps to answer questions such as, ‘What parts of my business are most valuable, as measured by the revenue generated by my customers?’
  • U-Shaped Attribution: This model emphasizes the top-half of the customer flywheel (a model adapted by HubSpot to explain the momentum you gain when you align your entire organization around delivering a remarkable customer experience), assigning 80% of the credit to the first interactions your contact has with your business and becomes a lead in your customer relationship management system (CRM). The remaining credit goes to other interactions.
  • W-Shaped Attribution: This model is mostly focused on marketing efforts, although the inclusion of deal creation can give further insight into the handoff between marketing and sales at this point in the customer journey.
  • Full-Path Attribution: This model helps businesses understand the pieces of content that are generating the most revenue. This answers questions such as, ‘What is driving contacts to my site?’ or ‘What is getting visitors to fill out forms and sign deals?’
  • Time Decay: This model is great for accurately attributing credit toward recent interactions. If relationship-building is a big factor in a business' success, using Time Decay attribution can be a helpful way to conceptualize that.​

Selecting the right model for your business will help move prospects through the sales flywheel and better attribute sales. More experienced businesses and multi-touch experts will be able to utilize multiple models for different customers, products and services. Additionally, collecting more data will result in a better understanding of who customers and prospects are and what will meet their needs.

“You can optimize your customer journey by evaluating your multi-touch attribution reports,” Amanda said. “Are customers looking at the pricing and financing section of your website when you expect them to? Do you need to rearrange your web content to match the path customers are taking?”

Utilizing HubSpot and Multi-Touch Attribution to Improve Client Marketing
AKC Marketing is currently a Solutions Partner with HubSpot and has earned 10 certifications and awards from the marketing and sales platform, including being named a 2020 HubSpot Champion User.

HubSpot tracks and utilizes data within the platform, such as: email opens, web page visits, sales calls, etc. In-person items, such as sales calls or meetings, must be logged manually. Interactions with marketing materials, such as the email opens and web page visits, are tracked through the use of cookies, tracking pixels (emails) and tracking codes (web pages).

“It never ceases to amaze me how fortunate we are to be marketers during this time,” said Amanda about what she enjoys most about multi-touch attribution. “We get real-time, real-life insights into what is and isn’t working. We can quickly pivot to adjust our spending and creative as needed. We have the resources to make the sales process as seamless as possible for both our sales team and our customers.”

Tools are available for businesses to properly implement multi-touch attribution. Segment, a customer data platform from Twilio, provides a rundown of attribution models and guides for individuals and businesses.

Understanding and Implementing Multi-Touch Attribution
Multi-touch attribution models are not new by any means. Their roots can be traced back to the 1950s. As more data becomes available to companies, and data becomes more robust, new methods are needed to track, decipher and utilize that data. When looking to the future of multi-touch attribution, however, Amanda has a few ideas:

“I think multi-touch attribution tools will continue to become more sophisticated and more customizable for each business’s sales process. It will also be very interesting to see how reporting tools tackle the challenge of increased data privacy measures. How will we as marketers provide users with the best possible experience while still respecting their privacy and following legal regulations?”

Ideally, multi-touch attribution removes the friction for both the customer and sales team. Prospects are served appropriate and timely information in the format and frequency they prefer. Multi-touch attribution is designed to help find where the prospect is in the flywheel, what level they came from and provide the next piece of information that makes sense. The information will be more in-depth as the prospect creeps closer to the sale.

Because the customer journey is becoming more personal and complex, setting up multi-touch attribution can be difficult. According to Google, 90% of multiple device owners switch between screens to complete tasks. Obtaining and tracking all the different touchpoints of consumers is the main hurdle in implementing multi-touch attribution. To start developing a multi-touch attribution approach to marketing, collect data on how prospects interact with your marketing and sales assets. Using UTMs are a great way to track who visits a website, how they got to the site and whether they converted.

After gathering data, the next two steps are combining that data and visualizing it by putting it in charts and graphs. Visualization allows data experts and marketers to better understand which direction to take the journey. Then you can begin creating the customer journey.

Making the journey easy for customers and even easier for businesses is what we do best at AKC Marketing. Sales, marketing, data and marketing automation specialists help to collect data and work with clients to create complete and logical journeys for prospects. Looking for more information or how we can optimize and personalize your business’s marketing? Reach out, we would be happy to help.

Quick Stats from The Nielsen Company

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At AKC Marketing we honestly assess the perception of your company. We push to market you above your competition. We do this by igniting your inner brand - focusing on what your true value to the marketplace is. To make it impossible to be ignored in your industry.
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