B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode 127 · 6 months ago

127: Using Marketing Attribution in a Complex Digital Era

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Marketing attribution is an essential part of any business, with long-term data helping to optimise spend while connecting the dots between strategies and growth. After all, it’s no secret that data-driven marketing plans that utilise reliable audience insights are the most successful. 

However, the increasing rate at which the digital world of sales and marketing evolves can make it particularly difficult to accurately predict how best to target leads. A consumer’s path to purchase is no longer as linear as it used to be, making tangible marketing attribution software a key investment. 

In this episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, our host CEO of Operatix Aurelien Mottier sat down with the CEO of Proof Analytics Mark Stouse to discuss using marketing attribution in the increasingly complex digital world. From understanding exactly what this term means to common misconceptions, discover expert insights into marketing attribution in today's episode. 

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to B2B Revenue Acceleration on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.

So you were listening to be to be revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be a revenue excelmeration. My name is onion, with you and I'm here today with mocks to steal a prof identy tics all. Are You doing today, mark? I'm doing well. Thank you so much. That's pretty good. So today we we'll be talking about marketing, attribution to a pig that I'm sure a lot of people are hacching to one dust on, particularly cu cfo. was that the only stage of investing in marketing? Before we get into detail, would you mind thinking us? or It's a bit more about y'all saying as well as the company had to represent profanetics. Sure, so, I made former large company CMO, myself who, about fifteen years ago, got into analytics, state and analytics pretty pretty early, obviously trying to connect the dots and trying to optimize the spined that we had, and given the companies that I was working for, it was a lot of money, right. Yeah, so, so it really mattered. I was actually educated on this primarily by finance guys, by CFOS and people who work for CFOs. You know, took a while, but we got to a point of very, very high maturity in terms of using marketing mixed modeling to prove it all out into optimize is. But one of the things that we noticed, which is a is very typical, is that any analytics that are human powered, meaning delivered a large team or even a small team, are very slow. Right. It takes a long time to do the recalculation and so the problem is is that by the time you get the answers, the answers are no longer relevant to your decision. Yeah, it so. The Way we fixed it at Honeywell was we just over hired the on the analysts. It was a total brute force solution. It was extremely expensive getting right, but you know, everyone saw the value and no one ever complained about it. But it was still as good as it was in two thousand and ten and two thousand and eleven, two thousand and twelve. It was suboptimal right. And so when we kind of started thinking about doing a start up in this area, we said, okay, automation is the key and so that's what we built what did not exist, which is a fully optimized, fully automated marketing mix modeling suffware platform. So that's what proof analytics is today, significantly disrupt doing the space, not on even from a customer point of view, but if you're a legacy provider of MMM services, is you're feeling us right now.

Now, I'm just about something. What would you say is y'all men ICEP to people? You would say it to we did be the CMO, a the CEFO. I'll just see you is figure acculate. What was the what is it? Yeah, it's actually both. This is not about solving a marketing problem for marketing alone. This, this is this involves a lot of different people, or can involve a lot of different people. We are the bridge in the sense, between all these people. And so if you look at it, if you look at the tool, if you look at the platform, it really serves two different personas. There's an analyst persona right and and that's pretty self evident. With that probably looks like for most people. It's the part of Bible thing that most people must quote. Normal people don't understand. And then there's a business user, part of it. That is incredibly intuitive and works exactly like a GPS on your phone. Okay, one of the things that is really important set of here, and this goes to paper that I helped co write not not too long ago with Kathleen Shab is, one of the foremost analysts in the space. Proving out the Roi is always going to be important, but the most important thing today, in a multi variable world that's full of change, is figuring out what's changing around you. How do I react in response to that? And and it's really just like the journey that you take to you a restaurant that she'd never been before. Right. So you're on the GPS and the GPS says, Hey, you need to go, this is the way forward, this is your route value. Right. But then all of a sudden something happens right or there's an accident or the traffic files up or whatever, and the GPS says a really and hey, guess what, you need to go right, go left, go right, you know, go strot. You Know Ed and you'd make the change. And that's the real value proof. Right there. There's a CMO that I just spoke with. The said I really love this because it means I'll never be wrong and and in a sense he's right. These crops. So way to say so. So which we saying? Yeah, we saying that you've got to soucition. It's not just about the Roy and doing what that ton of a NIS would do normally, which is proving the kindy of the campaign and the Reti as you got on the campaign, which your tool or so provide. Is that intelligence as to how you should adapt what you are doing. So Do you do? That's for sality. S's always he thought of the soft twalp by cage that to actually proved ourself. To look at it as a constructancy. Appreciate you, example, was a GPS, but when he comes to marketing, it's almost like a marketing constructency in the box. Right. Yeah, well, it can be right, it is part of the software. You can, maybe an unfortunate term to use, particularly what's going on in the Ukraine, but you can orgain a...

...different alternatives, right and and make choices and lock them in and they will they will ripple through the whole programatic piece. Right, if you if you're set up to do it that way, it will just automatically do it for you. There are a lot of times where the marketers in prove are asked to consult with a CMO or CMOS team for several hours, maybe something like that, to help them understand and evaluate what they're seeing and what what it means right and what they maybe ought to do. That's usually kind of like in the earlier stages, because the tool is actually really, really intuitive and so once you once you really are up to speed on it, you don't really need our help anymore at all. So this is sort of early stage kind of thing, but it you know, it's actually one of the things that I enjoy the post because it is about, you know, at the end of the day, the software exists to serve people, that people do not serve the software right, and that that I enjoy those conversations because it's all about ultimately, Hey, this is what the data and the analytics have to say, but how are we actually going to act in the light that? Right now, I pusent. So we see we sti have conversation about all measury board marketing a treaty actually easy, and the concept of DC phno or that maybe you can also explain to our to all agents. Seems to beginning mode and more visibility from your point of views, down anything that he's nuts. You can just measure from a marketing perspective. I think that the you know, this is going to sound like I am engaging in semantics. Okay, but I'm actually really not. Okay, there's a difference between measurement and analytics. Measurement is data and by definition it's always in the past. Right, this happened this way, on this day, in this country, whatever. Right. Analytics is about the relationships that exist or don't exist between all kinds of different things that you're measuring. So I the way I would answer that question is is that there are some things about marketing that you have to measure inferentially. Right, and dark funnel is a is a great example this. There are, I mean that the one of the best examples of dark funnel is peer to peer. Right, what are what are what's happening in private conversations? You are never going to be able to measure that unless we live in a totalitarian state. Right, and I don't get getty more's that while a Chi yeah, that's yeah, so, but what you can...

...say is, Hey, you know what we are seeing evidence that confidence and trust scores about us and about our competitors are moving in the following directions, right, and there are relationships that we can find between those, let's say, increasing trust and confidence scores and faster and faster time to close, meaning faster deal elst which is a classic relationship. And so that's a really important thing, because what you can say then is, okay, you know what we need to do more whatever it is we're doing that is impacting trust and confidence scores Right, based on the analytics, we need to do more of that. Dark funnel is a really catchy way of talking about brand, right, but three, three years ago, right, it was right before it was the last south by southwest, before covid yeah, ikenoted on this and it was it was all about brand in demand. It was called gear. The presentation was called gears in Greece, right. And demand is, you know, is really the the machinery of marketing, right, but the lubrication that allows things to move more smoothly and faster is brand. And so that's really what dark funnel represents today, the branded image with me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely, and so you're basically, I think, what a lot of people you know, came back to during the covid period is wow, you know what, this this brand thing, this dark funnel thing, really, really maps a lot and it's not all about how much can we push through our marketing automation. And you gotta have both, without a doubt, right. But you can have a great demand operation and if you have no brand or dark funnel activity, you're going to have a hard time. Yeah, appreciate that. I mean we if you look at the all Joanne, we've been we've been at it for ten years at the protects, the false triols, fells fil else. The foot is not stringing. You all try to get to the tuffed about is the autograph. You've got to go. You've got to meet the demon on the tell and then you build up renationship. And in fact I was a little bit against the print stuff. I was such an easy at back in the days because that's what she was just sort of strangled. We all were it some way, shape or form, always just gonking. You know, it's just the brightest stuff. We just whatever is. It's something that the marketells. I using to spend money and don't want to be in you know, and I'll basically I was just so, so bad about it and I was convinced to do it anyway...

...and to spend more time on building up the brands and being careful about what we are doing and and the way we're communicating and what we're communicating about. And and you've got lots of dimension. You've got what your clients are saying about you, you've got what's your employees are saying about you, you've got the way you look on Linkedin and you know, all those things. From my perspective, some of it would actruly create demand, because people find you and then I oh, this is something I need, so let's use that stuff. But first and formless, we almost use it as a way to be to have a competitive advantage when we are on a deal and basically someone is looking at us, of us with strels, are competitor. Also, we are part of your fact, the three finalists and all people will start to go online. So let's see what we can find about these guys and if you get a company where you can find a bit of a brand, a bit of presence, someone who gives back to the community, things like the podcast. We don't do it as a way to generate revenue. We do it because we want to be on the bleeding edge. We learn from the conversation we having every week on the podcast. But that's what thing that our competitors don't tend to do. We probably are the only company that in our space that does it. So would it be a plus for someone or not? You know, it's we don't even think that way, but it's about building that sort of presents that the OS are sometimes don't have because they don't invest in their brand. They just the just relay on the DEM and to come and and yeah, I'm glad that was I was being convinced like six years ago to take that tone, because now the phone is ringing and in fact he doesn't stop ranking and coming back to the world of mouse. We we actually see it. We try to have do straightfold problems, which is always very interesting, because you want to know and someone gives your name to someone else and when someone comes to us Ay, you know the people would just give us business or refer reference for business with be cmocro CEOS of companies. You give them five hundred dollars as a kicker. They they just laugh at you. They don't you know. So we try to do something a little bit more meaningful, which is planting trace. So we plan trays when we've got and people get to the game, you know they what's up me. So I've done another introduction. I was in the meeting. That company should come through your website or whatever. Watch out. Can you please make sure I've got my two hundred trees. You know, I want my forest to give the Gal and that guy and that all competing with it shows, which is fantastic because it's for the good of everyone. So but I think there is a way where you can actually have a feeling for that, maybe more for us, because why the BB world? And and I guess you know in the in the software industry it's a little bit. It's a little bit of a nish. It's a big niche, but it's a little bit of a nish. But I will expect to us is someone within the COMSUMER business to really struggle to under some of the conversation between consumer and everything. But yeah, we found a way to actually measure it, we found a way to incentivize it, we find a way to get more and more basically and quarter on Walto we see that preissing and then we have translating the...

...bread we which we are trying to do. We's to get. I'll do. We get every single on throw he of the company to be a brand and best of all. So we don't talk about being a brand and bust of all, but we speak about everybody's customers success. Right, I'll do. We make sure that's your clients. Even if they leave you, they leave you, no, Stensic, right, absolutely out up. Yeah, and we mution all that. Yeah, I mean, I think there's several points that are really important what you just said. One is that time. This is actually a great relationship between what you're doing with trees and brain right, both take a lot of time. There's a lot of time lag. Right, if you plant a tree, let's say, let's say you you're you want to farvest that tree later for would right. You're not going to do that the next year. You know you're going to have to wait probably two decades. You don't have to wait two decades for brand to make a difference in your business. But what really the reason why most CFOs and CEOS think the brand is a waste of money is because of time lag. Right, when all of a sudden. You compute the time lag because that's part of the math, pure improve right. So you're showing everything net of time lag. That is an eye open yeah, one of them. So when you see a large budget cut in marketing, it's because they need the money now. They need to claw that money back now, because they have some pressing need or something right, and they can understand that immediate need. But the time lag of these skates what the cost of that cut is going to be the year later, for year and a half later, right, so it comes not real. But if you show them what it's going to cost them in loss momentum and or you know whatever, what we see again and again with our with our customers, is that the businesses, and I don't think I really want to make that cut. We had a very large customer during covid still have this customer, but during covid they were approached in July of two thousand and twenty by finance for a forty percent cut. They showed them the analytics from proof and they ended up getting a fifteen percent cut because finance and the business said, you know what, it's too expensive to cut you. That's what you really want. That's what you want to see, right. Yeah, and so I really, I really, I think that you're right on there, right, and the Rit that the corresponding issue is that there's a tremendous amount of risk associated with brand spind again, because of the time let it. So if you are not recaculating it constantly, very...

...much like your gps on your phone, recalculate your true right. If you're not doing that, if you're waiting six months before you recalculate your brands, then you're going to have a big problem. And then there's a lot of movement, a lot of change. It's, in my eyes, about doing the important verse Physic Agent. You know, the demon is Urg tweet pipeline now and you know it's it's actually quite interesting and we are married to a finance person, so we got defferent point of view. That battle three on Tho stole the whole quarterly piece. Like I'm going to invest the budgets in the quarter, I need to see a return in the quarter. I mean, how do you do that? You know, if you have example of the tree is the same. You know, it's like if you want to avest a relationship with a new prospect and and most of our clients will have an averaged in value of fiftyzero dollars, hundredzero dollars on hundred. You Got gonna close it in the quarter unless you are very well known brand and you are the facto, like you are Appool or sex foss or selfies now, and people have already made up down mind before they come to you, and then then they could could become available, but they are read. Is A threatn in the quarter ready and it's often the large organization at think that well, and then you get to the end of the quarter. They've got some budget left and we need to use it because if we don't use it is gotten and then we rush about. So I think it's kind of interesting about how there is a great sight of marketing attribution and measuring and and and doing the anetics and and and thinking, faldable, what you gonna do. But I thinks in some organization and sometimes too much measurements actually kill the flow because, as you said, it's a snowbell now. It's a time like but you need things like that. You Rome was not built in one day, as you know. We've got the French setting around that and and and I think it's it's true. You've got to build something, you've got to do the important use was the agent which recently, and just going to move slightly the the topic, came across a nautical that you shared and that was titled Marketing is not of Ending Machine, which discusses marketing our Royy in a complex digital area. So can you shore with audience the main points that the article cover? Yeah, it's so it goes back to the GPS idea, right, that you're living in a multi variable world and that most of the impact is generated by things that you do not control. So you can understand those to some degree, which you not control them. It's like the wave and an ocean, right, you don't control the wave, you do not generate the way. Right. Your job as a surfer, right, is the either ride that way well or poorly. Yeah, and so one of the things that the analytics really talks about, and that's what's in this article, right, is this idea that you have to understand the context. If you...

...don't understand what the environment is doing, what's going on in the marketplace relative to Your Business and how that changes the head winds or the tailwinds that your business is dealing with and thus that your marketing spend has to address. Okay, your you're going to have a problem that you're not going to be able to achieve what you need to achieve. Again, going back to the GPS analogy on the phone, right, this is, you know, when traffic happens, piles up front of you, or an accident happens, or something rain. It also a huge storm. These are examples of head winds that slow your journey down, that force you to make changes. Same thing as happening in the marketplace all the time. The thing that's really important, going back to what you were just talking about, is the fact that all these so some things that you're spending money on have an immediate impact, mediate as a relative word, but quick impact. Other things take a lot longer, but both are going to be either accelerated or retarded by what's going on in the environment, the marketplace. Right. So, again, going back to your example of trees, if you take a, you know, hundred year old tree and you and, let's say, if all's over in a store, right, so, you didn't kill it, but you've cut it open and you can see the rings okay, and some have. You know, there's a lot of growth in a year and some have very little growth in the year. That's not about the tree, typically right. That's about what's going on in the environment and it took a long time for that portrait of impact to be seen, to be visible right in the in the tree. Same thing as true in marketing, and so one of the things that we are, the only thing we're the only thing that I would disagree with you about in terms of people, people being obsessed with data and analytics right and getting in the way, is that it only gets in the way if you have the wrong view of it. If you're constantly trying to react as opposed to react appropriately right on the timescale, you're going to have a big six sag back and forth right, you're going to be overcorrecting on your journey. It's going to it's not going to be good. But if you say, okay, you know what, the trend line that showing up right now is divergent from my my ideal path and I'm going to kind of experiment here and I'm going to start incrementally moving things in a way that should bring me back to my main route. To value and then you see that in the analytics...

...it's actually happening that way. That's value, that's real. The idea that that you can make huge changes overnight as now. No, I do have the energy of the tree rings. must say, I may. I may use it to get in the future and just make sure I give you the trademark on it. But it is so true. You not. The environment is important and you of the environment can play in your favor against your favor. I could do both. It could be fantastic. Like, for example, for us right now we've got a ton of demand in orders of people are looking at grewing that business. Things have been a bit slow. The market is really active in the technology space. So everybody wants to go big and they wants to go big yesterday. But at same time we've got circumstances that are very difficult, which is there is a lot of everybody's recruiting at the moment. Finding talents is difficult. So right, so you've got to rethink about all your finding those things and you've got to apisode one thing that is an abostuity in one end. On one end can be sothing at slew, you dowl on the other. So it's interesting. All the context actually change things and I do agree with you. You know, I think that it really depend on the people and I think my point that people sometimes over kill analytic and it's not just about number and something. It can be slow to start, Wiez, because you don't get a lot of results. Maybe if you are it photos of quarter would actually come to fruition. You know, there is thing that there is to that needs to be pushed little bit harder and as a strategy. And tactical things are always good, but tactical things and I don't know if you ever get the big box out of tactical things. You know when you expect quick for Toub, but when you invest of all time, and what's surely a wrong breadn as we discuss an even the markets, is that you actually try to do something and you are genuine about it, the strong time investment can be a fantastic so, speaking about the kind of misconception, and then may misconception of some of the marketing attribution, the one that I yet at six shells ago regarding bread. What are the misconception regarding marketing attribution that you come across? The must often and then now I guess that's do. Maybe the maybe we would open up toward the CMOS on marketing. People listening to us like giving him, giving them a little bit of cruises to well, the struggles out well to the issues are marketing, instribution and now they should fight entirely funny. On right. One of the biggest ones is that more is better. Now you have to you have to really be specific about your business. Okay, but when you make that kind of statement, but in bed, be in long cycle, be to be where it's long. The reason why it's long cycle is that there's a lot of risk in the by decision, and so trust and confidence plays a much bigger role, particularly in the back half of the journey, then awareness ever did in the front. Right. So whareness, confidence and trust are the three legs. Everyone knows what awareness is. Confidences by leave that...

...you can do what you say you can do and that you're not exaggerating. Trust is is really existential. It means that when our interests diverge, I still know that you'll treat me well, you'll do the right thing. The more trust you have, the more confidence you have from your customer, the more likely there's they are to spend more and the faster they will make a decision in your favor. Likewise, and you this, unfortunately, the way you see it a lot is that when those scores, when trust and confidence are low, takes forever to close the deal. Yeah, this is actually one of the biggest problems at startups have, right, because they haven't been around long enough to have created a lot of trust and offits, and so the customers look at them as wow, this is really cool, like whatever it is they've created really cool. But how there's a lot of risk, a lot of risk here, and so they they sit on their hands for a long time, they take forever to make a buy decision, which almost insures the failure of the startup, right. So there's there's a little bit of a self fulfilling prophecy here. It's one of the reasons why a lot of startups that are successful have as their principle, maybe it's their founder, Babes, their CEO, whatever, someone who already personally has a brand with a lot of trust and common offence attached to I think that that was probably one of the things that happened with proof is that even before we even thought about creating proof. I had developed those kinds of personal relationships with people, high trust high confidence relationships. So when we did it, people, when we did prove people were willing to listen and people were willing to take a risk. At that time, five years ago, it was really probably in retrospect, they were taking a risk on me. Today it's not. I'm not it's not all about me at all. Right, I mean we have a great team, we built great products and it's people evaluated on that basis, together with our what our customers say abouts. Right. So, but I would say that the other big misconception here is what you touched on before, which is that this idea that I can look for the impact of my investments in the next quarter, unless you're talking about retail or something like that, with a really, really super tight turn and sit now the feedback loop is immediate, or fairly immediate, and the risk of the purchase risk is low, and so it's primarily emotional. But if you're talking about be to be right, this is just not it's not going to happen. Time lag is a big, big, big deal, right, and you are going to have to say, okay, you know what some of this is a...

...long play. I'm going to need the analytics to prove it out. Otherwise, guess what everyone's going to think that brand is just a huge reason to spend a lot of money unnecessarile. So that is a misconception and some ways more of a misconception by the business than it is about marketing from marketers. I think that the other big misconception that the business has about marketing is that if we put an analytics platform like proof into the equation, that the analytics are going to say that half the spin is a waste or that it is being spent in correct incorrectly. I think that what we see in time again is that marketing teams had correctly intuited. In many cases they're intuition in their experience right. They can't prove it right, but they have correctly intuited what works. The twenty rule is alive and well. Okay. So when when proof is deployed, what typically happens is that the analytics show that roughly twenty percent, twenty five percent, maybe sometimes ten or twoteen percent of the spend is suboptimized. But the cool thing about that is is that you based on the analytics. You can eliminate that, right, you can correct it and you can correct it on an ongoing basis as things change. So the amount of this is actually what that CMO was sort of talking about. What he said, you know, this is this means I'm never wrong, right. I mean he's joking, but sort of not joking all the same time, because the ability to constantly understand what's going on and make changes, make tweaks to it means that you're never going to be caught out with a huge error, and so that there. There was one situation with a customer about a year and a half ago where the finance team we presented to them. They immediately got it. They look, you know, proof is totally in their area. They totally understand it and you could sort of see this little gleam in their eye right that they're like to finally put the screws to marketing and the marketing team was obviously very concerned. Right they were. They were kind of having a little freaked out moment. The analytics came back and that was you know, that's usually about forty, five, sixty days later, and that happens. It showed that there was only about ten percent twelve percent of suboptimized marketing spin. So now the the marketing team is like kicking back in their chair, you know, smoking a cigar basically, and the finance team was kind of sitting there going, wait a minute, that's not the way it was supposed to turn out. But everybody agreed that that was point in fact, the truth right, and so it really changed the conversation at between...

...marketing and the rest. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. At the end of the day. It's probably a bit of to have the inten and discuss about it. You know, if it's good, it is bad. If he's bad, do something about it. If he's good, and as the boy it seeks so well, look, mark we we could of getting to the end of the time, we could have got on. I've got so many it is such an interesting to peak and there's so much psychology it. Again, I I did write down the trust and confidence and the Tree Riggs and up. That's gonnect. The Tring is probably I really love the technology. It makes so much sense. Never also though about it befo. Also, if it's one of yells. You're really good with an energies, but you shot so much insight to business students that I'm so thankful for that. If anyone wants to carry on and post you the conversation with you all speak about proof and and how your solution could add them and the organization. What's the best way to get rid of you? Well, I'm very active on Linke then, and if you reach out to me we're not already connected, I will absolutely connect with you and we'll have a conversation. They can also reach me directly on email. Mark in a rk dot stus stou se at proof analytics, and that's also our Aur Url for the website. Right, is pretty analytics. That Ai. So there's a lot of it, and I'm also on twitter. Right it's Mark Stue is my handle on twitter. So there's a lot of different ways to it. Well, right, and thanks again for your time, mark, today's he was an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Hey, thank you so much. You've been listening. To be be revenue acceleration. In to ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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