What’s the ROI on not making bad decisions?

I’m sitting in a pitch to a global travel brand. It has gone very well and the paid media team are super excited to start working with us. The CRM team are looking forward to seeing the impact of their emails in a new and unique way. The content marketers are going to see an attributed value of content within journeys in the board pack moving forward. We are excited. It’s a great opportunity to really change an organisation to drive insight and value moving forward.

Then I get the question;

“What is the ROI of attribution?”

I understand. When you bring in a new platform such as a CRM system, albeit in the Salesforce era, this is how SaaS is sold. We are going from A to B and there are incremental improvements. Brands will expect to see improvements in volume, spend efficiency, conversion optimisations. We know as analytics people and as marketers that last click is wrong, and therefore the reverse of the question is the answer.

“What is the ROI on not making bad decisions?”

The classic quote from John Wanamaker is “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half”. With attribution, we now know what is working, but it’s intimidating to shift the focus from the 4% conversion rate we monitor to an understanding of the 96% that don’t. This is the opportunity but its intimidating. Attribution, to be successful, takes a psychological shift in how a company works. It’s not “we are going to bid differently because of this new bid automation platform”, or “we will improve our emails due to this new CRM system”. Attribution at its heart is “this is how marketing impacts your audience’s purchasing behaviour”.

We are talking about changing the entire strategy for how you acquire, engage, convert and satisfy,  ultimately creating loyalty and advocacy. Going into attribution with blinkers on with “let’s change our PPC bids” limits success dramatically. With traditional advertising, we have never had the data to show anything other than the correlation to success. The most advanced MMM or econometrics models are just statistical impact in an aggregated world. In digital because we can see every interaction we are under a lot more scrutiny for understanding success.

We are changing the whole game here. We can see the value of every single interaction, therefore everything has the potential to change and drive value. Putting a historic ROI based on what any attribution company has done with previous clients is a figure that will mean nothing ultimately to your brand. At CUBED we have “driven” increases of over 100% growth in sales whilst decreasing CPA’s. The truth is that the media account was so poorly set up (the client knew this) that it was super simple for us to highlight where the opportunities were. The sales process where someone uses a case study like that to sell doesn’t start the conversation properly.

Attribution should be seen as transformational and long term. You are going to be adjusting the brands’ approach to marketing so that it invests in the future as well as the people who will convert today.

This is scary for a lot of brands but it’s the truth. It’s about test and learn, we can’t have data on things that you have not yet done – no matter the accuracy of extrapolation.

The question isn’t about ROI – this is a guarantee as you’ll be making decisions using more accurate and realistic data. The question is:

“Are you ready to change as an organisation now you have the data to do it?”