Attribution and ROI: What Really Matters in B2B?

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Sam Melnick
Sam Melnick

B2B marketers all have one thing in common: They need to know where the money goes. But attribution isn’t always easy.

“Marketers today are really taking on more responsibility for driving growth, but with that comes more accountability,” says Sam Melnick, vice president of marketing, Allocadia. “They’re struggling to articulate the results of their actions and investments.”

Melnick presented “Are You Measuring What Matters? The Big Difference Between Attribution & Strategic ROI” at B2B LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert in New York.

Strategic ROI is a more top down approach, he says, where an organization looks at their returns from investments and what they’re getting from these expenditures. Attribution, on the other hand, typically looks from the bottom up, determining what activities will get the credit for what results.

“Attribution isn’t wrong, but it isn’t enough. It’s great for a field marketing manager who is day to day in the weeds and wants to know what is working,” says Melnick. “Strategic ROI is more for a head of marketing that needs to know what should be in their portfolio for their overall marketing mix to meet the business objectives.”

Both approaches are important, and it’s a challenge for marketers looking for the perfect answers. Many organizations are struggling with data cleanliness issues, and facing the impossible task of getting answers out of flawed data sets. This, he notes, is a problem that can’t simply be solved by purchasing technology.

Siloed data is the issue for many companies. Allocadia’s 2017 Marketing Performance Maturity Study found that only eight percent of organizations have marketing, sales and finance data in one data warehouse, and only 28% of marketers feel their data is accounted for and well formatted.

Half of marketers feel they have no control over their data, according to the report, which also found that more than 55% of companies report that they can only run baseline reports on past performance. And, 13% said they don’t even know where all their data lives and can’t run any reports.

“Until your foundation is built around sound data, your analysis will be limited,” he says.

For marketers, strategic ROI is often a more holistic and easier measurement to get to, simply because marketing “owns” what they have invested in. When sales gets involved, says Melnick, marketing influences that process but doesn’t necessarily own it.

Melnick was joined at Connect to Convert by Anna Alexander, senior manager, market analysis at Pitney Bowes, who will talk about her company’s take on strategic ROI and attribution measurement.


More From the Faculty of B2B LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert:

Earth Networks Weathers the Challenge of Numerous B2B Verticals 

Take Risks & Tell Stories: Advice From Cisco’s Tim Washer

Q&A: Avnet’s Journey to Reach B2B Millennials 



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