From The Editor | November 27, 2018

Multi-Touch Attribution: Closer Than It Seems For Water Industry Marketers

By Bill King

Hand Adjusting Mixer

Have you heard of multi-touch attribution? It’s an important concept for publishers and marketers alike.

According to Optimize Smart, multi-touch attribution is “the process of understanding and assigning credit to marketing channels that eventually lead to conversions. An attribution model is a set of rules that determine how credit for conversions should be attributed to various touch points in conversion paths.”

The reason it is so important is that too often in the world of water and wastewater sales and marketing, the “last touch” is given all the credit. It’s the hot lead you received at a tradeshow, not realizing the many online searches, article reads, networking conversations, and shared insights that prospect received that convinced him to head to your booth at the show in the first place.

So it’s important for publishers because such a small percentage of companies in this industry spend money on advertising. It tends to be the big players with big budgets or the savvy few who recognize the importance of brand awareness in lead generation.

And it’s important for marketers too because if done right, it justifies everything you come to work to do every day. In a world with a myriad of marketing options to select, it’s the glue that pieces together the media mix you put into your marketing plan each year. Understanding how the various parts support one another or not in advancing the sale makes you smarter and more efficient in what you do.

Neil Patel uses a perfect soccer analogy in his blog post about multi-touch attribution. “Like a great midfielder who doesn’t score many goals himself but prepares goals for the strikers, a marketing channel might not be delivering many conversions but could be playing an important role in initiating the conversion process or assisting in the eventual conversion,” he writes.

The difficulty that we face in the water and wastewater industry compared to say an online B2C direct sales company is that to be truly effective, marketers need to incorporate many offline attributes. And to do so, they need to incorporate many resources across a distributed sales model. It could be so daunting a battle as to stop a valiant marketer before they’ve even mounted their steed.

I think it’s important to realize that full multi-touch attribution may not be feasible. And yet, starting small and with the data you can get your hands on does provide worth. And arguably puts you on the top of the marketing game in our industry. You might not be able to convince your independent sales reps to input which channel their latest prospect came through into your CRM database but you should be able to link online reads of your content and map it to the traffic coming into your Website.

Image credit: "Hand adjusting audio mixer," Ilmicrofono Oggiono © 2015, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license: