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November 27th, 2014

From Attribution to Marketing Mix, Marketers Still Feel Like They’re in the Dark

How confident do marketers feel in their marketing measurement? Based on a number of 2014 surveys, the answer seems to be: not very.


A useful place to start is a September study from Forrester Research(sponsored by marketing software Kenshoo). The study found that “only one in nine marketers use advanced attribution methods.” The marketers who are using attribution are also falling behind on best practices. “Among those using attribution,” the study press release explains, “28% still use single click methods.” That means last click attribution (and the like) is alive and well.

The study included a survey of 106 marketing professionals—spanning brands, agencies, and analytics team in the U.S. and Europe. In other words, a lack of good attribution seems to be a global problem—or at least cross-continental one—and a problem that runs the gamut of the marketing ecosystem.

Marketing Mix

Another study by Econsultancy (from May, in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud) looked at the global problem head-on.

First, the good news: for over two-thirds of worldwide respondents, integrating marketing activities was a primary goal.

But there’s a lot of frustrating news as well. Many marketers felt they had little good insight to work with: only 43% of the respondents—less than half—felt they had a strong enough grasp of the customer journey to pivot their marketing mix accordingly. It’s no surprise that a full 62% of respondents felt that their messaging, execution, and media did not align across touch points. Meanwhile, 35% of respondents felt that their organizations were “not really” prepared for cross-channel marketing—and only 7% of the respondents did feel truly prepared. (Read more on the study in eMarketer.)

Poor Attribution, Less Mobile

That lack of confidence isn’t just impacting decisions. It’s impacting marketers’ ability to push ahead on new channels. A good example comes from another Forrester report—this one interviewing 100 brand-side marketing decision-makers. According to the study, a full 93% of marketers interviewed would increase their cross-channel investments if they could get a better handle on mobile attribution. As it is, though, only 13% of the marketers felt confident in their cross-channel measurement—and only 18% felt confident in their ability to gauge mobile ROI. Less knowledge means less investment in critical channels.

The Value of Marketing

The lack of confidence is moving up the corporate ladder, too. This year’s CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association, and McKinsey & Company finds that a full 62% of marketers feel pressure from their CEO’s and/or boards to prove the value of marketing. Marketer’s aren’t just facing a loss for the data that helps them manage their work; they’re at a loss for the data that helps them to prove their value.

There is a silver lining through all this. Marketers are aware of the problem they face, and they know where to find solutions. To cite just one example: the CMO Survey also finds that marketers expect to increase analytics spending by 73% over the next three years.

Here’s to great insights ahead.

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