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January 26, 2011

Attribution and Brand Awareness: Determining the Effects of Your Marketing Activities

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We all know brand awareness matters a lot, but it is always difficult to attribute conversion value to our various marketing activities. So how can brand awareness activities be accounted for? Online attribution tools do a great job of measuring online activities, but what about attribution with offline activities?

Marketers need to identify all regular marketing activities and then establish a baseline. The baseline could be established using Google Insights for Search (now Google Trends), if the brand generates sufficient search volume to show up.

Another way to do this might be through a lead tracking system as long as all leads are tracked in a single system that is readily queried. While it’s probably best to track actual sales in determining a baseline, for some businesses the sales cycle is long, so establishing a baseline by using lead volume may be just as good a proxy and provide a more immediate data set. Whatever the method, adjustments for seasonality should also be made if appropriate.

Once a baseline is established, then the marketer should ensure that all activities (except those being tested) remain constant. This includes minor changes like changing your target audience or adding a new media type. With a baseline established, marketing activities held constant, and a fully integrated attribution system in place, test campaigns can now be run to provide marketing insights. When multiple media types are to be combined into a single campaign, the attribution system should understand how to allocate conversions to the media types both independently and together.

If new marketing campaigns are to be continually tested, marketers need to clearly identify what baseline is before proceeding, noting that there may now be a “new” baseline. If the search campaign above is terminated and replaced with something different, then the new baseline would remain the same. If, however, a new campaign is layered upon it, then the new baseline would be 300.

As the number of marketing tools and channels increase, the more difficult it will be to attribute revenue and brand awareness to our activities. How do you track your marketing activities? Have you come up with any solutions to the problem of attribution?

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