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When Sales and Marketing Attribution Goes Wrong 1

Updated:2012-12-14 17:36:41
Striving for greater efficiency with their sales and marketing dollars, organizations are always trying to draw a firm link between a dollar of spending and the corresponding dollar(s) of revenue. Thanks to technological developments, such as personalized links, A/B testing, and IP address tracing, organizations are finding that once immeasurable marketing campaigns or activities can now be optimized and compared against one another.

As an overarching movement, the quest for accountability using sales and marketing attribution is a good thing… I think.
However, the expectation that every action can and must be quantified by the sales it generates can be unrealistic and detrimental.
This is especially true in sales and marketing activities aimed upstream from the actual sale. One example is a brand awareness campaign, or its sales equivalent — a non-closing, lead qualification program. In either case, the revenues come so far downstream of the activity that attribution is practically unfeasible and rarely attempted.
Does the lack of a measurable ROI mean one isn’t there? Of course not, but in a misguided rush for accountability, organizations sometimes confuse the two.
This is a mistake. Early-pipeline sales and marketing activities should be evaluated critically, but if they’re fulfilling a business need, they shouldn’t be held to an impossible standard of revenue attribution.
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