Measuring Up: B2B Email And the Attribution Challenge
by Ray Schultz , Columnist, May 12, 2017
B2B marketers don’t know how to count. That is, many can’t measure and attribute their results across channels. That’s the grim finding of the 2017 Marketing Measurement and Attribution from Demand Gen, sponsored by brightfunnel.
Of 173 marketers surveyed, over half said their biggest hurdle is their inability to measure their cross-channel impact. And that is disappointing, given the need to show marketing’s impact on pipeline and revenue. That goal was cited by 72%, who said it was driving their need for deeper metrics. In addition, 68% said they need to show ROI from all marketing investments. Going down the list, 32% said they desire to track specific investments.
What can we determine from all this? That there are “major gaps in current capabilities,” as the report puts it.
Asked how they measure marketing results, 32% said they rely on reports from their email platform. And 94% measure email click-through and open rates, making email second only to Web traffic, which is tracked by 95%.
The problem is that measuring opens and clicks is a siloed approach that sounds suspiciously like one-click measurement, a discredited tool. And you can’t use an email platform to track everything.
Email is fifth in a field of six in that regard, outranked by reports from CRM (70%), Web analytics (68%), the marketing automation system (65%) and Excel, done manually (51%). As the report states, these metrics are effective in their way, but prevent “sharing deeper insights into buyer behavior and reporting impact to other areas of the organization.”
And while 91% overall say measurement is a priority for their firms, only 13% say their work in this area is excellent. Another 40% say it needs improvement, and 36% feel it’s average.
The report states that “much of reporting and tracking is limited to specific channels and campaigns.” Here is the proof. Their primary metrics are:
- Web traffic — 95%%
- Email click-through rates and open rates – 94%
- Contact acquisition/form completed – 86%
- Organic search – 77%
- Paid search – 76%
- Social engagement/shares – 60%
The report also states that the answers are “consistent with the metrics generated by CRM and MAP systems, with 29% saying they track MQLs, 28% analyzing pipeline opportunities and 21% reporting on sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
Their dream list shows you just how behind everyone is. Asked what kind of metrics would they would like to use within a year, 66% said ROI by channel, 51% cited customer acquisition costs, 50% listed selected cross-channel engagement, and 49% said they would like to report on customer lifetime value.
Meanwhile, only 42% said they can measure pipeline influence, and 40% plan to add that capability in the next year.
What’s keeping them from effective measurement and attribution? Here’s the list of obstacles:
- Inability to measure impact across channels/campaigns – 54%
- Inability to track and measure activity between buyer stages – 51%
- Not enough resources – 43%
- Data is a mess – 42%
- Lack of reporting – 42%
- Not sure what to measure/we lack clear KPIs – 15%
We don’t know where to begin – 5%
So which metrics do they use to measure account-based marketing? Here’s the list:
- Individual campaign and channel metrics – 46%
- Conversion of engaged account to opportunity – 46%
- The overall number of engaged accounts – 42
- Pipeline influence – 37%
Marketing-qualified accounts – 34%
OK — the results are not as bad as they can be, but there’s work to do, masters. Above all, you may have to hire some engineers and make a few other investments in systems and vendors. And when you do, you will have a clear competitive advantage.
B2B marketers need to get a handle on measurement and attribution. Why are almost a third relying on their email platform for results?