Director of Demand Generation at AdStage, Michael McEuen recently spoke with the Director of Marketing at Bizible, Dave Rigotti, to share their knowledge on the changing role of B2B marketers. Watch the full webinar below, and gain insight on how to utilize full funnel ads with an attribution model that eliminates channel bias and works for your business.
In this webinar, Mike and Dave cover an introduction to pipeline marketing, how to use cross-channel PPC advertising for every stage of your funnel, the drawbacks of post-click attribution, and three ways to think about attribution for B2B, followed by a live Q&A session.
Introduction to Pipeline Marketing
In a typical funnel, marketing and sales teams goals are separate, not directly involving marketers in revenue creation. Instead, marketers focus on conversion rates and total cost per lead, which can be misleading. “It’s like football,” says Dave. The marketing team only takes things to the 50-yard line, rather than a complete touchdown.
By implementing a pipeline marketing strategy, marketers now look beyond the leads to determine what decisions will drive a higher revenue. It’s important to look past the data and create a holistic view of the entire funnel. When B2B marketers focus on revenue as opposed to just generating leads, it aligns the marketer’s goals with sales and they both share the successes or failures.
Aligning PPC for Every Stage of the Funnel
To accelerate each of the stages in your funnel with PPC, you need to look at your paid advertising with a different lens. It is important to put your brand in front of decision makers so they know who you are.
For example, in the lead stage, you can use LinkedIn to target specific companies or industries to get decision makers or influencers into your database. Next, with their email addresses, you can retarget these prospects on Facebook or Twitter, show them custom content, and nurture them through the decision making cycle. When the decision makers are ready to buy and are actively searching for your product or service, you can make sure to have a paid search strategy in place to drive conversion.
Limiting all of your PPC campaigns to only drive leads is restricting and doesn’t capture the middle of the funnel of lead nurturing. Instead, you should be strategically placing your ads and messages in the right places, at the right time, and measuring how they perform to ensure your PPC channels work in a positive way for your organization.
Pitfalls of Post-Click Attribution
Many B2B marketers will settle for conversion tools provided by the ad networks that are originally meant for B2C advertising out of convenience. However, Dave explains, like a using a flat-edged shovel for garden work, they are not always the best tools for the job. They contribute to the problem of channel bias by overstating the actual effectiveness of conversions.
The critical flaw of these conversion tools is they only looking at leads, rather than revenue. This will inflate your lead count if the same lead is counted as a single conversion on two different channels. In addition, these conversion tracking solutions mistaken multiple sessions in the B2B buying process for multiple conversions, when a new user converts from the same organization as a new lead. Ultimately, this results in an inaccurate attribution model, causing you to over or under read certain channels.
Attribution Models for B2B Marketers
In order to escape the disillusionment caused by post-click attribution, it is important to have a dedicated tool to track conversions outside of ad networks. In B2B marketing, it is important to consider three touches:
- First-touch: the first visit to your site
- Nurture: when contact information is exchanged and interest is expressed
- Last-touch: the marketing phase is completed and ready for sales.
With these in mind, you can select an attribution model that works best for you. We cover two types of attribution models in this webinar: W-shaped attribution and account-based attribution.
W-shaped attribution gives equal credit to all three touches, and shows the impact of the nurture stage, which usually never gets any credit. What makes the W-shaped attribution model unique is the ability to attribute content to a revenue number.
With account-based attribution, the focus is shifted from keywords and clicks to specific companies or accounts. It is important to either have access to your CRM or company data to know the prospects that are part of each account. This attribution model focuses on more than only the decision makers, but also the researchers and end-users as well, who influence the process. This model shows the progression of B2B and sheds light on what actually is working.
In today’s age, it’s a great time to be a B2B marketer as you no longer have to rely on B2C marketing tools to measure performance. B2B marketers are shifting their mindset to become more revenue focused than lead focused and below are just a few of the questions and answers that were covered in the webinar.
Q: Since you’ve become revenue focused, what changes have you made to your marketing strategy? Has there been anything surprising?
Dave: Before we started with a w-shaped model, we were looking at everything from a first-click approach. When we connected this to revenue, we started to realize the channel bias and just how much top of the funnel is contributing to revenue. Honestly, it was a lot more than I thought. A fantastic example of what we found was how great LinkedIn ads are. Compared to Facebook ads the CPC is almost always higher. But, when you start tracking that down to revenue, you find that LinkedIn ads convert at a way higher rate than Facebook ads.That led us to quadrupling down on LinkedIn ads and eliminating Facebook ads altogether. We realized, after the click a lot of magic happening with LinkedIn ads. It’s been a big piece to our business.
Q: Mike, do you have any perspective on your experience using revenue focused attribution models or market strategy?
Mike: Overall, my job has become a lot more difficult. Before, I would get away with just reporting on total leads. Now I sit directly with sales and I’m held to a percentage of their quota. It makes my tactics completely different as well. As I start to understand what the true return on ad spend is, and marking that back to the channel, you’ll find that it takes multiple touch points in B2B. The funnel isn’t as linear as you’d think. People hop through different stages. What you thought was a closed lost opportunity may be revived. It can take many touch points to get them to closed won status. When revealing which caydence has helped, what has really opened my eyes, is the mix between your marketing automation systems and what you do with your drip nurture and email, and pairing that nicely with your paid media ads.
Q: Why is w-shaped attribution better than something algorithmic or dynamically created from an attribution model standpoint? Which would you recommend?
Dave: Generally, a marketer’s view on attribution models is that a one-size fits all isn’t going to work for them. You’re partially correct, an algorithmic model or a totally custom model is, in some cases, the perfect model for an organization. However, they come with a couple of challenges, the biggest being, difficulty implementing. Not only do you have to connect your system, you have a greater challenge getting your team on board. Custom models can influence the way you do your marketing. Determining what gets credit causes you to make changes based on your marketing. Instead of having your attribution model influence your marketing mix, the opposite occurs. It can cause you to tweak your attribution model in order to give credit in order to shift your view. I always recommend to companies starting out with attribution to take the crawl, walk, run approach.
Mike: Out of the box models are a good way to understand and take a look at attribution. They get the ball rolling make some tweaks in order to customize and cater it to your business.
Have even more questions for Mike and Dave about their recommendations for full funnel ads or attribution? Ask them in the comments section below!