Monday, January 20, 2014

Attribution: A Mixed Model

How do you attribute offline AND online marketing at the same time?

Giving credit where credit is due is hard, particularly in the the world of marketing.  To help me think thru this I mocked up the classic 2 by 2 matrix.

There are two broad approaches to attribution: Top-down and Bottom-up: as well as two different purposes: Tactical and Strategic.   This results in four ways to approach the problem; this doesn't mean there are four techniques - there are a myriad of them in each cell.  The example I'll use is the flyer or circular (disclosure: my day job focuses on this) in the context of reallocating budget from the printed version to the digital world.

Top-down approaches looking at the tactical level grew out of the Marketing Mix Modeling world.   Econometric models try to tease out and control for the effect/variability of marketing activities.   While some testing is often done, this approach won't support the needs of an organization looking at bold strategic moves (like re-purposing 50% of its budget) to something new.

In the digital realm, and in particular the e-commerce, bottom-up and path analysis of a specific consumer is often the basis for attribution.   Whether it is 'last click' or a more advanced form of attribution, it is still limited to a limited domain.

The 'shift to digital' series (posts before and after this one) focus on a big change where both styles of attribution are required.  So, the challenge is figuring out a way to link marketing mix models which can handle flyer distribution, OOH, and TV with their digital equivalents that work with anonymous, PII and segment data. 

It seems to me that the variance of one might be explained by the other....

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