Attribution or influence, influence or attribution.  I have been in many customer meetings where someone inevitably asks:

“What is the right revenue attribution method for campaign ROI?”

Unfortunately, I am pretty sure there is no right answer. Although ROI is a quantitative metric, my experience is that ROI should be one data point to help guide your marketing decisions, but never the only metric to drive them.

But since I always love a challenge, I started thinking about how campaign ROI is a key element of Revenue Performance Management (or RPM) and  came up with a model that I think helps provide a clearer picture.

And The Winner is…No Decision

The main issue with campaign ROI is that it is always the “other thing we are not measuring“ that stops us from cutting a poorly performing campaign.  Here is how the conversation usually goes.

Marketer One: “Our thought leadership webinar series is not sourcing a lot of new business that closes, I think we should cut it – the campaign ROI is very low” (BanjoOne: “Da Da Da Da Dum”)

Marketer Two: “But I heard sales reps say it has been referenced in a whole bunch of opportunities they are working.  What if we cut it, and it really is influencing all of those deals?” (BanjoTwo: “Da Da Da Da Dum”) 

Marketer One: “You are right, let’s not change anything”.  (BanjoOne: “Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Dum”)

Marketer Two: “Good, at least we know things are sorta working today”.  (BanjoTwo: “Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Dum”) 

We have all been there before.

Instead of Dueling Attributions, Why Not Try Dual Attributions?

So if this problem is all about the “other thing you are not measuring,” why not measure both?  Maybe by doing that you could isolate the no-brainer decisions.  So we came up with this chart (part of the our suite of RPM dashboards), and we call it Campaign Revenue, Dual-Attribution.

This chart plots both first touch revenue attribution (first campaign response on a lead that converts to a deal) vs. influence (all campaign responses on leads/opps that convert to deals) revenue attribution.  By doing that you end up with four quadrants, of which we believe are two “no brainer” decisions.

If a campaign ends up in the “bottom-left” quadrant, like the Thought Leadership Webinar, that means that it isn’t generating any leads that convert to deals. Also, it isn’t influencing a bunch of leads that close as deals.  Why would you possibly want to continue to use that campaign as a demand generation activity?  Conversely, a campaign like the Benchmark Success Tours are both generating a lot of new leads that are converting to deals and influencing a large amount of revenue.  Why not double down in the next quarter and increase the campaign reach?

Now, we haven’t figured out the best way to prioritize top-left or bottom-right, it will probably depend on your business needs at the time.  We would love your feedback on these two quadrants if you start to experiment with this format.

Finally, we feel the only way to properly look at this type of chart, is to fix the campaigns by start time, and we think that quarterly is a good place to start.

So by moving from a duel to a dual view, we think you’ll make a few more decisions that will help you improve revenue performance.