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Breaking Free from Blind Marketing: Navigating Attribution for Better Results

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the impact of technology cannot be overstated. As marketers, business leaders, or even consumers, we find ourselves navigating a sea of change driven by technological advancements. We now have the ability to track engagement, activity, and revenue across various channels, allowing us to optimize spending and labor efficiency. However, this technological shift comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in the realm of attribution and the ability to convey accurate metrics to clients or executives.

As a seasoned global marketing strategist for a multi-billion dollar corporation, I've observed many companies make a common mistake – decisions based on misleading or incomplete data. This error is often a result of relying solely on data that can be tracked or historical data, ignoring the nuances and external influences. But why do businesses fall into this trap? The answer lies in the limitations of revenue reporting systems like Salesforce – if it can't be tracked, it's often considered unusable.

Becoming a brand is not merely about efficiency but establishing trust and recognition. The most cost-effective consumers to acquire are those who already trust and like your brand. If your company is seen as a problem solver rather than a trustworthy partner with a unique appeal, acquiring customers becomes an uphill battle.

Long-Term Influence vs. Short-Term Gains

Throughout my career in the advertising industry, I've always emphasized the importance of big-picture thinking. These overarching ideas, often referred to as vibes, mantras, or visions, should serve as the foundation for all marketing efforts. They create a seamless and consistent brand experience, fostering trust, culture, and creativity. If you aim to captivate your audience and achieve organic growth, these big ideas should underpin every aspect of your marketing, from SEM and SEO to social media campaigns.

The digital marketing era ushered in a new era of attribution, where ratings were replaced by reviews, and impression share took on new significance. Executives now demand absolute measurability, leading to the decline of branding and awareness advertising. Many agencies promise instant ROI, but this promise often falls short of reality. Marketers attributing revenue to their activities within the past 30 days are likely providing inaccurate information to retain or gain business.

The Pitfalls of Overemphasis on Tracking

The advent of technology has misled many into believing that tracking should be the primary focus in every marketing channel. This pressure often forces marketers to eliminate channels that cannot directly attribute revenue. However, consider the social media posts and articles that have influenced you to engage with a brand. Not all interactions lead to immediate revenue attribution. Cutting budgets for awareness-raising channels can be counterproductive, as these are often where meaningful connections with consumers are established.

Channels such as video and social media have a vital role in assisting conversions and growing brands and revenue. So, why question the value of awareness-raising channels in the digital landscape?

What Marketers Should Do

Drawing from my experience as a swimmer, I've learned the value of a holistic approach. Relying solely on one aspect of your strategy, like arms in swimming, can lead to quick exhaustion and limited success. Instead, focus on developing a comprehensive strategy that includes various elements, creating a current that propels your brand forward.

To future-proof your marketing efforts, consider these steps:

1. Refresh Your Brand:

- Conduct surveys to gauge public perception of your brand compared to competitors.

- Evaluate your brand's visual elements (colors, fonts, etc.) and make necessary adjustments.

- Realign your competitors with current market trends and consumer behavior.

- Document and communicate changes within your organization for transparency and alignment.

2. Invest in Awareness:

- Lay the groundwork for measurable goals and KPIs across all marketing efforts.

- Educate executives and colleagues on the importance of top-of-funnel efforts for long-term brand trust and loyalty.

- Prioritize building a compelling and attractive brand and brand story.

Remember these key principles:

- Establish a marketing plan with a unifying vision or BIG IDEA.

- Engage customers early in their buying journey with a strong, branded approach.

- Aim to capture customers, captivate them, and build trust.

- Report the right KPIs for the right actions and educate peers on measurement intentions.

- Don't base decisions solely on measurable data; leverage your internal capabilities for a competitive advantage.

In 2022 and beyond, it's time to shift away from short-term, pay-to-play tactics and focus on building a brand that resonates with your audience. With the right strategy and a holistic approach, your marketing efforts will flow more smoothly, yielding sustainable results and lasting success.

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