October 11, 2014

Written by Kurt Anagnostopoulos

3 Reasons to Drop Your “Last-Click” Crutch

We’re all experienced marketers here, no?

So, no problem posing a couple of tough questions, right?

  1. Are you practicing attribution modeling for your digital campaigns?
  2. And if you are, are you still leaning on the Last-Click Crutch?

It’s OK to admit it, because it’s understandable. Not long ago, we had little choice but to rely on the last click. The data connecting each touch point along a customer’s path to purchase wasn’t available or reliable. Moreover, the tools for analyzing this type of information were neither sophisticated nor affordable.

Spending most of your marketing time and budget to determine whether or not marketing was working just didn’t add up. So, if the last marketing tactic in a campaign produced a sale, we gave it 100% of the credit – even though we all knew a mix of campaigns and as many as five touch points preceded that sale.

But leaning on the last click is no longer a crutch we can afford. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Every transaction today is faster — We live in an “instant oatmeal, microwave popcorn” world. During the past 20-30 years, consumer expectations for speed have become increasingly greater. Millennials in particular are unaccustomed to waiting for anything. They want instant gratification and demand nothing less. This expectation is fueled by the fact that they literally have the world in their pockets. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone. As a result, shopping can occur anywhere, anytime at the speed of a mobile browser.
  2. Every market is larger — Thanks to the internet, remaining a local-only business largely is a matter of choice. Today your customers can come from anywhere around the globe. The number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide is approaching 7 billion, according to research by McKinsey & Company. To put that into perspective, that is roughly equivalent to the total world population in 2014. In addition, nearly 3 billion people have internet access.
  3. Every store is more than a store — Up until the last decade, the basis of a retail transaction in a store was simple: customers walk in, see an item they’d like to purchase, hand over payment and walk out with the item. Of course, if they didn’t see something they wanted, or it wasn’t available in their preferred size, color, configuration, etc., they would walk out empty-handed. Internet shopping began to change that model. It opened up a larger world of inventory. If the item wasn’t in the store, the customer could check online and, if successful, have the item delivered. Then came “order online, pick up at the store.” Bottom line of this trend is: If you aren’t willing to manage inventory this way, customers will pull out their smartphones and find sellers who are.

These three reasons add up to a clear conclusion: Customers have the information, and the customer experience will determine who gets the sale. Marketers can’t afford to burn time and money guessing how to reach these customers. That’s our challenge today as marketers. Smart marketing dictates that we invest budget dollars where those funds will do the most good. And we need to act quickly and precisely.

So, one last question: How can you meet that challenge without practicing sophisticated attribution modeling?