Over 60% of Marketers Struggle To Attribute Marketing Activities To Revenue Outcomes: DemandLab Study Reveals


Although revenue attribution enhances marketing effectiveness, DemandLab finds marketers struggling with it.

New research from DemandLab, a customer experience consultancy, reveals that only 36% of marketers are utilizing attribution strategies that demonstrate marketing’s ROI. As marketing leaders face a landscape of shifting priorities, aligning marketing efforts with revenue is one of the most persistent challenges they face.

The study found that over one-third (36%) of marketing leaders report having an active and measurable strategy to prove marketing ROI using revenue attribution. Another 40% of those surveyed are in the planning, testing, and implementation stages of the marketing attribution process. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of marketing leaders are not prioritizing an attribution strategy.

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Nearly 60% of marketing leaders report that revenue attribution enhances their ability to make better decisions for their organization. Successful attribution bridges the gap between marketing and sales data. This results in a better alignment of the two functions, according to 44% of marketers in leadership roles. Attribution also enables 38% of marketers to execute more effective campaigns.

The study also revealed that an overwhelming majority (95%) of marketing leaders are seeing success from an implemented revenue attribution strategy. Nearly one-third (31%) describe this success as best-in-class.

However, marketers feel that claiming ownership of generated revenue comes with challenges. 43% of the marketing leaders polled reported that data quality issues and budgetary constraints (35%) are major barriers to the success of revenue attribution. Analyzing the impact of marketing efforts at different stages of the buyer journey is also a challenge faced by 34% of those in leadership roles.

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The ability to show which marketing campaigns and channels contribute to moving a customer toward making a purchase is integral to an effective attribution strategy. But marketing channels are inherently difficult to analyze. Social media marketing and content marketing are considered to be the most challenging to analyze according to 44% and 39% of marketing leaders, respectively.

Sharing data between marketing and sales results in a better customer experience and more aligned goal sets for both teams. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of marketing leaders agree that a successful revenue attribution strategy helps alleviate friction between marketing and sales teams.

Optimization and evaluation of underperforming resources will be critical for the 57% of marketing leaders who report that budgets dedicated to attribution will remain unchanged or decrease in the year ahead. A little more than one in ten marketing leaders (11%) say their revenue attribution budgets will increase significantly.

“The majority of marketers have invested in sophisticated marketing technology stacks, but many still struggle to consolidate the data and connect the dots across platforms,” said Eric Hollebone, chief services officer, DemandLab. “According to survey data, nearly one in four marketers has no current plans to tackle marketing attribution, and the top barrier to success is data quality.”

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

Identifying marketing’s contribution to the bottom line involves multiple entities within any organization. Beyond the marketing and sales teams, the executive team, customer service functions, and the finance department are also critical to executing a revenue attribution strategy.

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A majority of marketing leaders are recognizing the impact of revenue attribution and prioritizing an attribution strategy for the coming year. Yet, marketers will need support and resources to overcome barriers like data quality, budgets, and technology.

“This report confirms that the rapid advancement of tracking and analytic technologies has finally brought marketing attribution within reach,” said Rhoan Morgan, CEO and co-founder, DemandLab. “In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to have meaningful and trustworthy marketing attribution reporting. The vast majority of marketing leaders who have implemented an attribution strategy report that they are seeing measurable success, including increased marketing budgets and greater executive buy-in.”