A recent Google search for “marketing attribution” returned approximately 356,000,000 results. In the broadest sense, marketing attribution is a method to connect campaigns to ROI. But in the B2B marketing solution marketplace, the detailed definition typically elides the difference between campaign attribution metrics and funnel metrics.

Moreover, by rolling marketing metrics up into a bundle called “marketing attribution” without acknowledging that there are two parts — attribution metrics and funnel metrics — the marketplace has devalued funnel metrics. Why?

Possibly because building a system capable of delivering accurate funnel metrics is difficult – so few martech vendors do it. Yet, both are critical components of marketing attribution, so it’s worth taking a closer look at each to determine their individual use and ability to provide impactful marketing insights.

Campaign Attribution Metrics: The Key to Investment Efficiency

Campaign attribution metrics are what most vendors are referring to when they use the term “marketing attribution.” Attribution metrics are important because they account for marketing campaign impact on sales. Say a B2B customer watches a webinar or downloads a whitepaper, then they respond to a follow-up email from sales, schedule a demo, and ultimately buy the product. Marketing attribution is the process B2B marketers use to capture those touches and assign credit.

The amount of credit each touch receives will vary according to the marketing attribution model used. For example, if you apply a single-touch model and credit $100K in revenue to the first touch, marketing’s webinar or whitepaper content would get the credit. If you use a last-touch model, the sales email would get the credit. If you use a multitouch, even-spread model, marketing’s content and the sales email would split credit for the revenue.

Different attribution models provide insight on how well campaigns are performing in terms of the marketing strategy. Campaign attribution is critical in that it lets you analyze campaign effectiveness, identify winning campaigns and allocate marketing spend accordingly. In other words, marketing attribution metrics are the key to investment efficiency.

Funnel Metrics: The Key to Process Efficiency

Funnel metrics, the other component that falls under the marketing attribution umbrella, is distinct from attribution metrics. In the mid-2000s, the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall® first gave B2B organizations a new way to look at lead management. The latest version, the Forrester B2B Revenue WaterfallTM, is account-based marketing (ABM)-focused, reflecting ABM’s growing popularity.

The Waterfall method is useful for thinking about how leads flow from the top of the funnel through various stages to the bottom, where they emerge as closed/won business. Funnel metrics provide crucial insight about that journey that is expressed as volume, velocity, and conversion rates.

With funnel metrics, you can know how much marketing effort is needed to hit revenue targets. You can monitor the length of the sales cycle and measure marketing performance at each funnel stage. You can also use funnel metrics to align marketing and sales activities and solve hand-off problems between the two teams. In other words, funnel metrics are the key to process efficiency.

Increasing Efficiency with Both Sides of Marketing Attribution

So, next time you hear a vendor talking about marketing attribution, make sure they’re addressing both sides of the equation, campaign attribution metrics, and funnel metrics – instead of conflating the two. If you focus solely on one, you’re missing half of the efficiency benefit.

Marketing efficiency has never been more important. You need to know which campaigns are driving revenue, and you need to continuously improve processes to keep marketing performance at its peak. True marketing attribution that addresses both components ensures you’re investing in the right campaigns and optimizing processes at the same time, so don’t settle for less.

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