Capturing End-to-End User Journeys and Integrating Offline Sales Processes with Marketing Attribution

November 1, 2023
James Kinsley


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Attribution is one of the major challenges confronting marketers. This challenge intensifies when some of the customer interactions, and the final sale, occur “offline” (this may be literally offline, like on paper, or it may be in a CRM that is not linked to the website). Unlike entirely digital sales funnels like your typical ecom store, campaigns incorporating offline touchpoints pose distinctive challenges and complicate attribution.

Is Your Sales Funnel Too Complex to Capture?

If you take a look in your analytics and can see that a campaign drove 10 conversions, or enquiries, but you don’t have Revenue, ROI or even just Sales counts, you have a problem. The good news is most non-ecomm businesses have these same problems; fixing it is a huge opportunity to out-compete. And no, your funnel is almost never too complicated to capture.

You can see marketing activity A drove 100 enquiries, whilst activity B drove 10, but you may have made 0 sales from activity A’s leads and 8 sales from activity B’s leads. Without being able to link the sales funnel ‘offline’ to the activity online, this is missing from the picture and you’re flying completely blind. 100 enquiries could be draining your sales team’s time, yet you increase budgets because in your analytics it looks like the better performing campaign. 

There are many examples of user journeys involving offline sales processes. Below are just a few, where a large portion of the market is missing this link and the attribution that follows.

1. Recruitment

There are two main target audiences in recruitment - jobseekers and employers - and ultimately both convert offline. The sales funnel for both audiences can involve multiple touch points, both online and offline, from in-person interactions, to nurturing via telephone communication, to email engagement, website interactions, engagement on social platforms and so on. You may have had 50 job applications from a Facebook ad campaign for example, and all of them may have been low-quality that fell off before conversion - compared to another channel which delivered 10 applications, all of which were high quality, resulting in a number of placements. The challenge is identifying the close rate by channel, when the closure takes place offline.

It’s a similar challenge with employers. Although you may be driving conversions with a multi-channel digital strategy, the sale is closed offline (for example, the contract gets signed in a meeting, or an agreement is made following a successful telephone pitch). A lead generation campaign (such as a gated whitepaper) may have resulted in 50 leads from your spend on Facebook, and 50 from paid search, but when the prospect is converted into a client following an in-person pitch some months later, how do you distinguish between the quality of the leads driven by one channel versus the other?

2. Auto Sales

When it comes to vehicle sales, it’s usually a multi-touch user journey across multiple channels. Whether you’re using social media ads, paid search, display, or a combination of all of these to drive customers to the website to book a test drive or fill out an enquiry form, you also need to understand how the offline touch points within these customer journeys relate to the performance of each channel. Marketing attribution can help you do this - even with long sales cycles such as in auto sales, where a customer may initially respond to an ad, or even take a test drive, before returning to you months later when they’re ready to progress their purchase. 

3. Finance

Credit cards applications, mortgages, personal loans; they’re all complex processes. For example, a potential borrower might first encounter an advertisement on social media or a paid search result which directs them to a landing page. From there, they might fill out an online form to receive more information or get a preliminary quote. However, there are many other stages of the conversion process, like document verification, face-to-face discussions about loan terms, credit checks and signing the final loan agreement, which largely occur offline.

All of this is valuable data to incorporate into analytics. A certain campaign might be driving a lot of interested applicants, however there could be a 90% fail rate on the credit checks. Rejection reasons should be brought into the picture so campaigns can be optimized.

Attribution Basics

Marketing attribution uses a flexible form of data analytics that analyzes each step of a customer’s journey, up to the point of sale, in order to assign value to different touchpoints on that journey. Its goal is to help marketers understand how different activities are contributing to sales. 

There are lots of different marketing attribution models, which can be grouped into two categories; single-touch (such as Last Touch) or multi-touch (such as Time Decay). Learn how to choose the right one here.

Revenue attribution is capturing the revenue at the end of the sale and attributing that to the journeys which led to the conversion that ultimately drove the revenue.

Why Attribution Matters

1. Comparing channel performance and optimizing budget allocation

Marketing attribution is instrumental in evaluating the performance of different marketing channels and activities. It enables you to discern which are driving the most conversions and revenue. You can then allocate resources more effectively and invest in what delivers the highest return on investment (ROI). This data-driven approach empowers you to make informed decisions about where to focus and scale-up your marketing efforts.

2. Scaling your campaigns

Successful marketing often hinges on scalability. As you expand your campaigns to reach a broader audience, it’s essential to understand which elements are driving growth and which need adjustment. Marketing attribution helps identify scalable strategies by highlighting the most effective touchpoints. This knowledge allows you to replicate successful approaches and adapt your campaigns for different segments or markets, facilitating sustainable growth.

3. Securing more budget

In almost any business, the marketing budget isn’t unlimited - and in fiercely competitive spaces like recruitment and ecommerce, firms are doing all they can to streamline processes and reduce inefficient areas of spending. Marketing often comes under the spotlight because without proper attribution, it can be difficult proving that activity X resulted in sales Y - but once you have a functioning attribution process in place, it becomes easier to lock in your budget for the year ahead. The business can see which activities are driving conversions, and holding onto your budget - or increasing it - should be less of a battle.

How a Yacht Hire Company Scaled Rapidly With Online-Offline Integration 

Ucruise is a tourism business, offering cruise experiences around Sydney Harbour. Having invested in many marketing activities, from social media marketing to email marketing, Google display and search ads, and even developing partnerships with other companies in the industry, Ucruise has grown to become one of the top Sydney Harbour cruise experience providers for both tourists and locals. 

Ucruise have always been attentive to their performance reports, however the one thing missing was connecting their Marketing and Sales departments - a common problem for many B2B companies. There was no revenue data in analytics, and performance measurement was guess work.

The Ucruise sales team work with an online sales dashboard which allows them to respond to the enquiries via email or through phone calls. The problem they faced was the offline and online integration that they needed for the sales people making phone calls directly with the customers. Ucruise had no way to link sales data up to their marketing activity to understand what was working best. They could measure what channels and marketing activities were driving enquiries, but that's where the data ended. How do you attribute phone call revenue with the digital ads you’re running? The best they could do is understand how many enquiries they’ve received from their Pay-Per-Click campaigns vs. their organic channels, but this gave a very limited picture - and it was difficult to make any informed decisions from the basic data available.

ROI (Return on Investment) and ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) were key metrics that were big question marks; without them they weren't able to increase efficiencies in their marketing. More importantly however, it was impossible to commit to scaling spend without knowing for sure it was paying off. Ucruise also understood that some marketing channels, while they may not be the last touch for closing a sale, could still be playing a vital part in generating initial interest.

Following an initial audit on Ucruise’s internal operations, the next step was to sync the CRM and the sales process data with Incendium using simple API calls. This allowed the lead status of specific customers to be passed back to the analytics, as well as the revenue of closed sales:

[Example data demonstrating the sales funnel analysis report]

Combined with Incendium's multi-touch attribution capabilities, this allowed us to understand which channels and which marketing activities were generating the most cost-effective sales - and if they were helping provide value at other points in the customer journey. Attribution data coupled with the sales revenue by channel provided direction on a data-driven redistribution of budget to maximize ROI/ROAS.

[Example data demonstrating channel attribution]

Following the adjustments, Ucruise achieved a 48% increase in ROAS over the next six months. Marketing attribution using Incendium’s capabilities provided Ucruise with clear visibility on the effectiveness of their marketing channels and campaigns in terms of sales, but also in terms of value metrics towards assisting sales.

Incendium’s marketing attribution continues to deliver - Ucruise’s revenue has increased by 98% in just 12 months. Learn more here.

“Incendium has given us the deep insights we need to fully understand where our marketing spend is most effective for sales and ROAS. We've increased our lead and sales volumes without the need to increase our budgets.‍



Wrapping Up

As you can see, marketing attribution is a vital strategy that enables businesses to bridge the gap between marketing efforts and sales outcomes, even when parts of the funnel are offline.

By embracing marketing attribution models and tactics to link up non-digital interactions to your campaigns, you can gain valuable insights into channel performance, optimize budget allocation and scale up your efforts in the right areas. The success story of Ucruise demonstrates how marketing attribution, powered by the Incendium platform’s capabilities, can lead to substantial growth in revenue and ROI. Ultimately, a data-driven approach to understanding the impact of marketing activities is essential for any business that wants to compete effectively and maximize its ROI throughout the funnel.

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