Modern marketing organizations operate as revenue centers, not cost centers. CEOs at top-performing companies utilize revenue attribution to understand which activities produce revenue bookings. Revenue attribution models give executives a clear line of sight from the corporate strategy through customer touch-points in the company’s product, marketing, and sales strategies. Download our SBI Magazine Special Issue: Revenue Attribution.
SBI interviewed Laura Goldberg, chief marketing officer at LegalZoom. The provider of online legal solutions for American families and small businesses has helped more than 3.6 million customers meet their legal needs. Laura is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as a Revenue-Generating CMO.
Goldberg’s perspective is highly relevant as a pioneer in making marketing scientific. With an undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Harvard, she has the foundation and experience to serve as an expert on this topic.
Campaigns are about capturing the attention of your target audience. Generating a return on marketing campaign dollars requires a clear objective, time line, budget, accurate lists, correct media mix, and compelling calls to action. Every market has a sweet spot. When focused directly on that sweet spot, campaigns and their budgets generate revenues. Campaigns that are not hyper-targeted do not.
Simplify Key Performance Indicators
Effective planning is the foundation of proving business value for your marketing campaigns. It starts with identifying key performance indicators at the campaign level.
How does Goldberg simplify key performance indicators at the campaign level? “It’s imperative to at least, at a high level, have two or three goals that are the Holy Grail for your company. For LegalZoom, we look at customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, and our net promoter score,” she says. “As we look at each campaign, we target a net margin and try and hit it. We may alter that net margin based on bigger goals but that’s what we try and do.”
Understand the Total Mix
This is where marketing revenue attribution has a role to play. CMOs need to be able to trace each dollar of revenue back to the marketing or sales activity that originally sourced, converted, nurtured, and moved the opportunity through to a closed win. Understanding all the sales and marketing activities that helped influence revenue booking at the deal level provides the insight required to prove business value.
Goldberg shares an example of how the total mix of marketing activities plays a role. “On television, we look at traffic and then conversion of that traffic,” she says. “It’s hard because everything inter-plays together. If I have a strong television campaign, then my SEM net margin is going to be better. You can set the KPIs but then you just have to be mindful about how your different levers affect each other.”
Marketing revenue attribution plays a key role in determining the right media mix. Goldberg describes how not all marketing dollars are equal, yet play a role that is not as simple as optimizing by lowest cost. How does she select channels? “I would say two reasons. The dollars that you spend and the ROIs that you look at for TV are very different than the ones online,” Goldberg says. “The other problem with TV is it’s harder to measure but we start with the big buckets because we know that our business products really get driven from television and our personal products from a lesser extent.
“That [television spots] enhances our online [media performance]. I’ll get a better ROI on a start of your business product like forming an LLC or a corporation when I have TV running. The two work together. It’s also just for us an easier way to budget.”
LegalZoom’s television campaign, which buys space on CNBC and ESPN during prime viewing hours, has a substantial budget for paid media. LegalZoom also invests in content marketing for earned media, requiring LegalZoom to hire attorneys who write content to make it as relevant as possible. Goldberg explains how revenue attribution plays a role when juggling between paid and earned.
“One of the hardest challenges facing marketers today is attribution,” she says. “What drives what? Everything is so inextricably linked and then people will search on a question, go to their mobile phone, see an ad, and log into their desktop. We are like everyone struggling with that. We use third-party software to help us key in sophisticated modeling to piece that out.”
Walk Through Customer Journeys
Goldberg described the creation of customer journeys that map out the various steps a prospect could walk through. This may start with seeing an ad, reading an article, watching a TV spot, and then buying a product. She looks at all the different ways that LegalZoom can close that loop and track folks. “Attribution is a huge challenge that we are constantly working on,” she says. Hear Goldberg’s interview about results-oriented campaign planning.
Would you like a hand with revenue attribution to make marketing more scientific? Plan a workshop with the SBI team of marketing experts in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion-dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the art, executive briefing center. The immersive sessions accelerate your adoption of revenue attribution and put you on the right path with a solution and implementation plan.