When knowing your customer is key, there’s nothing more unsettling than not knowing whether the user you’re targeting is, in fact, the user you’re targeting.

Advertisers waste millions on multichannel marketing execution that doesn’t work. As cross-device media consumption evolves, linking spend to performance gets even more complicated. This week, DMA’s Identity Leadership Council took the Advertising Week stage for two workshops designed to clear up the confusing metrics and buzzwords behind identity and attribution. Here are just a few of the insights they shared:

Attribution: A Mix of Value, Art and Science

“Attribution is the holy grail of marketing,” said Gayatri Bhalla, VP of Advanced Media Solutions at InfoGroup. “It’s the reason we’re trying to figure out which channels to invest in, and which deliver the most return as we try to stretch our dollars.”

But Bhalla said that attribution is more than more tweaking your media mix, it’s about determining the fractional value of each channel and weighting your investment. She said this is a mix of both art and science. “A lot of it misses the art, which is the creative, and has to filter in,” she observed. “It is an enormous part of the conversion.”

Taking the First Step Past Last-Touch

Too many marketers are mired in last-touch attribution, and “it can be difficult to get beyond that,” according to Robert Edelman, Manager of Analytics and Data at IBM.

“You don’t have to start in a place where you need the most advanced multi-touch attribution system,” he said. “There are rules-based systems you can implement that will make it a little more informative.” Taking the first step to implement a new system is critical.

How to Find the Right Vendor

We’ve all gotten the pitches for the latest martech solutions, of which there are more than 5,300 in the marketplace. So how do you pick the right one?

“Someone who understands your business is critical,” said Ash Dhupar, Chief Analytics Officer at Publishers Clearing House. “Ask them the right questions on how the technology will affect your business and how it will be able to translate into a metric that is effective for you.”

It’s essential to get on the same page as a supplier. “People define thing inherently differently,” said Ajit Thupil Business Lead for the Oracle ID Graph at Oracle Data Cloud. “For cookies, how do they define what is an active cookie? Do you need multiple events to trigger that?” Thupil said that clearing up any potential misconceptions will strengthen the marketer-supplier relationship.

Want to view the full panels from Advertising Week?

Members of the Identity Leadership Council will also be on-site at &THEN (October 8-10 in New Orleans), leading discussions and answering your burning identity and attribution questions. On Monday, October 9th, executives from LiveRamp, 1-800-Flowers, FCB and Moxie will break down the balance between identity and privacy, and how identity can be an equal benefit for consumers and marketers. Also, Kyle Hollaway from Acxiom’s Identity Resolution will educate attendees on the core technical aspects of successful identity graphs.

Make sure you’re at &THEN and ready to own your identity and attribution strategy!