DMA: Data and Marketing Association
Consumer Help

The Attribution Trap


As marketers become more data driven, a common challenge for marketers is finding analytical tools that work as expected. Another emerging theme is marketers who have embraced data but have fallen into the trap of optimizing not to the customer or strategy but to their attribution model.
To succeed, it is critical for analysts and DR marketers to work together to understand not only how to use analytical solutions, but also be aware of their limitations and appreciate when to and when not to use a particular measurement framework.

I will draw heavily from examples from my experience at Dermstore.com (a Target Corporation Subsidiary) as well as from my experience at the media agency Initiative (part of IPG) where I helped clients develop the right framework to measure and optimize their marketing campaigns. I will share examples of how we’ve educated the leadership on limitations of existing attribution methods and developed supplementary KPIs to triangulate marketing ROI. This allowed us to employ new strategies and tactics, resulting in a 20%+ yoy increase in media efficiency and improve LTV by 40%

Some examples include:

  1. The danger of solitary KPIs: How optimizing to a CPA model alone can be myopic by reducing incentive to get a customer with high LTV
  2. The lure of single bucket attribution: How single bucket attribution can lead to flawed strategy and incentive for gaming the system
  3. The advantages and limits of MTA: MTA promises to provide more sophisticated measurement but marketers need to have the right context around the numbers and familiarity with the limitations
  4. The benefit of thinking outside the attribution box: How we found out that we were leaving cheaper and more targeted TV inventory off the table as it did not feed the attribution model

Who's Talking

Richie Singh

Director, Analytics and Paid Media
Dermstore Beauty Group

Richie Singh has spent over a decade utilizing data to understand customer behavior and building econometric models to optimize media strategy and marketing outcomes. Richie was previously VP Analytics at the media agency Initiative (Part of IPG), where, as lead media mix modeler on the west coast and head of US SME group for Digital Multi Touch Attribution, he helped clients like Hyundai, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Best Western, Lifelock and Legalzoom measure and optimize their marketing investments. Most recently, he wears dual hats of leading marketing analytics and paid media teams (Programmatic, PPC, Paid Social, TV) at Dermstore.com (a Target Corporation Subsidiary). Richie feels he can bring a unique perspective that will help analytics practitioners and marketers make analytical tools more collaborative and utilize them more effectively to drive real world results. More about Richie here

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