Campaign attribution is a key challenge for marketers. Today, we all need to justify our investments. But this is nothing new. Ad icon David Ogilvy said in the 1980s that “the general advertisers and their agencies know almost nothing for sure because they cannot measure the results of their advertising”.

Since the 1980s, the emergence of digital media and technology has provided marketers with a wider set of outlets and data points. However, this has led to much campaign measurement (or ROI) being based on first touch / last touch attribution models.

- First touch - being the initial point we can associate a marketing activity to a prospect (or lead)

- Last touch - being the final marketing touchpoint before conversion / purchase

This is the easiest way to run campaign attribution, as there is no need for complex systems, modelling and data analysts. However, this doesn't show the true picture when the majority of purchases happen offline and most research on B2B purchasing shows:

- Multiple buyers - IDG states on average 15.5 people are involved in the buying process

- Multiple touchpoints - before prospects identify themselves. CEB reports more than 50% of the process will occur before they want to engage with the supplier.

So understanding who is involved to make up a buying team, and what actions they have taken, is not a simple process. But with eMarketer reporting that:

1) Cross-channel measurement and attribution expected to take up more time than any other tactic

2) The percentage of companies using multi-channel attribution models will continue to grow

There is hope for the future.