Ops Cast | Is Attribution ruining Marketing? with Carey Picklesimer

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome to another episode of OpsCast brought to you by the MO Pros now powered by marketingops.com. I am solo today, co hosting this show without Naomi and Mike. We will get them back in another time, but I’m I’m lucky enough today to talk, be talking with Carrie Picklesimer and we’re gonna try and determine if attribution reporting as ruining marketing, right question that probably many of us have.

Learn Practical, Tactical Attribution from Carey at Marketingops.com: https://marketingops.com/product/practical-tactical-attribution/

Carrie is the owner of our own independent marketing technology consultancy called Kurio marketing and design carry has worked both inhouse and in consultancy, including a stint with Perkuto her in-house. In house roles, included roles in marketing operations, general marketing and leadership, and a little bit of sales sprinkled in there.

She is also passionate about supporting military veterans as they transition into the civilian world with complex physical, emotional, and brain injuries, and recently launched core strength and nonprofit dedicated to supporting that community. Carrie, thanks for joining us.

Carey Picklesimer: thanks so much for having me, Mike, I appreciate this.[00:01:00]

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. Before we get started in the Marketing Ops topic and you and I were talking about this before we started recording, but, thanks for I, as you, I told you, I have a deep appreciation for what that military has done for us, but so thank you for that, but what was the trigger for you? What led to you starting that organization?

Carey Picklesimer: sure. So my husband is a 26 year veteran of the Navy. And he did, tours to the middle east, specifically Afghanistan. And about six months from his retirement, he was in a major motorcycle accident on the way home from work. And so through the process of his physical recovery and brain injury recovery.

It was really challenging. There’s a lot of moving parts. You feel like you’re, there’s lots of people willing to help you, but you can’t always find them. And what it seemed like is we were really lucky to have everything we needed. We, I had a flexible job. Our kids were a little bit older.

We were more advanced in our careers. So it felt like we had everything going for us. And it was still really hard. And as we kept going through that process, I kept thinking there’s gotta be a better way. There’s gotta be a better way. And so it’s really because [00:02:00] I was a consultant, I’m a graphic designer, all of these things that I started to think could we look at this problem from a different angle?

And instead of trying to solve it solely with medical or, adding on social work, what could we do to look at it almost. Strangely enough from like a marketing operations perspective, how do we pull all the information we need to in a centralized place? How do we get the people talking to each other that need to be talking to each other?

And so that’s basically what I’ve been working on. I started at about four months ago. There’s a lot more to come. But that’s been the impetus, but it’s been, it’s like I said, I think I mentioned it’s a lot of work, but it’s work. That’s incredibly fulfilling and I really enjoy it. So thanks for giving me the chance to talk about it, cause pretty excited and proud of it.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. Good. I, I think it’s something that is. Sorely needed here is that kind of support. And it, I think you’re right from my experience, the many in the military, they know how to get an arm, a broken arm fixed, but not a lot when it comes to some of the deeper things with like brain injuries and whatnot.

So thanks for that. All right. So let’s. Let’s get right into it. [00:03:00] Is attribution ruining marketing? Let’s right. That’s

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, let’s just hit it out of the right now, like big question.

Michael Hartmann: So high level, like what is that like? Cause I think this is what you and I talked about, you said you threw that out there.

And so do you think the attribution, maybe you start with this attribution reporting, attribution modeling had been a net positive or negative for marketers.

Carey Picklesimer: I think it would be a net positive, but if you broke it down and you check the whole marketing perspective, what are we doing for revenue? What’s going on in operations? What’s going on with the talent pool? How much money is being spent on technology that is maybe being used well or not? I think it’s a net positive, but I would not say it’s a resounding net positive.

I would say we’re like 55% good. 45%. Maybe it’s not. So

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. It’s interesting. Cause I’ve, I, I know my own sort of. Journey is not the right word, but my exper, like with, I was really excited about the idea of attribution reporting and the idea of trying to identify what what was effective from a marketing standpoint. It [00:04:00] meeting key objectives for the organization.

What I’ve since. And so I was a big advocate for it for a long time and have even developed custom modeling for it. What I have gotten to the point is a, I think it’s missing CPOs. It requires an extraordinary amount of discipline and agreement across an organization to make it. Truly like where you could feel like you have any chance of getting something helpful out of it.

And then ultimately, especially in sort of complex B2B with long sales cycles, I think it’s the perception outside of marketing and Marketing Ops, particularly like it’s eye rolling.

Carey Picklesimer: It’s almost become like a key term ABM. Like we know that’s good and there’s great, but like we’re tired of the term. It’s almost like overused. We’re tired of talking about it.

Michael Hartmann: So one of the things we talked about is does that, so what I just described from my own perspective and I do I’m with you. I think there’s still some benefits to it. If it’s used in a way that makes sense and communicated. Certain [00:05:00] audiences and not others, is like at the end of the day, was there a big, is there, is, was there, is there still a gap between the promise of attribution versus the reality of attribution?

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah. I think what’s interesting about it is if you like short, we’re not. Take this podcast and go through the history of marketing, but marketing has always been a blend of art and science. And I think that what’s going on is that we’ve had this desire. Once we started having all these technology, all the technology available to us, once people started clicking emails and then we had tracking and everything that’s happened really over the last 25 years is just.

Increased exponentially each year. And so what happened was, 10, 15 years ago, we really got the chance to expand the science part of marketing. So no more, is it just about being creative? In fact, there was even like a push, don’t call marketing the arts and crafts department, that kind of stuff, which is, I understand

Yeah. They’re pretty picture like they’re just in there making pictures. They’re just sitting in there putting ads. And so we had this desire to put more of a quantifiable measurable part on it. What has happened is it’s almost and I [00:06:00] use this term, sometimes the phrase I’ll pull it out from something else.

think it’s actually like ancient Greek, and I’m not gonna say it in ancient Greek, cause I don’t know it, but there is a phrase the dose makes the poison. And what that is, like in the case of attribution, like some of it is fantastic. Too much of it is dangerous. And so what we’ve done is we’ve allowed the science to eclipse the art and in doing so we’ve lost the purpose of marketing.

That the purpose is really to understand our audience, to understand our company’s role in solving our audience’s needs. How do we convey that in an entertaining and memorable way? So I think that is the interesting part of it is it’s maybe made the science part of market. Too important and downplay the art part.

Michael Hartmann: I think I love that the dose makes the poison. I, you and I are both runners and I immediately went to when I. Marathons like peop and I’m not a fast marathoner. It never was.

Carey Picklesimer: Nor I.

Michael Hartmann: But what I remember is when it was, there was this, there was a, there were a lot more [00:07:00] people doing marathons, including people who were even slower than me.

And they were having lots of problems with people, not dehydrating, but the opposite, they were drinking too much water during a race and getting their like sodium levels outta whack. It was actually highly dangerous.

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah. And like water is like essential for life. And yet if we have too much of that essential part of it, we flood out parts that are also essential, but maybe in smaller amounts. And so I think that’s what happened with attribution is we stepped a little bit away from the creativity. valuing only the things that could be measured, not necessarily the things that were important.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. I remember. When attribution was still a relatively new concept and I was totally on board. And for me, it started when I really took on paid search at a company. And it, what really attracted me, it made me really excited about that was the ability to quickly see what was working. Which keywords work, which add copy, work, and all that.

And then adjusting quickly. And I, so attribution seemed like a natural evolution that when I [00:08:00] remember talking to a friend who was a CMO at a large more consumer facing company about it, and it’s are, what are you doing with that’s I don’t even pay attention.

It’s I like, I go with my gut more, which is, I think is, was still. prevalent there, but it still sticks with me that to your point, right? There’s this blend of art and science and I’m with you. There’s, if we go too far down the path of just focusing on the numbers, we’re I think we’re missing opportunities to insert creativity, to be different than somebody else that could have longer term impacts and things like that.

But I’m gonna have to steal that the dose makes the

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, I’ll try to find the credit for that because it is I heard it somewhere and then I was like, oh, I gotta look that up. That’s really interesting. And it is like back to it’s actually like it’s rooted in pharmacology really because, certain. Herbs and things are very helpful in small doses, but would kill you in larger

Michael Hartmann: Yeah.

Carey Picklesimer: So

Michael Hartmann: Oh gosh, like

Carey Picklesimer: yeah, now we’re off

Michael Hartmann: I could really,

Carey Picklesimer: something neither you or I are qualified

Michael Hartmann: I was gonna say I, I could go down a rabbit hole very quickly on this one. [00:09:00] Okay. Yeah, I think the short answer to my last question are like, is there a gap? There is a gap between

Carey Picklesimer: is a gap, actually. Yeah. Yeah. So it is that expectation of what it’s gonna do. And it’s usually the expectation at the top levels. Like what the people signing the checks for the technology want it to do versus what the people who will be using it need it to do

Michael Hartmann: Agreed. Okay. So if that there’s a gap, right? What do we think? Created the gap. Is it is it because technology vendors oversold? Is it because our expectations were not based on something that really understood? Is it simply like we just don’t have the right knowledge and expertise in the profession of say marketing ops I think is, tends to be involved with this more than any other, but yeah.

Is it, what do you think is driving that.

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, I think there’s three big things that drive the gap. And I really have thought about this long and hard when you asked me that question in advance and I thought what is it? It’s the first one I think is a lack of priorities. And that’s gonna sound strange to everybody in marketing ops, who is what do you mean a lack of [00:10:00] priorities?

You have so many priorities. You have so many tasks, you have so many requests, there’s all sorts of stuff. But the problem is when everything is, I. Nothing is important. So it’s not necessarily a lack of task. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that you don’t have clear priorities. You don’t have one to two max, probably three clear priorities for the quarter where you’re saying our goal for this quarter is to expand our back to base market.

Or we’re going to be expanding into a new region, or we’re gonna be launching a new project product. If you have too many priorities. It becomes, it’s easy to shift gears into being an order taker. And so if you do have that mismatch of expectations, it’s very hard to manage it. So if you are trying to fight all these fires and make sure that you’re getting everything done, that’s been assigned to you.

You stop having the time to critically think and ask questions. And when someone asks you to run a report on something that may or may not have value, you don’t necessarily have the time to stop and [00:11:00] assess if that’s the right thing to do. Furthermore, it becomes a lot harder to make the case to say no.

And so when you know what your priorities are, it’s easier to say no to the things you should be saying though, too, so that you can say yes to the important things. And so I think that lack of priorities is the first one. The second one. Plays into it a lot is a lack of confidence. And so again, this has nothing to do with specifically experience.

It could, for any person, we could all have a lack of confidence. Maybe you’re new in a job.

Michael Hartmann: So lack of confide confidence in the people who are being asked to do the kind of attribution reporting or in lack of confidence in the attribution reporting itself or both.

Carey Picklesimer: good question. I think when I originally thought the answer through this, I was thinking more in the confidence about the. Running the tools, but I think you do bring a point that we will talk about is lack of confidence in what comes out of the tools. But I think that the biggest thing is the lack of confidence in the marketing ops, people that are running the tools or responding to internal marketing requests.

Because if you don’t have [00:12:00] those clear priorities, , it’s hard to have the confidence to stand up and say, we’re gonna go down this path. We’re gonna do this type of reporting. And here’s why, so when you lack the priorities, you lack the confidence to stand up and say no. And so what happens is I see a lot of marketing ops people getting run over, almost thrown under the bus a lot of times with just so many things on their plate and they’re doing the best they can to get everything that’s been asked of them, but it’s not necessarily moving.

The whole organization forward and then

Michael Hartmann: could, so I’m gonna just drill down a little bit. So I. Our listeners probably get me tired, get tired of me beyond this soapbox, but I like, I’m a big believer that one of the best opportunities for marketing professionals to stand out and get more recognition about what they can do and be seen as strategic is they have, we have access to all this data, but I think a lot of folks don’t really have the training or experience on how to actually do that and how to not only to do the analysis, but then how to communicate it.

And I think that’s a [00:13:00] gap that we really need to fill in this, in the profess. Personally as you.

Carey Picklesimer: spot on because also like when you, when somebody asks you to run a report and you send them a spreadsheet, It may or may not provide any value, but the key is can you, as the marketing ops person who ran the report, look at that data and then tell the story of what the data’s saying. So what it’s like going back to your boss and saying, so what we see from this report is, bang is.

Performing far better than we thought it would compared to Google. Why don’t we move some money over in that direction? Or, we’ve noticed that because we’re sending so many emails, we’re having a drop of engagement. Why don’t we change the cadence and actually reduce the number of emails we send so that we get a higher engagement rate.

It is a matter of becoming confident with the data you’re presenting so that you can really build the story around it. And the story isn’t necessarily to. None of it’s a, it’s not a fictional story. But it’s about making it, easily accessible. I always say you should be building for, you’re not building a report to impress someone.

You’re [00:14:00] building a report to give someone an insight.

Michael Hartmann: Or to convince them to take, to do something. No, and I think we the thing that hit me when you said is you’re asked for that report. And it, when you’re in reaction mode that all you’re trying to do is get that. If you don’t have the priorities, like you’re just trying to check the box.

Oh, done. I got the report and I sent it.

Carey Picklesimer: Did I look at it before I sent

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. Does it, yeah. So if you’re not taking the time to look at it is there something that doesn’t look right or looks odd or looks unusual or interesting? I think if you could at least even flag that you’re like ahead of 80% of the people out there.

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, it’s also good. If you have a person in your organization I think we’ve all had a coworker that’s like super good at finding these can look at something and almost find out what’s wrong with it right away. I always try to say prevet your report. Send it to someone who’s not as familiar.

What are they gonna get from it? Are they gonna look at it and be like, Hey, red flag. Why is this number negative? When it’s always positive? You want someone to call that out before you put it up to your.[00:15:00]

Michael Hartmann: Yep.

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Michael Hartmann: All right. So I interrupted

Carey Picklesimer: one more. I

Michael Hartmann: one more. I thought so. Okay.

Carey Picklesimer: Yes. I think the other, the last one, and this is the one that I think that’s caused a lot of the talent retention and, finding issues is the lack of support.

So what I’ve seen happen a lot is that you have marketing operations, people who are very strategic, very smart, they recognize their underwater with the amount of tasks and tools that they’re managing. and yet when they convey that to a person who might be able to help make a change, there’s not a lot of support given, or there’s a lot of oh, just do it this once.

Or, I think it comes back. And so it’s hard to have the confidence to make strategic decisions. If you feel like a decision you make might be unpopular with somebody and you won’t have their back and they won’t have your back. And so that would be like, a hope that senior leadership who might be listening or who are involved in these things is to start like building that trusted relationship with your ops people so that you can have that give and take.

And I, if you can [00:16:00] support each other, it becomes a lot easier for both of you to Excel.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, I like that. How much? So this is not something we talked about. So how much do you think So I think there’s a number of people who are probably under resourced, whether they’re a team of one or even a team of 10. But how important do you think it is to have an external network of peers and people experts like through Melrose community or others, to help you with that?

Carey Picklesimer: I would say it’s critical. I don’t know any marketing person, straight up marketing demand. Gen ops, who. Can answer all the questions on their own. If you just think about the technological landscape, all of us are dealing with I think each company’s tech stack is almost like a thumbprint these days.

Like every one of them’s different, so there’s no way any of us can become an expert in all of them. So I think it’s really important to have a trusted group of people. And that could be, I’ve found like former coworkers that you stay in touch. I [00:17:00] think, the marketing ops community on slack is phenomenal.

Your spouses, your friends you’ll have to tell them so many things to just make them understand what you’re saying. So they’re generally not as helpful, but somebody who’s worked in the industry where you can you really do have to bounce the ideas off someone, or even just say gimme a gut check.

This is what I think we should. when I tell it to you, what do you think? And have someone that will provide that like honest feedback and someone who’s not afraid to say I think you might be wrong on this one. Maybe consider this path.

Michael Hartmann: No, I like that. Okay. So sorry.

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, no, it’s important.

Michael Hartmann: yeah, I think that’s good. Okay. So I think given where we’re at, then there’s this, there seems to be this question like is attribution even the right thing to be focused on and, here terms like, should we just, sort the baby out with the bath water and get back to the basics of marketing.

So I think you alluded to, it was a little bit more of the art part of it. What do you like, do you think, what do you think the right answer is there? Should we not do attribution reporting? Should. Go all in. Should we think, is there something [00:18:00] in between.

Carey Picklesimer: It probably is an in between answer, but I think if you think about it, we really need to go back to the why. Why did we want this tool in the first place? It was developed because there was fill, it was filling a gap. And so if you really think, and let’s imagine today, Every, all the marketing ops people just say, oh, you know what the heck with it?

We’re not doing attribution. We’re just gonna use the built in metrics we get from our marketing automation, from our CRM, from our website. What you really lack when you do that. So you can get email reports that tell you engagement. You can get page views, returning visitors, time on site, which pages there’s a ton of information that comes.

Google and Adobe analytics, there’s a ton of stuff that you can get from your CRM. The issue that Mar that attribution software really does solve is that it attempts to apply quality to the activities that you’re doing by assign by, by pulling in revenue. So the gap that we didn’t have 10 years ago was we could look and we could.

We had this many leads that came from social media. We had this many [00:19:00] leads that came from paid search, and we could get all of those numbers, but we couldn’t necessarily gather easily. Did those people go on to be number one opportunities, number two, customers, and number three did they have a good light?

Did they have a good lifetime value? What if we get all the right customers, but over a year, there’s churn and we’re right back to where we started. I think that is the key to remember why did we want this in the first place? And then start to use it for why we wanted that no one came to no one built an attribution tool thinking I’m gonna build a tool that proves marketing’s doing awesome.

Michael Hartmann: I think there were some people that tried to do that.

Carey Picklesimer: Maybe that’s my least favorite term. When I work with companies, when somebody’s we’re really looking to prove marketing’s influence. my first order of business is usually to say I understand that’s what you want, but that we’re not gonna necessarily be able to be successful at that.

What you wanna do is remember that to me, what has happened is attribution [00:20:00] has morphed into a reporting tool and an executive reporting tool. And the reality is attribution tools are really technicians tools. They’re tactical they’re. They should be in the hands of the people making. Copy decisions and the people doing ad placements.

So I think that’s almost, I would say you can almost think of your attribution tool, almost like an AB tester that you should have very much, have an experimental mindset. The mix that we did for our ads in this quarter, This is what we started to see. And so next quarter, if we expand in trade shows and we draw back in paid search, let’s see how that impacts the quality of leads we get and all of that stuff.

So I think that I would never throw attribution out, but I always wanna scale back what people expect it to do.

Michael Hartmann: So I do think there are places that have used. So first off for our audience, I was hitting her nodding the whole time she was talking, saying that because I think what I, what my own experience from what I’ve seen from other people is that there are [00:21:00] times where people have tried to use attribution reporting as a way to either.

In quotes, right? Prove marketing’s contribution or to, even to an extreme take credit for leads in pipeline and generation. And I think there’s ways to get to with upfront agreement between marketing and sales and other teams on getting to where marketing sourced. pipeline marketing source revenue can be a thing.

Again, requires a fair amount of discipline and agreement up front. What I think you and I are aligned on is that where I’ve gotten to with attribution reporting is yes, I agree. There’s some flaw. There’s all kinds of flaws in attribution reporting. If you’re trying to do those two things I just described.

And I think you do, I have seen it before, right? You get eyes rolling about it oh, Like this was a, sales closed this. So like marketing didn’t really do anything. And if you want, if you’re gonna get into that kind of battle you’re, the audience is wrong for it. I’m with you. I think there’s a place for attribution reporting to help with the [00:22:00] EF understanding the effectiveness of campaigns in a broad term or tactics or whatever, or the mix like you talked about, how we’re using our spend, but agreed. Maybe not quite tactical because I think it. You need enough time to look backwards, to figure out what it means going forward. But I think that’s the audience that should be using it is the marketing team should be using it. It shouldn’t be used to go to sales or sh to the executive team.

But I do think there’s some, if you do it well, you, you can learn some things from it and you can make better informed decisions.

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah it’s interesting. I bought a car a couple months ago from CarMax and I feel like anybody who knows me is probably tired of me. I do not get paid by CarMax at all, but I could be a spokesperson from them because I love working with them, but I figured out what kind of car I wanted to buy. I dealt with their website.

I spoke with them on the phone. They have a text messaging thing that will like, if you have a question, you can text message and anybody that will. They have an app where you can [00:23:00] search cars, save ’em compare ’em. I looked at a dealership that happened to be near where I was, that was like two hours from my house, the car I ultimately bought my brother-in-law in another city, went and looked at, and then they shipped it to my city.

So I look at that and I think that my purchase path was probably as complicated as everybody’s is, we go through these big decisions to make a purchase, especially when. You don’t wanna be, make any value for your money. So if CarMax, I always think what would I look like in their marketing automation and CRM system?

I’m all over the place. How would you decide which one of those interactions was the most valuable? All of them were valuable. And so I think that the other thing we have to remember is we have to have marketing in sales, like in an ideal world to. Every single person that purchases from a company would probably interact both with marketing and with sales because you’re

Michael Hartmann: add I would add [00:24:00] customer support in

Carey Picklesimer: support.

Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: It’s interesting. I think two things that brings to mind for me, one is I literally was just on a call where a conversation about like the traditional model of the funnel, I think is completely. a waste of time, right? It doesn’t really, it doesn’t match how people actually buy generally, I think both across consumer and business.

But the other it’s really interesting that you, what you just described to me immediately the word that came into my mind is it like all those interactions have an opportunity to either add or take away from trust between that brand, the buyer and the brand and. Those every one of those it’s, it is a lot harder to continue to build the trust,

Than it is to lose it.

So any one of those that is a bad experience will quickly erode trust faster than any one of those positive interactions.

Carey Picklesimer: It’s absolutely true. And I think that what jumped out at me about the whole process is

Michael Hartmann: awesome.

Carey Picklesimer: it appears that CarMax has [00:25:00] built that process built solely on the end user’s experience. And what I see a lot of businesses do meaning like CarMax, isn’t making me talk to the same salesperson every time I don’t just text one person.

I can do it when I need to, not the way CarMax needs me to. And so I think that mistakes that I see companies make is they start to put reporting or attribution or something ahead of the customer experience because they start thinking if. If we just let somebody get that content without gating it, we’re never gonna know who downloaded it.

And it is a bummer that you don’t get to know who downloaded it. Eh, if it’s out in the world and it’s helping build to your point, build trust with the brand and build that relationship, you have to have a little bit of faith that if you’re doing the right things by the customer, they’ll see that and come back to you as a company.

And it is a huge mistake for companies to try to build processes that can easily be measured if that detracts from the customer [00:26:00] experience in any way.

Michael Hartmann: Totally. I this is well, I, so you’re getting a couple of things again. I think one is, I think there is a place for, this is where I think you go beyond attribution report. You get into you dig into I’ll translate it to the B2B world, right? If you got a big deal that you won or lost, if you were track.

The those touchpoints along the way you could look back and see, is there a story there that tells why we won or lost? And it’s not at the aggregate level. It’s a very specific one that to me, because I think our, we, our brands are wired as humans for storytelling. So if you can tell the story, that’s gonna stick way more than saying, 70% of our deals have this interaction.

Nobody cares.

Carey Picklesimer: But you could look and say that 70% of the deals we closed involved using our chat feature and 90% of the deals we lost didn’t chat, then you start to go, oh, okay. Chat’s important. And that’s all we need to know. We don’t need to know how important, right? Like we just need to know let’s keep doing this [00:27:00] or let’s improve that part of the process.

Michael Hartmann: But yeah, so getting to that insight. So I think that’s a there was something else I was gonna say, and now this escaped me. Oh so let’s get to, let’s go this way. Okay. So I think you and I are on the same page, right? Attribution’s probably been, there’s a gap between the expectations in reality.

There’s still a place for it. So assuming there is a place for it. How should people, if they’re either. Dealing with one that’s in place, a model or tools in place, or looking to add something into their mix, what’s how should they be thinking about incorporating attribution reporting into that?

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, I think it comes back to, should we throw it out, going it back into the why. The other question. I always ask people both when they’re like venturing out into the world of attribution. And when we’re in the part of implementing, like how do we decide which channels, how to track, which models to use is I ask what actions are you gonna take with the information that you find.

and I think that’s a really

Michael Hartmann: so [00:28:00] that is so key.

Carey Picklesimer: yeah. It’s like an often overlooked part of it strangely enough, because what happens is a lot of times people come into it like we have a QBR and we have to make sure we have all this reporting and we pass it up. And then that, if that data literally just does nothing, but fill a slide on a PowerPoint or a Google slide you, you’ve not really gained any value from attribution, but if you go back and you look and you. we did a lot more paid search and we got a lot of names, but what we can tell is a lot of those deals didn’t close. You can look and say what do we need to change in our paid search? Did we do the targeting incorrectly? Was the messaging incorrect? That’s where it really comes back down to the basics.

I think you gotta look, your audience, you gotta know your, what your company value proposition is. I don’t think I’ve heard a marketing talk person talk about value proposition. And ages, and yet it is really the most important thing to a buyer. So your attribution data should be helping you make better decisions.

And [00:29:00] to your point, I do think, especially in B2B, we’ve got lots of people. We’ve got longer sales cycles. So there is a little bit of patience. So like tests that you run today, money you’re spending today on advertising. You may not see any pipeline or revenue for nine months, so you have to have that kind of process in place.

But then you start to build this over time. Like by constantly like developing a cadence of reviewing the data. Trying to understand the story, trying to say what does this story indicate should be my next move, deciding, and then reviewing, like I did this, what action did I take? What new data did I get?

And should I make that same decision next quarter?

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. Yeah. I think I think one of the things you brought up made me think on the B2B side, like how many websites I’ve gone to and like just marketing technology websites. So I go I do not understand what your product does,

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah. A lot. If it’s got cloud digital [00:30:00] transformation. Some of the times, it’s like watching a Silicon valley, the cloud for your cloud.

Michael Hartmann: So I like that whole idea of being really clear about what you offer. And I don’t know if it’s because people are trying to be clever or it’s, content by committee or what, but it there are some really awful examples of content. It’s just not clear. If you. someone who doesn’t know what you do, at least not at a deep level, if you can’t go there and they’re reasonably connected to it, like if they can tell within the first few seconds what it is, you do you lost your chance.

Carey Picklesimer: It’s

Michael Hartmann: I think that’s the basics. So I’m wondering if, cause kind of the examples you walk through. I almost feel like you don’t even need attribution modeling. To do some of that basics.

So is there would it make sense if say someone came to you and said, Hey, we wanna do attribution reporting and this, we wanna do it because we wanna see, what ads are converting and people are actually generat becoming leads.

Do you think they need [00:31:00] attribution reporting or could they do it in a different way before they go down the path of attribution reporting?

Carey Picklesimer: Yeah, I think it’s a, I was really lucky to talk to a potential customer this week. Who’s not doing attribution. But they’ve just set up their marketing automation tool. And so they wanna be thinking, what should I be thinking about next year? And I do think that. That marketing attribution reporting really has a hierarchy.

And you should, you really, you can’t step skip steps. And so the first thing you really need to have is a really good lead source project, so we really wanna look at first touch and that’s something you absolutely don’t need attribution for. So that’s how you can just look at your engagement.

You can look at where people are coming from. Then you need some way to be tracking like kind of the most recent touch. So that’s your last touch. So you’re constantly tracking that and. That involves both your marketing automation. And then, how do you apply that when you build out opportunities?

I worked in a B2B software organization for eight years as director of marketing. And we did not have any marketing attribution tools, and we still did a lot of [00:32:00] reporting on what deals came from, what lead sources, so that we could make the understanding. And what’s interesting is a lot of time trade shows.

even though they’re really expensive, they tend to interact with the big deals. And so it was BEC it becomes you have enough data to make the story it’s not perfect. I, I use the example sometimes of like, when you are driving down the road and Google maps. Says, take a, it doesn’t say take an 87 degree, turn travel for, 17,072 feet and then make a left at, it doesn’t, you don’t need that.

You’re not traveling like the space shuttle, you’re you just need to know go. Okay. I can see the road. I’m gonna go. And that’s what the attribution tools need to do. Actually recommend people. Don’t add an attribution tool until they feel really comfortable doing first touch reporting and they have all of that and they have the whole organization bought in on what are the channels that we measure?

How are [00:33:00] teams divided? What budgets do we have then you build, and then you get to attribution because I don’t wanna throw attribution out. I do. Like I’m. I consult on visible. I’ve consulted on other tools as well. I still think it’s really important, but most of the time I’m trying to teach people more of the basic concepts that the marketing ops people, a lot of times get it.

It’s how do you train that organization wide so that your sales leaders know it and your finance leaders know it so that they don’t start asking for stuff that doesn’t make sense.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. I think there’s probably some sort of sports analogy here too. Like you have to teach and practice the fundamentals to the point where this is where I get to that discipline. That discipline of all the stuff you’re talking about, like capturing the stuff on a consistent basis and minimizing the places where you don’t capture a source.

And it almost every place has that. But that to me, is that what I think about too? If you can’t get that right, then putting a tool on it. you well, [00:34:00] we’ll have the promise of giving you some sort of insight into all the touches is gonna fail most likely.

Carey Picklesimer: But fail faster if you’re doing it faster. That’s what I always say.

Michael Hartmann: yeah.

Carey Picklesimer: Depending how fast you’re going. You’ll fail really fast with

Michael Hartmann: You’ll get bad information faster.

Carey Picklesimer: you. Yes. Yeah, exactly. And nobody wants bad information faster.

Michael Hartmann: It’s in the example I use. Early in my career, I did consulting where we were doing selecting and implementing accounting systems. And we would, it was always interesting when we would help with the selection of platforms that, they’d all wanna talk about all this fancy reporting they could do.

And I kept advising clients like if they can’t do G AP AR right every day, all the time, then the reporting doesn’t mean anything. And in fact, it’s probably dangerous.

Carey Picklesimer: Very dangerous.

Michael Hartmann: Awesome. So this is really good. I think it’s interesting. Okay. So I think we’ve talked through a whole bunch of stuff.

What any did, is there anything that we didn’t cover that you wanna make sure that you are listeners can come away with [00:35:00] is another nugget.

Carey Picklesimer: Another nugget. I think one of the things that we’re all struggling with is marketing operations is like, how do we define our role? We’ve got people that come into operations from all different types of things. And I think that attribution like automation and all of these other tools that we’re all dealing with all the time.

There’s this question. Are we marketing people? Are we more operations people? Do we, are we it, whatever it might be. I think that at the heart of what you’re doing always needs to be kept this idea that we’re all marketers. So you need to look at attribution through a marketer’s eyes and that’s where you wanna keep focused to what you just said.

You need to nail the basics. If you don’t know your. And you’re putting out ads. You might be tracking to a T everybody who’s interacting with them, but if the messaging isn’t right, or you’re not in the right, if you’ve got the wrong audience, it doesn’t matter how good your reports are.

You’ve missed the fundamental of what you need to do as a marketer. And and then the last thing is [00:36:00] that’s like the broad picture is there is one metric that matters to all of us. It cannot be disputed and it is all about revenue. So doesn’t matter what you slice it and dice it up, what models you use at the end of the day, we all need to be focused on how is what I’m doing, going to help the company generate revenue.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, I totally agree on that. And I go back to, at some point in my career, I can’t remember what it was. It was a company event. We were all given a book called what was it called? anyway, but there was this one book, it was like a Humu Machi style book. And it was like really pithy. And there was this one, just two open pages was one, one chapter.

And it basically, the title of that chapter was this is CU customer money. The point being like the assertion was like, everybody’s paycheck should have, this is customer money on it. And I used to keep a copy of that at my desk. For years and years, because it reminded me all the time that sort of, if you’re serving the customer right.

And I, and it got me away from, [00:37:00] and I totally get the the intent when people say internal customer, you’ll almost never hear me use that phrase. because I don’t think of those as customers. Customers are the ones who make our business possible because they’re giving us money to deliver something.

And I think that’s a really important point too, right? Is that revenue is revenue drives everything.

Carey Picklesimer: Yep. Yep. And I I like that. I’ve never really thought about it that way, but we spend customers money, like sure. We’re doing it wisely and providing value for that,

Michael Hartmann: yeah this has been a lot of fun, Carrie. Thank you so much for sharing. If people wanna keep up with you or with what you’re doing with your organization, how can they do that?

Carey Picklesimer: The easiest way is to find me on LinkedIn. I post a lot. I’m not really active on Twitter, but LinkedIn, and then I post this stuff and you can find me [email protected] So it is pleasure, Michael, I love chatting with you. And I think we could do a whole other one about sports analogies. Like we’ve been trying to talk about fitness, analogies, sports analogies.

I love it.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, definitely. I would be game for that. Good. And then thank you [00:38:00] for everyone. All our listeners out there and supporters continue to give us your feedback and rate and review and all that kind of good stuff. And if you’ve got ideas for other topics or guests, or want to be a guest, you just reach out to me or Mike Rizza or Naomi, Lou, and.

Get back to you until next time. Thanks everybody.

Carey Picklesimer: Sounds great. Bye Mike, take care.