I once heard a Paid Search Marketing Manager say, “Dude, I really hope my CPAs are below $XYZ, or else I’m screwed.” I cringed.

There’s a constant in marketing (and in business): winning organizations have a diverse yet aggressive portfolio of both established and emerging marketing channels and technology. Attribution plays a key role in managing a successful portfolio.

We live in a multi-channel/multi-device world. Costs fluctuate on everything: paid search, display ads, retargeting, content marketing, media buys, events, marketing infrastructure, emails, and every other marketing lever. All of these cost fluctuations are data points in a complex data set of market conditions and campaign configurations. Yet each data point has a unique effect on each individual buyer’s journey.

Recently, AdRoll gathered gathered feedback from 1,000 US marketers and found that most companies favor basic attribution models such as first or last click:

So, of all the marketers who actually embrace attribution modeling, more than half use over-simplified models that devalue synergy between marketing and sales teams! (I should add here that if your company’s product is a low-cost, impulse-buy type of purchase, then first/last click attribution may be appropriate.)

A recent Comscore study revealed that advertisers who only track clicks will miss more than 90% of category site visitors who were exposed to ads but didn’t convert at that time. AdRoll is a retargeting company at its core. We believe that omni-channel, omni-device, relationship marketing is the best way to maximize vendor and customer lifetime value.

To show you what I mean, if we overlay a basic attribution model over AdRoll’s customer journey, it looks something like this:

As you can see, if we only emphasize a single point of attribution, we grossly oversimplify the customer journey. Another ugly sideffect of employing an arbitrary attribution model is the unnecessary channel conflict between otherwise harmonious teammates. Share the credit and everybody wins.

The right attribution model connects the dots between sales and marketing and provides insight into which activities translate into revenue. Through transparency and proper measurement, all channels can play a role–and the sum of parts is greater than the whole. It’s time to reclaim the term “attribution” as a catalyst for achieving truly great data-driven marketing!

To find out how others are evolving their approach to campaign measurement and attribution, register for our upcoming webinar, “Attribution Modeling for Data-Driven Marketers.”