Good morning: Asking the attribution question

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Good morning, Marketers, and is attribution going away?

I don’t suppose so, not literally, but something that has always been an immense challenge — not to say the focus of a lot of skepticism — is only getting harder. The variety and number of customer touchpoints, digital and physical (and hybrid: think connected out-of-home) is increasing exponentially.

“I spend some money on this channel, some money on that channel, and sales go up (or down). But why?” Of course, in recent years it’s been possible to get some kind of answer to that question by quietly following a user’s journey, from ad or landing page to conversion. That’s precisely the kind of invasion of privacy we’re all now supposed to disdain — and anyway, it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

Some are proposing replacing traditional attribution with a kind of always-on monitoring and optimizing campaign performance. It’s an intriguing approach, but I don’t think marketers will abandon traditional attribution until they’re forced to.

Kim Davis

Editorial Director

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About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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