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Knowing which Marketing efforts are generating the most qualified opportunities is instrumental in determining which programs to continue and which to replace.  This is the idea behind the concepts of attribution and mix modelling

The purpose of these models is to identify invest which touch points and channel tactics are both more effective and more efficient at surfacing opportunities most likely to convert into customers. Some organizations may not be quite ready to take on model development.  We’ve been asked what are some simple ways to can identify the sources of opportunities. 

A Blast from the Past

We took a step back, a step back in time. A time before we had all of the data capabilities that exist today.  Back then, we still needed to know which channels and touch points were working and which ones we should discard.  For those of you wanting to embark on a simpler path to attribution you can apply a “tried and proven advertising techniques”  to your modern marketing channels and touch points.  This technique employs the concept of unique codes.  The premise of the concept is to assign a unique code to each touch and channel so every opportunity and ultimately each sales can be identified according to its original source.

Employ Attribution Coding Techniques

Employ Attribution Coding Techniques

Three ways to make every opportunity identifiable

The value of looking beyond the first or last click to develop your attribution model is that you gain insight into your customers full journey.  To be able to answer questions such as:

  • What channels facilitated initial discovery?
  • What content initiated engagement?
  • What touches next stage behavior?

If you’re in pursuit of answers to these types of questions  here are three methods to consider:

1. Use key codes. Key codes have been a mainstay technique in print advertising and direct mail. When you run multiple campaigns or using multiple communication vehicles, it can be hard to track responses. Same for the world of digital.  Here’s how to use it. Include a different key code in each of the response mechanisms. In this way you’ll be able to more easily track which vehicles are producing the best results. Your landing pages offers from your monthly newsletter email campaigns can have a code (page/offerxnews1) while another email  with the same offer would go to an identical page that has a  different code (page/offerxemail1).  These codes would appear in the hyperlink so when responses were generated, you could immediately determine the source of each lead. This same mechanism can be incorporated into the bounce-back mechanisms of direct mail, such as the order form or response card.

2. Use a unique 800-number or URL. It’s a good idea to acquire several toll-free numbers for use in different aspects of your marketing program. For example, you might track the results of a direct-response campaign by using a unique, memorable toll-free number — and use a different number to track the opportunities from a concurrent print or broadcast campaign. For larger campaigns, inbound call centers can provide reports showing the number of calls to each toll-free number, including the percentage and number of calls from every state and by time of day. Another way to track responses from offline campaigns is to provide unique URLs. By taking advantage of “”domain parking and pointing,”” you can have multiple versions of your domain name or different URLs that all point to a designated landing page on your Web site. For instance, respondents to an outdoor ad campaign might type in a simple URL that’s easy to remember, such as “”,”” and then be instantly forwarded to your primary site. Your Web logs would reveal the number of responses that came to each URL.

3. Use the ?. The last idea for measure responses to an individual ad or e-mail is to track visits to your Web pages by including a “”?”” after the URL, plus your code. For example, instead of using “”,”” your coded link might be “””” This will in no way alter the landing page, and it will show up in your log files. Another alternative would be to create multiple copies of your landing page – similar to idea 1–each with a different file name–then link from your e-mail solicitations or online ads to specific landing pages.

These three ideas taken from the time capsule might spark some other creative approach.  Let us know if you have some additional suggestions to share in the comments section.

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