Dealtale improves attribution, brings revenue science to marketers - but what about the 'dark funnel'?

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher June 29, 2023
Summary:
Revenue science for the revenue-driven marketer...

science

Marketers understand the challenge of measuring the performance of their campaigns and individual assets, especially when dealing with top-of-the-funnel (TOF). But attribution doesn’t have to be complicated, and putting a value on those TOF activities is possible.

Dealtale, a Vianai company, is offering a solution that implements revenue science, giving marketers the ability to identify the ROI of all their marketing activities. Ariel Geifman, Chief Revenue Officer at Dealtale, explains that most marketers look at impressions, clicks, and views. But these are not business metrics, and management isn’t interested in them because they don’t map to ROI. They also don’t help marketers know what’s working and what to improve. 

Geifman pitches that Dealtale helps you first link all of a person’s activity to acquisition or revenue and then, using algorithms, understand the value of each touchpoint and assign revenue to each. It ingests data from your marketing sources like your website, marketing automation or email marketing platform, ad channels, and others. It then resolves the customer identity to give you a complete view of the customer across the entire customer journey. 

The customer journey mapper shows how customers move from awareness to purchase. You can drill down into different activities or touchpoints across the journey and see both a high-level summary and an individual perspective. 

Then you can dive into the multi-touch attribution tool to see which touchpoints generate the most revenue. For example, maybe you want to know the impact of your ad campaigns vs. your email marketing. Dealtale provides five attribution models: first-touch, last-touch, linear (give equal weight to all touches), ensemble (40% first touch; 20% main touches; 40% last touch), and Critical Path. 

According to Geifman, most of Dealtale’s customers use the Critical Path attribution model, which uses a statistical technique called the Markov Chain. This approach looks at the incremental value of a touchpoint versus the incremental value of another touchpoint. Geifman offers a simple example to clarify: 

So, people are traveling between New York and Boston, and every morning 3000 people go from Boston to their day job in New York City. A thousand go by plane, 1000 go by train, and another 1000 go by car. And if one day the train breaks down and we see the 2500 people got to New York City, then we know that the actual incremental value of the train is actually five hundred people and not 1000 people.

In Dealtale’s case, an algorithm is running that removes the touchpoint from the journey every time to see how it impacts the opportunity. Of course, this is theoretical, but it’s probably as close as a marketer can get. To translate this to ROI, you divide the incremental value by the cost of that touchpoint, and you get the ROI of that touchpoint. This works for all buyer journey stages, from top-of-the-funnel to bottom-of-the-funnel. 

The science bit

This is all part of what Dealtale calls Revenue Science and a focus on causal inference. Marketers often look at correlation to understand how marketing activities are related. But correlation isn’t that helpful unless you only look at what happened in the past. What you really want to know is causation. What is the cause and effect of different marketing activities? This is the cornerstone of revenue science.

Jake Klien, CEO of Dealtale, explained it in episode one of the Revenue Science show. He said if you want to understand past events, then correlation is probably okay. But what if you asked a different question, he said. What if you want to know not only what happened or what will happen if you keep doing everything the same, but what will happen if you change something? 

Klein said marketers need to understand how their activities and actions affect customer outcomes. This requires understanding causation, and it’s why Critical Path is the most popular attribution model in their product. 

I asked Geifman how marketers use Dealtale’s journey mapping and multi-touch attribution capabilities. He says it offers three ways to use this information:

  1. It helps you see where you need to put more of your budget - higher ROI channels.
  2. Helps marketers prove the value of their marketing activities to management because now they can translate activities to business metrics.
  3. Help marketers with channel optimization because not only does it show you the channel (or touchpoint) at a top level, but you can drill down into specific assets (ads, emails, content).

My take

Attribution modeling is something marketers have struggled with forever because it’s very challenging to do without technology. Dealtale has developed a product that looks at attribution in a new way – at least the Critical Path version, giving marketers a new way to look at what’s working and what’s not. Dealtale also provides Dealtale IQ, a ChatGPT-like tool marketers can use to ask questions about their data and get answers without needing to dive into the details. This is a nice use of conversational/generative AI. 

The only question I would have at this point is, what about the dark funnel? We think customers follow these journeys, but it’s sometimes more complex than that. This means we can’t easily understand the complete picture of where and how people come to purchase our products. But marketers still need to show management that what they are doing is working, and journey mapping and attribution modeling do offer a good place to start and build on. 

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