As B2B marketers, we can’t just look at the beginning or end of our customer journey in a vacuum—this doesn’t tell us the full story of that journey, or offer any real insights into how we can work to improve it.
When looking at the full lifecycle of a customer, there are four distinct and measurable steps to a digital buyer’s journey:
- The anonymous touch: The digital channel through which a lead finds you originally—before he becomes known to your organization (ie. AdWords, paid social, organic search, etc.).
- The first touch: Where your lead first becomes known to you by filling out a form for an offer such as an ebook download, webinar, and so on. This new lead has now entered your database.
- The middle touch(es): The identified touches between the first and last touch point, where a lead interacts with your content or other offers (ie. events, demo requests, etc.). There are often many middle touches.
- The last touch: The final place where a lead interacts with your brand before converting into an opportunity or closed deal.
Many marketers track just the first touch and last touch, because the anonymous touch and middle touches are more complicated to track. And some marketers don’t track any of these touches at all. However, the only way to truly measure marketing’s impact within a business is by tracking all four. Because you can’t understand the whole picture without looking at everything that led to the end result.
Problems with Tracking the Anonymous Touch
Before the advent of new tracking technology, the anonymous touch wasn’t measurable, so the journey began at the first touch—as soon as a lead made him or herself known on your website by filling out a form. But that often doesn’t track each and every activity that helped deliver pipeline and revenue. Where did a prospect discover your brand? What piece of content attracted him or her? These are questions that the first touch can’t always answer, but that an anonymous touch can. Think about it—as a buyer, how many Facebook ads, Google searches, blog posts, or web pages do you look at before you actually fill out a form on a company website? Most likely, you do a ton of initial research before you make yourself known. Because these touches are so difficult to track, the marketer is often blind to what is moving you through the funnel.
The story isn’t complete until every touch is captured. And, if you don’t have the whole story, you can’t prove—without a doubt—marketing’s impact on pipeline and revenue.
Download our latest ebook to learn more about how you can track the entire buyer’s journey, from anonymous to last touch.