The Democratization of Advanced Analytics

The Democratization of Advanced Analytics

Ah election season. Shaking hands, kissing babies and yes, democracy. Power was once held in the hands of the few but now we all get our say, more or less. I think we’re seeing something similar happen in the B2B marketing world when it comes to what I’ll call advanced analytics. Multi-touch attribution, velocity, waterfall analysis… In the past these were the domain of the analytics guru you had on staff (if you were really lucky). After all sorts of data wizardry and a couple weeks of work, they produced reports like this… and maybe even an insight or two that might lead the marketing leader to change course or double down.

Things have changed. Dramatically. With a tool like BrightFunnel these same insights are instantaneous so a marketer can measure and act quickly. Also they are no longer just the domain of just the analytics guru. This really hit home for me when I spoke to our customer Heather Sutherland at Cloudera. She said, “Within a few weeks, BrightFunnel provided us deep visibility into measuring revenue impact across all marketing channels. Our entire marketing team (digital, product, and field marketing) now can quickly get insights at all levels – by account type, marketing channel, campaign and deal.”

Everyone on the marketing team now has the critical marketing metrics at their fingertips. They can now fully measure and justify their impact. They can optimize channels and campaigns effectively as they see the output of every marketing dollar they spend. It’s an exciting time. Marketers can ground their decisions on real data, not to mention show their work to their boss. The content marketer can fight for that $10k to write the new eBook because the last one drove $400k in pipeline. The event marketer can prove to the skeptical head of Sales that a $50k event sponsorship is worth it because last year that same event influenced 40% of their Q2 opportunities.

Want to join the movement? Schedule a demo today.

How to Find the “Right” ABM for Your Business

How to Find the “Right” ABM for Your Business

Account-Based Marketing. ABM. Those three little letters caused quite a bit of head-scratching in 2015 for B2B marketing leaders as they struggled to get their arms around if and how they should approach the strategy. 2016 seems to be the year that many of us will actually put those thoughts into practice. This isn’t to be taken lightly. An ABM strategy carries with it serious costs, both in spend and time. I attended a great TOPO event recently where Craig Rosenberg explained that if you’re going to start an ABM effort against just 100 target accounts, you need to create 800 unique offers to go along with ABM best practices. Ouch. Add to that the cost of finding the right accounts (ideally using predictive analytics), contact records for all the right people at those accounts so you have adequate coverage, increased pay-per-click (PPC) costs, expensive oh-so-clever direct mail tchotchkes, operations needs (lead to account matching for instance) and ABM is an expensive proposition. Given this cost and all of our finite resources, we at BrightFunnel feel like the majority of marketers will undertake an ABM initiative as a piece of their overall marketing mix, a “hybrid ABM” approach.

Just going after enterprise whales? Super niche industry with a limited target account list? Totally get it. Pure ABM makes sense. But for the rest of us, a hybrid approach is probably best… and how most of us will likely tackle this. Unless you are marketing to exclusively to a relatively small, focused target list, you will likely find that there’s an optimal balance where you can carve out a number of top target accounts who can get the full ABM treatment and market to the rest of your target audience with more traditional demand generation strategies. You may layer in tiers: Top accounts get fully-customized messaging and more expensive tactics like direct mail, the next tier is broken out into industry-specific messaging (mentioning your customer in that space for instance) and the last tier gets a broader approach (though still segmenting personas hopefully).

So how do you find that balance? In short, understand your resources, understand the marketing impact of ABM and optimize accordingly.

Here’s a basic recipe of how you might approach this:

  • Identify your top 100 target accounts (or a number that you know your operation can handle without a massive impact).
  • Split those 100 into a test and control group (50/50).
  • Plan and execute your fully-baked ABM strategy against the test group while the control group gets traditional demand gen tactics.
  • After enough time (dependent on your typical velocity), measure the impact. I’m not talking about increased display and email click rates. I mean revenue-impacting metrics like lead to opportunity conversion rates and velocity. BrightFunnel makes this surprisingly easy to do with a simple set of filters for your target account test and control groups.
  • Using this impact, model out the benefit of expanding your ABM strategy vs. the resources (budget, headcount) you have.
  • Expand efforts (if appropriate) and optimize on an ongoing basis as that optimal balance may change.

Yes, ABM is expensive. So it better work. And it does for many, including several of our clients who are leading the ABM charge like Invoca, SevOne and Cloudera. I would just urge you to dip your toes in those deep ABM waters with a measured, data-driven approach like the one I’ve outlined.

B2B Marketing Stack Basics: CRMs, Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) & The B2B Lead Lifecycle

B2B Marketing Stack Basics: CRMs, Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) & The B2B Lead Lifecycle

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) are among the most commonly used technologies by B2B marketing leaders. Without a CRM and marketing automation platform, tracking ROI is impossible. The two technologies exist at the core of proper revenue attribution and, when used effectively, both can be extremely powerful, with great impact on revenue. On the other hand, when not used exactly as prescribed by vendors—as is usually the case—CRM and MAS can also be very dangerous, leading to misguided marketing decisions that wreak havoc on your bottom line.

In our new “B2B Marketing Stack Basics” series, we’ll examine the technology building blocks of a winning marketing stack—the strengths and weaknesses of leading platforms, best practices for campaign tracking, and tips to achieve true multi-touch revenue attribution. In our first installment we’ll cover the fundamentals, offering an overview of CRM and MAS technologies and taking a look at how they work together along the B2B lead lifecycle.

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Overview

Many companies use their CRM as the system of record for nearly all business functions, but a CRM is primarily a sales and services tool, used to store data about existing customers and manage sales opportunities. It contains a database of all relevant information about clients and prospective clients and uses technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales pursuits.

Examples: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle SiebelSAP, SugarCRM 

Benefits of CRMs

  • 74% of CRM users said their CRM system offered improved access to customer data. (source)
  • CRMs can increase sales productivity by up to 34% and forecast accuracy by up to 42%. (source)
  • Using a CRM has been proven to increase sales by up to 29%. (source)

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Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) Overview

The MAS is the marketing counterpart to the CRM platform—focused on moving inquiries from the top of the marketing funnel through to sales-ready leads at the bottom of the funnel. Marketing automation provides a single solution that marketers can use for all aspects of campaign design—including email and landing page development, lead management and scoring, and automation and reporting.

Today’s B2B marketers would be crippled without marketing automation. Essential functions such as communicating with and tracking prospects become impossible or at best extremely difficult without it. In order to track revenue, you must first track campaigns and leads. 

Examples: Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot 

Benefits of CRMs

  • B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales-pipeline contribution by 10%. (source)
  • 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation. (source)
  • 8% of successful marketers say marketing automation systems are most responsible for improving revenue contribution. (source)

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The B2B Lead Lifecycle: How CRM and MAS Work Together

Marketing automation systems measure prospect engagement from the first time they interact with your company. Upon their first website visit, they’ll receive a cookie from your MAS, after which all interactions are tracked. A prospect is no longer anonymous once they provide their contact information (e.g. downloading an eBook, signing up for a webinar) and a lead is created within the MAS. From there, the lead is typically synced to the CRM. 

Salesforce and Marketo FlowOne of the core functions of marketing automation is the ability to score prospects based on engagement. A prospect’s lead score will accumulate over time based on their interactions with marketing activity. Many companies develop nurture programs or a series of automated communications designed to help prospects self-educate. As a prospect interacts with marketing activity—triggered by nurturing or done organically—they’ll continue to accumulate points until they reach an agreed-upon threshold that deems them sales-ready.

While lead cycle processes vary between organizations, there is usually some threshold that determines the lead has reached a gating stage and is passed to a sales rep. Sales can either accept a lead, and convert it (more on that in the following section), or reject a lead, in which case, they often re-enter a new nurture queue. Alternatively, a lead may be disqualified altogether, in order to prevent any future engagement (e.g. competitors or bad records).

Much has been written about lead management and the various stages leads can pass through. Much of that discussion is beyond the scope of this series, but we recommend familiarizing yourself with this process if you haven’t already.

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Have you been able to track multi-touch revenue attribution with your CRM and MAS alone? Stay tuned for the next installment of our “B2B Marketing Stack Basics” series, where we’ll go deeper on CRM best practices to make sure your leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities are properly set up for multi-touch revenue attribution.

To learn how to get started with multi-touch revenue attribution, download our free eBook today.

The Data-Driven Marketer’s Guide to 2015 Marketo Summit

The Data-Driven Marketer’s Guide to 2015 Marketo Summit

If you work in B2B marketing (and consider yourself a data-driven marketer), you’ll probably be one of the 6,000+ attendees at Marketo’s The Marketing Nation summit, which kicks off in San Francisco today. I’ll be there because, as the CEO of a marketing technology company, it’s a fantastic networking event. But I’m also attending because, as a former data-driven VP of Marketing, I think the event is a great opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in B2B marketing, including many people with expertise in analytics.

The challenge, of course, is that there are more than 100 sessions offered at this year’s Marketo Summit — and not every one of them will be worth your time. In fact, like any college course, most conference sessions are only as good as the speakers leading them and the content being discussed.

Need some help deciding which sessions to attend this week? As the CEO of a B2B marketing analytics company, and a former VP of Marketing, here’s a sampling of sessions I’ll be attending that I think could be interesting and thought-provoking for other data-driven marketers. I don’t always expect to agree with each one of these speakers, but I fully expect them to provoke discussion:

1. Tips and Tricks to Accelerate Pipeline Growth

Speakers: Janelle Donovan (@janelletnoble), former Sr Director of Marketing @ ServiceMax (and a happy BrightFunnel user!); Paul Albirght (@paulalbright), founder/CEO @ Captora; Tushar Patel (@tushar_m_patel), VP of Marketing @ Innotas

Summary: Marketing (and marketing technology) might be in its renaissance, but many B2B marketing executives are still struggling to show results and fuel faster growth. This session features a fantastic panel of B2B marketing executives who will highlight breakthrough techniques, tips, and templates for increasing marketing growth and productivity. The panel will also deliver insight into how to get the most from today’s marketing technology stack. In my opinion, this is a can’t-miss session for data-driven marketers.

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 2 p.m. Location: 3022

2. Data Quality Bootcamp or Why Dirty Data = Low Marketing ROI

Speaker: Inga Romanoff (@ingaroma), marketing executive and consultant

Summary: Data quality is an issue on the mind of every data-driven marketer. Unfortunately, it’s often perceived as an obstacle to analytics and attribution, but my view (and what I think Inga will convey) is that while data quality is critical, one must not lose sight of its purpose — marketing ROI. As such, rather than obsessing — and beating oneself up — over data, one should be focused on making sure it’s good enough, not perfect. A lot can be done at the analytics layer, algorithmically, to make up for data quality issues (e.g. solving for Lead/Contact to Account associations).

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 3 p.m. Location: 2022/2024

Bonus tip: One thing to consider if you do attend this event is that if you’re having issues with Contact Roles being attached to Opptys (or Leads remaining unconverted, and thus losing attribution), you should consider trying BrightFunnel’s automated Account-Based Attribution and Orphan Lead Finder capabilities. Both will help you considerably when it comes to data quality. Also, don’t hesitate to come check out BrightFunnel’s booth (#318) and get our free attribution health check!

3. Boosting Engagement and Conversion with Creative Storytelling and Strategic Video Marketing

Speakers: Joe Hyland (@mojoehyland), CMO @ Taulia; Michael Litt (@MichaelLitt), CEO @ Vidyard

Summary: I think video marketing is an interesting opportunity for B2B marketers, and Joe and Michael are two of the more knowledgeable experts on the topic. Like Events and Webinars, video can be a fantastic middle of the funnel tactic (“MOFU” for the geeks out there). Often times, ROI for those types of tactics gets undercounted, largely because they’re not first or last touch; not to mention, the person they impact might be different than the opportunity contact role. At BrightFunnel, we recommend you try video in your B2B buyers’ journey if you have a product or service that has a longer than 30-day lead-to-deal cycle, and that requires some level of buyer education or selling to multiple stakeholders.

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 4:30 p.m.; 2010/2012

Bonus tip: If your organization uses MOFU tactics like videos and webinars, and you want to accurately attribute marketing performance, use BrightFunnel to measure how exactly video is impacting your customers’ multi-touch journey.

4. Using Marketing Analytics to Deliver the RIGHT Metrics

Speakers: Adam New-Waterson (@AdamInBloom), DemandGen @ BloomReach; Jason Seeba (@JSeeba), Marketing Technologist @ BloomReach.

Summary: This was billed as the best marketing analytics session by quite a few people last year and I expect that to be the case this year, too. While this session will specifically cover Marketo Analytics, I highly recommend it for all data-driven marketers, even if they aren’t big users of Marketo RCA/RCE. Adam and Jason are super-advanced quantitative analytics experts and I suspect they’ll give attendees a deep understanding of how to use first-touch and multi-touch attribution to better understand impact, regardless of your marketing technology stack.

Time/Place: Wednesday, April 15 @ 8:15 a.m.; 2010/2012

Bonus tip: If you find that your organization is looking to complement Marketo Analytics (Marketo RCA/RCE) with more advanced capabilities, BrightFunnel can be a good logical next step. If you want to better understand who we are and what we do, stop by our booth!

5. 5 Use Cases for Predictive Marketing

Speakers: Jessica Cross (@JFayeSF), Director of Marketing @ Fliptop; Jeffrey Canada (@LikeThe_Country), Revenue Marketing @ The Pedowitz Group

Summary: This one is a little bit more personal for me because Jessica and I are former colleagues, and in fact, she ran demand gen for me! I can objectively say it’s a worthwhile session for data-driven marketers. Jessica is a super sharp, data-driven marketer, I’ve also spoken with Jeffrey, who has a great mind for revenue marketing and marketing automation. To extend the college metaphor, these are are up-and-coming associate professors with high student ratings. Check them out!

Time/Place: Wednesday, April 15 @ 4:30 p.m.; 2010/2012

6. The Best of Both Worlds: Using Fit + Behavior Signals to Predict Top Prospects

Speakers: Jamie Grenney (@JamieGrenney), VP of Marketing @ Infer; Ash Alhashim (@ashalhashim), Director of Sales and Marketing Development @ Optimizely; T. Baxter Denney (@TBDenney), Director of Marketing Operations @ New Relic

Summary: There’s no question that predictive analytics can deliver critical insight and provide competitive differentiation for B2B businesses in competitive markets, but some marketers are struggling to make the leap from being data-driven to being predictive-driven. In this session, Infer VP of Marketing Jamie Grenney, Optimizely Director of Sales and Marketing Development Ash Alhashim, and New Relic Director of Marketing Operations T. Baxter Denney will share how they combine fit and behavioral scoring to decide which prospects most deserve their time, energy, and resources. This is one of several sessions on predictive marketing, led by a predictive lead scoring speaker.

Time/Place: Tuesday, April 14 @ 3:00 p.m./3022

Bonus tip: If you’re already using, or evaluating lead scoring tools, BrightFunnel’s multi-touch attribution and forecasting capabilities can be a great complement, to optimize the buyer’s journey after the initial lead scoring.

Struggling with Marketing Attribution?

One of the biggest benefits of conferences like Marketo’s Summit is the opportunity to better gauge what your company is doing well and where it can improve. To find out if your business is getting marketing attribution right, come by BrightFunnel’s booth (#318) to get an attribution health check through our free Salesforce health check app.

Instead of presenting a session, we’ve invested all of our resources into this helpful tool and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. We will tell you, within a few minutes, how your organization scores in terms of attribution, specifically: what percentage of your opportunities are missing contacts, how much pipeline you’re losing credit for, as well as showing you specific buyers’ journeys for those opportunities that BrightFunnel uncovers, but Salesforce reporting does not. If you’re using Salesforce CRM, checking out this free tool is a no-brainer.

Marketo Analytics Reviews Roundup: Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA)

Marketo Analytics Reviews Roundup: Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA)

Today’s marketing technology landscape lists nearly 2,000 vendors across 40+ categories—twice as many companies compared to just last year. What’s more, all of these technologies are producing massive amounts of data at a rapid clip. While many technologies offer built-in analytics, deriving insights from this data can be a harrowing process. Beyond determining which technology is right for their needs, CMOs must consider whether a technology’s analytics will answer the questions that matter to their business. But how can you possibly know before using a product? Before it’s too late?

We’re here to help. In our new “Analytics Reviews Roundup” series, we’ll examine the analytics and reporting functionality of leading marketing technology platforms. We do the heavy lifting for you—scouring reviews from across the web—and summarize what users most often loved (and hated) about a technology’s analytics package.

In our first installment, we’ll focus on one of the building blocks of any B2B stack—marketing automation—and review Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA).

Marketo Analytics Overview

Marketo is a powerful B2B marketing automation solution that helps Marketing and Sales professionals drive revenue and improve marketing accountability. It comes standard with basic analytics features, and customers have the ability to purchase the Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA) module at additional cost.  In this roundup, we’ll focus on Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics product.

Pros of Marketo Analytics

Extremely powerful:

“We were an early adopter of Revenue Cycle Analytics. It is a very powerful tool but you have to be prepared to invest significant time in setting it up. In particular, you’ll need to blueprint out a “workflow” for your marketing processes. This was a pretty involved undertaking but it was well worth it for us – after a couple of months our sales team dropped a lot less leads (a problem for many companies). Once you get it humming, the ROI is almost immediate. However be aware that you’ll need an expert on board to maintain it. Even small rule changes can result in leads getting stuck somewhere in your pipeline stages. The good news though is that these are almost always easy to debug – as long as you’re paying attention. In short, it’s a great investment as long as you’re serious about adopting it!” Rich S.

“RCA contains almost every slice and view of data you could want. However, it takes a lot of little steps and alignment with the rest of the Marketo program to take full advantage of its capabilites. There are many out of the box reports, but it will take time to get it the way you want.” Mike B.

Exceptional training and support:

“Of all the marketing automation tools that I have used – Marketo is the easiest to use. With the best support that I have seen. Something inevitably will always go wrong, the important thing is partnering with a vendor that responds quickly to your inquiries and goes above and beyond to help resolve the problem.” Sharla E.

“We use these numbers multiple times a week in order to accurately determine sales cycle time and accurate flow numbers. This is intergral in how we assess and value what we are doing and how effective our sales team is doing. Without these numbers we would be hard pressed to accurately determine how efficient our sales process is and how to make changes in order to sell better to our potential clients. While the tool does take some time to set up and can be convoluted at times, the value of it and the training/support from Marketo makes everything incredibly easy to use after it is all said and done. Like I said, this is a pertinent part of reporting our sales efficiency and we would not be bale to do without it as a sales team here at my company.” – Courtney G.

Ideal for understanding individual lead and campaign performance: 

“When it comes to looking at a single lead and understanding their behavior, Marketo does a great job; Same with a single campaign. They provide interesting insights into current performance of campaigns and emails, but it’s hard to get an idea of Month over Month / Year over Year performance. You really have to dig into the data and pull it out to get a good feel for what’s going on long term.” Andy C.

Cons of Marketo Analytics

Not all reports are user/executive friendly:

“The built in analytics have some good reports, but if you want something in a different structure than they offer, you have to be really creative pulling it together. I’m usually able to get the reports I want from a combination of smart lists, Marketo reports and SFDC reports, but I would love to have added functionality in Marketo for reporting.”Anna B.

“Don’t like that you can’t send direct links to reports created within RCA and it is not easily sharable with executives. Although there is a great deal of information that you can obtain, the UI is not user friendly.” Leah G.

May need to be supplemented with CRM reporting:

“There are restrictions on how you can report — for example, you can’t report on both program members/success and program ROI in the same report. It seems very logical to want to view a program’s cost, number of members, opportunities created, number closed-won, and revenue all in one report. You also need to be using programs costs to actually be able to even report on a program. If you’re not already using this functionality, it’s quite time consuming to go through each program and add it in.”Ashley C.

“I often times need to continue to build my reports in my CRM, despite all of the data existing in Marketo as well.” ­Marcie P.

In Conclusion

Many marketers agree that Marketo’s core automation capabilities are unmatched and their analytics package has a growing fanbase. Those willing to invest the time upfront will benefit most from RCA because, once set up, it can be an extremely powerful tool for gauging marketing performance. Thankfully, Marketo offers exceptional training and support to help customize integration and is known for going above and beyond to help users resolve issues as they arise. In the right hands, Marketo’s RCA is a strong reporting option for Sales and Marketing professionals seeking to better understand individual lead or campaign performance.

Despite RCA being an incredible tool, marketers who wish to report on how all campaigns (or cohorts) are influencing all pipeline may need to look elsewhere at this time.  While RCA is fairly customizable, reviewers agree that pulling reports beyond what’s available out-of-the-box may require in-house expertise or manual merging of reports with your CRM. Those seeking a truly self-service attribution and forecasting solution—suited for executives and a range of marketing users—should consider seeking out specialized reporting solutions that cater to their specific needs.

The Truth About Marketo RCA and Multi-Touch Attribution

The Truth About Marketo RCA and Multi-Touch Attribution

There’s no doubt that revenue attribution is a hot topic these days. Countless blog posts and articles discussing the value of multi-touch attribution can be found on the websites of all the major players in marketing tech—especially those selling marketing automation. Most MAS systems have built in analytics, and promise a lot. We’ve found that while they are useful in some scenarios, they often fall short when it comes to tying spend to revenue. In this post, we’ll examine how Marketo approaches attribution in detail.

How Marketo Approaches Attribution

Marketo customers have the ability to purchase the Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA) module at additional cost. RCA does, indeed, purport to provide ROI analysis for marketing programs, and includes views dedicated to multi-touch attribution. Unfortunately, architectural limitations leave Marketo unable to tie ROI reporting and campaign influence patterns together.

Marketo RCA and Multi-Touch AttributionMarketo’s Program Analyzer is their tool for reporting on ROI. While the graphics are more attractive than what Salesforce offers in their Campaign ROI reports, the insights are only slightly better. The axes are selectable with the drop downs on the right.

For a deep dive into Marketo RCA and Multi-Touch Attribution, check out our eBook.

It’s a good start, at describing ROI, but the data offered here is fairly limited and doesn’t provide insight into velocity. Like Salesforce, Marketo RCA is dependent on properly associated contact roles, a challenge for many organizations. Most sales reps will attach a single contact (if any) to an opportunity and move on. In reality, there are usually numerous stakeholders influencing any considerable B2B purchase decision. Given the complexity of most enterprise sales, there may be influencers engaging with your content who are completely unknown to the account rep. On average, we see 4-5 people involved in a B2B buying cycle, with only 1 contact role is attached to the opportunity. This means that more than 80% of marketing influencers are not being attributed to a sale. Without properly associated contact roles,  your chances of full attribution are minimal.

Furthermore, while it’s certainly valuable to understand how past campaigns have performed, Marketo is not able to report beyond historical data or predict how campaigns will continue to perform over time.

Marketo RCA and Multi-Touch AttributionTo more carefully analyze the buyers’ journey, Marketo offers their Opportunity Influence Analyzer, allowing users to see individual campaigns that have touched an opportunity. Sadly, it’s little more than a prettier visualization of Salesforce’s Campaign Influence report. While you can overlay several opportunities to help you eyeball patterns, there is no aggregate reporting available. For example, you would not be able to pull all the closed/won reports for EMEA mid-market business. Opportunity Influence Analyzer offers only a one-opportunity-at-a-time view and does not include ROI measurements.

The ability to report on how all campaigns (or cohorts) are influencing all pipeline is the critical missing component from Marketo’s RCA. Because of its dependency on properly associated contact roles, RCA is unable to show marketer how collective campaigns are influencing revenue, and therefore cannot guide decisions.

“In an environment where the focus for companies is mostly on driving growth, the ultimate criterion for marketing effectiveness is how your marketing programs are influencing pipeline and revenue. Paradoxically, many Marketo users don’t set themselves up initially to be able to report on this.”

— Kashmira Bakshi, Principal at ROI Targets and Former Sr. Manager, Professional Services at Marketo

For a deep dive into Marketo RCA and Multi-Touch Attribution, check out our eBook.