Can someone please tell me where the ‘heart’ is in attribution modeling?

Juan Isaza
Strategy & Innovation VP DDB Latina Group

More than a decade ago, Les Binet and Peter Field proved, after a very comprehensive data analysis, that a factor called ‘fame’ made campaigns 72% more effective. Fame is simply the ability of an idea to generate emotion to the point that people talk about it. In other words, to be successful, a brand has to engage emotionally with a large group of consumers. No solid research or institution has challenged that conclusion. We know that generating marketing ideas that produce ‘fame’ transform the reality of a brand in terms of sales, and there are hundreds of cases to prove it.


In times where brands think that attribution modeling is the answer to everything, it might be a good idea to ask ourselves where the ‘fame’ component is. By attribution modeling we mean the analysis that calculates the contribution of every medium on the conversion journey to establish the level of effectiveness of each one. As many have put it, attribution modeling is about “giving credit where credit is due.” Sometimes the biggest part of the credit goes to the search engine, sometimes to Facebook or Instagram, sometimes to the retail platform where the purchase occurred, and often it is the mix and the order of appearance what makes the difference. 


For many experts, offline media should be included as well (even considering the difficulties for measuring them). However, there is a factor that is not included in any attribution model: the heart of the consumer. Any conversion has a branding factor because we know that every human decision has an emotional component. It is not the same to facilitate the conversion for a brand that people desire, like and admire, than to take the same steps for the conversion of an unknown brand or a brand that has no ‘fame’ at all. So, if we are adding data related to media and the journey of the consumer, it is also important to measure the relevance of branding at every step.


Every year we see companies investing more and more on online media because they always have a sense of measurement, a tangible proof of the levels of conversion. And this is great. Nothing against it. My invitation is merely not to forget that there is a part of the conversion that is hidden to the analytics; it is the result of the branding efforts they have done for years, perhaps decades.  We know that brand building is a long and complex process that has a real impact, not just on branding metrics but on conversion ones.


Now that we are increasingly talking about the importance of customer experience as the overarching objective for all our work in marketing, it is very important that brands and their marketing leaders understand that experience is all about generating the right combination of branding and sales efforts. It’s time to ask for the ‘fame’ component on their attribution modeling: Has the brand developed an emotional connection beyond reason? How does it influence every step of the journey? Has the brand built a competitive advantage based on creativity? If so, there is a great chance that the heart of the people is playing in favor of the conversion. As every successful marketing manager knows, having ‘fame’ playing on their side is a ‘priceless’ factor.