As digital marketers, we are all aware of cross channel attribution and how it is vital to measure the value of different forms of media in the ‘conversion’ or ‘purchase’ funnel. Much debate has arisen about last click reporting (PPC) and the fact that credit is not always given to other factors (such as display, SEO, email, affiliates) that lead to a conversion.

Cross-channel attribution reporting accounts for this. From a pure marketing perspective, the same principle can be applied for the role of marketing, people, functions, and areas of expertise within your digital organisation.

In order for companies to operate efficiently in such a competitive industry as digital, it is essential that they structure, build strategies, and manage their human capital (that’s you!) efficiently.

The role of marketing within organisations has changed with little comment being made on how to actually market within a digital marketing organisation. The strategic role of marketing, value of people and their domains of specialism have been greatly ignored within many large digital organisations; just look at churn rates of staff in large digital agencies and monitor the job boards if you would like further substance to this point.

Just for today, to avoid confusion, let’s take out the word digital, and focus on marketing and attribution within your digital organisation.

What has the role of marketing and people within an organisation got to do with cross-channel attribution?

As per the example diagram below – Last click attribution means that credit is given to a PPC advertisement with no credit being given to a banner advertisement, an email, SEO, or an affiliate.

Attribution 1

The same principle can be applied for the role of marketing, people and areas of expertise within your digital organisation. 

Many companies outside the digital sector have a good grasp of holistic marketing, organisational attribution, and its central role. However, from listening to people in the market, working with agencies, and from personal experience I think many digital agencies do not address this issue adequately.

A lot of this is to do with how your organisation is structured. In a forward thinking company marketing should be at the centre of all activity across all areas of the organisation.

Marketing should be driving strategy, leading sales (just like you may have a search campaign central to a clients campaign), and fostering a culture of team selling and more of a relationship between sales and product. 

Marketing should be pivotal in driving the business and helping attribute revenue across all areas of the organisation. This improves your ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment)and hence ROI. Your CEO will thank you.

Just like cross-channel attribution, various parts of marketing activity/marketing’s DNA can be looked at in a revenue cycle.

In many agencies, discord can occur across numerous departments such as sales, marketing, digital, product, and client services. Debate rages as to who really booked revenue and how much did everyone contribute? Was it down to the expertise of the SEO department, an account director, a specific marketing campaign, or a sales person. Who gets the credit for revenue? How much credit do they get and how can you use that information to help plan and build to win that next big pitch/chunk of revenue?

There is no definitive answer to this. It is something organisations have struggled with for years – just like digital marketers have struggled with cross-channel attribution – but there are ways to make a start….

Firstly, look at how marketing could, and should, contribute to your overall revenue objectives by ensuring that marketing DNA runs across key functions highlighted in the diagram below (click on image for a larger version):

Marketing DNA and Organisational Attribution

You will see that each piece of marketing plays a vital role in conversion. 

Just like a digital marketer would measure the influence of various digital channels - do the same across all elements of your marketing DNA. You will find this helps you plan, attribute spend (ROMI), build efficiency and plan for future campaigns.

No single piece can function without assistance from another, just like a keyword assist in paid search. You will also notice that your internal digital marketing strategy and social media strategy should be overlaid across all elements of your marketing DNA and departmental functions (That’s a whole other article though).

Secondly, use this framework to look at how people in the organisation contribute to revenue.

How many times have you heard an SEO person slate a ‘snake oil’ salesman, a salesman blame the product team for losing a client, seen people argue about who is too lead a pitch, see sales and marketing argue about who leads strategy, notice a client ask for a specialist and not sales person or account director, witnessed a specialist sell themselves and the product but not close on the commercial?

Just like attribution modeling, you need to look at who does what within your organisation. For example:

  • Are your sales team the last PPC click?
  • Is your product team (SEO, PPC, Display etc) and specialists the display view or impression?
  • Are your client service teams the email?
  • Is your brand marketing function the affiliate?

For each and every organisation the attribution model will be different. Indeed, for each project/pitch scenario you may apply different weightings – just like you would when attributing digital spend and credit for each channel.


Just like you track your digital media, track how well you market within your organisation. What’s more, use this methodology to gain a better understanding as to who does what in your organisation, where the real stars are, analyse the weak links, and foster more collaboration between departments. 

Make sure you action, plan, and structure accordingly. Remember – no model will be the same. At the very least, make a start and make sure your CEO knows who makes things ‘click’.