Solving the Attribution Riddle: Applying Lead-Based Attribution to ABM [Trend Micro]

Gary Verster
Gary Verster Posts: 3 ✭✭✭✭
edited June 2023 in Inspire UK

Hey, I’m @Gary Verster, Marketing Operations Lead for Trend Micro in Europe – here’s a recap of my session on attribution at Inspire UK.

Transitioning from lead-based to account-based marketing is a no-brainer. But people have always been at the heart of marketing automation and lead management. So, for us, the challenge lies in measuring marketing performance without forms and the ability to identify individuals.

We face three key hurdles to solving the attribution riddle:

  • Weighting different touch points in our own attribution model
  • The politics of influencing vs. taking credit
  • Finally, redefining our approach to attribution


Today’s attribution models are too simple to measure the complex B2B buyer journey and don’t reveal the full impact of marketing activities.

To tackle this weighting challenge, Trend Micro uses Markov chains. Markov chains can be used to build an attribution model that learns and predicts the likelihood of the next touchpoint, helping understand the relative performance of marketing activities at an account level. 

Influence vs Credit

Here’s a political conundrum: Balancing the need for marketing to demonstrate value while avoiding taking credit away from sales efforts.

Our initial marketing attribution model didn’t succeed in walking this political tightrope. Assigning a dollar value to marketing’s influence on an opportunity or deal didn’t go down well with sales.

To resolve this issue, we’re looking at methods to remove the dollar value from the analysis. Instead, we’ll focus on the account size or revenue potential as a measure of marketing's influence on the account.

Redefining Marketing Attribution 

An account-based world requires a new approach to measuring performance and setting goals.

In ABM, marketing's primary objective should be account progression, as it aligns with the overall goal of accelerating accounts through the buyer's journey. 

Now we measure marketing performance based on how effectively activities move an account through the buyer's journey. 

Putting It Into Action

1. We need to identify the combination of activities which move an account forward in the buying journey. 

Previously, we used Marketo and all the activities that we recorded within that platform. Now it’s bigger than that. We need to include all our digital campaigns from 6sense. (In the future, there will be more, eg. PR, but for now these are our priorities.)

2. ​​Next, we want to take all these new activities that we’ve recorded and identified, and apply the Markov chain concept to this data to see the relative performance of these activities at an account level.

3. Use buying stage progression as an account goal instead of opportunity creation, revenue won, or even a form conversion. So, for example, when an account moves from Awareness to Consideration, we ​​measure the performance of those activities in achieving account progression to the next stage.

4. We’re looking at how we can use the same idea for offline conversion tracking. We're exploring whether it's possible to use buying stage progression as a goal here instead of form fills. Then we export Google click IDs for the individuals of the accounts that have met this goal, and use that information to improve smart bidding for future campaigns.

Transitioning to account-based everything is not easy. But we know it’s the right thing to do. 

By focusing on buying stage progression as the desired next step, we can better understand the impact of marketing activities on account progression, make more informed decisions on where to allocate resources, and better align with sales efforts.

**** To view all Inspire UK sessions, click here.

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