What Approaches Are Used by Marketing Technologists to Attribute Offline Sales to Online Efforts?

    How did you approach the challenge of attributing offline sales to online marketing efforts?

    Bridging the gap between online marketing efforts and offline sales is a complex challenge that marketing leaders and CEOs are tackling with innovative strategies. From leveraging multi-touch attribution tools to having consumers use unique codes to glean insights, we've compiled the top seven insights provided by industry experts. Discover how marketing managers and Directors of Paid Media, among others, are enhancing attribution models to capture the full customer journey.

    • Leverage Multi-Touch Attribution Tools
    • Utilize Google Analytics Client ID
    • Update CRM for Sales Team Daily
    • Track Sales with Surveys at POS
    • Encourage In-Store Actions
    • Redeem Unique Codes for Offline Insights

    Leverage Multi-Touch Attribution Tools

    We approach it by getting as much data as we can, because if you can't prove it's working with data (and not just feelings), you never know whether your investment is worth it.

    Beyond standard UTMs and offline events in Google and Facebook, our best tool has been LeadsRX. It's a multi-touch lead-attribution tool that shows you what channels are contributing to sales. It also can show ROAS, so you know whether you're really getting a return on your investment. It really helps us connect those dots and close the sales loop.

    Brittany Reith
    Brittany ReithMarketing Manager, SEM & SEO Strategist, 9 Clouds

    Utilize Google Analytics Client ID

    We use the Google Analytics Client ID (also called the Device ID) to tie together offline and online activities. That ID is specific to the user's device, so it does have some drawbacks (if they use multiple devices, cookies can be cleared, etc.), but we get enough data that it is still worthwhile.

    How it works: Contact or lead forms on our client's website are set up to capture this Client ID in a hidden field, which is then fed to the client's CRM, or even something as basic as a Google Sheet. Our client will then ensure that the Client ID persists through the sales process, and then, once the opportunity is won or lost, we can blend that data from the CRM with GA4 data, using the Client ID as the key to tie both together.

    We've been able to tie together anywhere from 50% to 80% of trackable visitors using this method.

    Dana Ditomaso
    Dana DitomasoFounder & Lead Instructor, KP Playbook

    Update CRM for Sales Team Daily

    The only way to effectively address this challenge is by making sure that the sales team keeps your CRM system updated daily. Every interaction, including face-to-face time with a prospect, has to be recorded, even if it's just a simple note. A multi-touch attribution model can then weigh in on how important the online and offline interactions have been.

    Hristina Stefanova
    Hristina StefanovaSenior Marketing Manager, Blue Tea Software

    Track Sales with Surveys at POS

    Attributing offline sales to online marketing efforts can be a bit tricky, but it's not impossible. One of the easiest ways to do this is through using unique promotion codes that are specific to certain digital marketing campaigns. When customers make a purchase in-store using these codes, businesses can track back to the exact online campaign.

    You can also use customer surveys at the physical store that ask customers how they found out about the business or what led them to make a purchase, then use the data collected to draw insights into the effectiveness of different online marketing strategies.

    Businesses can run controlled experiments exposing geographic areas or demographic groups to online marketing campaigns. A control group is not exposed to a campaign, allowing comparison to a test group that is exposed. If the test group shows a distinct increase in offline sales versus the control, it shows the online efforts directly impacted offline sales.

    Elsie Achieng
    Elsie AchiengDirector of Paid Media, Reactionpower

    Encourage In-Store Actions

    As the co-founder of a clothing company with an online presence and products in physical stores, addressing the challenge of attributing offline sales to online marketing efforts has been a strategic priority.

    One effective approach has been the implementation of unique discount codes or QR codes in our online campaigns that customers can use both online and in-store. This enables us to track the origin of the sale and understand the impact of our online marketing efforts on offline conversions. Additionally, encouraging customers to sign up for loyalty programs or newsletters at physical stores provides another avenue for tracking their journey from online engagement to offline purchases.

    By integrating these methods, we gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of our online marketing strategies in driving both digital and brick-and-mortar sales, allowing us to refine our approach and optimize our marketing channels accordingly.

    Josh Bluman
    Josh BlumanCo-Founder, JJ Suspenders

    Redeem Unique Codes for Offline Insights

    I'm a fan of using unique promotional codes. For online campaigns from retailers I've worked with in the past, I've used unique promotional codes that customers could redeem in-store. This method provided a direct link between online marketing efforts and offline sales. By analyzing the redemption rate of these codes, I could gauge the effectiveness of specific digital campaigns.

    Brett Farmiloe
    Brett FarmiloeCEO, Featured