I have watched with a mix of fascination and exasperation as many of my clients have embraced social media to ensure they were not "falling behind" even as their email and direct mail efforts suffered from an assortment of malaises. It is good to read that the demise of email has been somewhat exaggerated.
In 2013, no company can expect to be taken seriously if it’s not on Facebook or Twitter. An endless stream (no pun intended) of advice from marketing consultants warns businesses that they need to “get” social or risk becoming like companies a century ago that didn’t think they needed telephone
So like getting the telephone, these companies get social media and then begin to agonize over attribution. Did the person that liked them on Facebook or checked out a video end up converting into a paying customer? Did they influence their Facebook Friends to buy as well ? Sadly, those questions can generally not be answered with any degree of certainty and the analysts will monkey with the data to tell whatever story management is in the mood for. I have watched amazing transformations in the nature of insights teased out from such data as organization structures changed. Going out to lunch with Data Wranglers is always a great learning opportunity.
In the middle of all this, email has become the not so glamorous also-ran. How much fun can it be to scrub an ungainly mailing list and keep it clean. Cleaning a pile of dirty dishes is a lot more exciting. In this average conversion rate study by industry the need for good email address data is not mentioned at all. In reality that is a big driver in the success of a campaign. Attribution as it turns out is not rocket science in the email channel - the focus can be entirely on achieving the highest conversion rate possible. In breaking down multi-channel attribution, Avinash Kaushik does a great job of explaining why it may be a stretch at best
You'll realize (even if you use the greatest customized model created by your most magnificent consultant at a equally magnificent cost to you) that success then will come not from that rough output, but rather from your ability to take that rough output, make changes, observe the impact (over weeks, or months if you are small sized), identify insights and be less wrong over time.