Three Models for Marketing Attribution in a Multi-Team Environment

Get our unfiltered point of view each month

The movie Encanto has captured the hearts of parents and kids alike. In the film, a young girl struggles with the fact that the value she delivers to her family is not as obvious as her siblings’. In the end, she realizes that her magic is just as important in ensuring the safety and prosperity of the family. What’s my point, you ask?

Attribution is tricky. In Disney films and B2B marketing. 

When you have multiple marketing teams who work with the same audience, who gets credit for sourcing a new opportunity? There isn’t an exact science for determining which team had the most influence on a new client. 

Attribution is complicated because leads are exposed to multiple tactics and campaigns throughout their journey to becoming a buyer. The average B2B buyer engages with a brand 36 times before making a purchase. Is it the first touch that made the difference? The last? 

And while some of these tactics are easy to measure—for example, emails opened or visits made to a landing page—others are more difficult. But who gets the attribution when a lead comes your way due to referrals or positive word of mouth? 

Here’s the thing: Marketing attribution is an essential component of your data-collecting efforts, helping you understand which channels offer the greatest ROI. Determining attribution enables you to understand which tactics are working, which teams are the most effective, and which customers are the most likely to convert or make additional purchases. 

Understanding which tactics are most effective helps you coordinate your marketing efforts between sales and marketing in an account-based model, which significantly increases customer retention and sales win rates.

So, back to the question—how to handle attribution when your marketing teams are decentralized? We propose three solutions. 

3 Marketing Attribution Models for Decentralized Teams

You need to know what your teams are doing and how well that’s working. To drill down to what’s really driving sales, you might consider a few different methods. 

First touch or last touch

First touch attribution tracks customers throughout their journey and gives full credit to the buyer’s first touchpoint. Last touch attribution, similarly, measures and distributes credit based on the clincher: the touchpoint that ultimately led to a hand-off to your sales team. 


  • It’s easy to track and attribute first and last touchpoints
  • These touchpoints give you valuable insight into how leads find your brand—and what gets them across the finish line


  • In a customer journey that can involve dozens of checkpoints, these attribution models can be overly simplistic and fail to give you insight into mid-funnel tactics
  • First and last touches can also be arbitrary: was a customer’s white paper download really the touchpoint that led them to make a purchasing decision?

Linear attribution

Linear attribution gives equal weight to each touchpoint along a customer’s journey. It’s a form of weighted attribution that helps you understand what customers are engaging with, if not why. An alternate form of this attribution method would be giving equal attribution weight to each department that had a demonstrable influence on the customer’s journey. 


  • Raw data on which tactics or teams are producing the most engagement
  • A holistic look at your marketing efforts that measures across-the-board success


  • Not all touchpoints have the same weight: does a favorited Tweet have the same influence as a product demo or email exchange?
  • Likewise, not all teams have the same influence on outcomes, and this attribution method can fail to provide sufficient granular data

Weighted attribution 

Tactics at the local, regional level tend to be more personalized, and explicitly tied to customer demands and pipeline acceleration. On the other hand, many corporate marketing tactics operate from a higher-level perspective, designed to build and reinforce brand reputation. 

There are many forms of weighted attribution. For example, U-shaped attribution gives more credit to touchpoints at the beginning and end of the buyer’s journey. W-shaped attribution tends to add more weight to mid-funnel touchpoints. Finally, time-decay attribution places more value on touchpoints as they lead closer to a purchase. 

Another option when working to distribute credit among multiple players might be giving tactics executed at the local and regional level more credit toward the deal closing and weighting corporate-level tactics toward deal creation. 


  • More complex attribution schemes provide a more holistic picture of touchpoints along your customers’ journeys
  • A weighted attribution scheme is easily customizable, allowing you to adjust weights based on your product and marketing efforts


  • Weighted attribution schemes can be harder to measure and more complicated to calculate