Attribution Won’t Work Without Putting the Consumer at the Center

Don’t treat everyone the same

No marketer will argue that attributing consumers’ exposures to marketing and advertising is unimportant, but many have realized it’s only one piece of a bigger puzzle. eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher spoke with Rolf Olsen, chief data officer at advertising agency Mindshare North America, about customer-centric approaches to attribution and how they’re benefiting businesses.


Many companies are embracing a more holistic approach to attribution. Where do conventional attribution models fall short?

Rolf Olsen:

Businesses spend a lot of time looking at their core customer group and understanding what they look like. What are their immediate behaviors? What are their personal behaviors? They want to make sure they market best to those people.

But typical attribution models ignore that. They assume everyone responds in the same way, and then you get channel-specific learnings about what works. Typical models ignore the fact that you start the process by thinking about the consumer.

This is starting to come through in some digital attribution solutions. It’s a core tenet of agent-based modeling.

Interview conducted on September 7, 2017

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast