Birst has refreshed the marketing analytics accelerator it debuted last October.

As it rolls out its latest product it does so with a message about an issue that is dear to the hearts of marketing executives everywhere. And that message is: "We are offering you easy and very granular marketing attribution."

Put another way, it claims to offer a clear digital path connecting campaigns to revenue.

Birst is hardly the first vendor to boast it has solved the ROI gap for marketing. And it surely won't be the last.

So does its claims stand up in the field? For the moment, it's asking users to take a leap of faith and believe Southard Jones, VP of Product Strategy, who told CMSWire that early adopters have been pleased with the product.

'The Toughest Challenge'

Still, though, any solution that offers a credible roadmap between campaign and revenue deserves a hearing. If nothing else, Birst has nailed marketers' long-standing frustration in this area.

"Lack of marketing attribution has traditionally been the CMO's toughest challenge," Farnaz Erfan, director of Product Strategy at Birst, told CMSWire.

"He or she walks into a meeting with the rest of the C-Suite and is confronted with the question, 'you spent $20 million on marketing last quarter. How did that do?'

Birst claims its accelerator is granular enough — and comprehensive enough — for the CMO to answer that question on almost any level. 

He could, for example, drill down into tiny details such as an investment of $10,000 in white papers that resulted in $50,000 worth of sales. Or he could just go straight to the top line figure: 'That $20 million resulted in $500 million of sales.'

Revamped Features

New and enhanced features in the accelerator include pre-built integration, reports, dashboards and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that connect with data sources. These sources include Marketo, Eloqua, Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, Salesforce, ExactTarget, NetSuite, SAP, traditional databases and data warehouses.

Then there is Birst's secret sauce — what it calls Automated Data Refinement — that automatically sorts this data into a simpler, easier to read report via the web analytics.

The search and visual discovery features help users trace the campaigns to the resulting revenues, Erfan says.

"What we did was focus both on presenting the data in an actionable form as well as exposing it in various ways," she says. "And that is how the attribution is made."

Digging Deep into Attribution

Other features break down this attribution along the marketing life cycle.

For example, marketers can focus on single-touch attribution such as 'first touch' — the first contact marketing made with a prospect — or 'last touch', that is, that final piece of marketing content that presumably pushed the sale across the finish line.

Much of this process is automated but still leaves room for that intangible factor behind all marketing — human intuition.

So a CMO crafting a campaign for a specific demographic can decide that the X amount of weight or resources should be placed on first touch and Y amount on touch points in the middle of the funnel. It's completely customizable, Erfan said, so companies can apply their own rules.

Other attribution styles the accelerator can present include linear and time decay models.

Another Go at Industry-Specific

Birst is already working on other accelerators that is plans to release in the coming months, Erfan said. "We will continue to focus on issues in sales and marketing."

And here's something new: the company is also working on accelerators for industry-specific sales and marketing applications.

CRM industry-specific applications — such as, CRM for Pharma or CRM for high-tech — are old hat, stretching back to the client-server days. They have a respectable, albeit very narrow market share.

Pure-play, sector-specific business intelligence, though, clearly has greater run room, although Birst isn't ready to talk specifics about who, what and when.

"We are responding to what our customers want," Erfan said.