Attribution’s Biggest Pessimist (Saved $750K)

I’m a pessimist.

The first question I have, is “Prove it.” Right?

I’ve heard this from a hundred people, prove it.

And what I want to do is kind of end at the beginning here and just say, “This stuff works.”

When I got to Carbonite, there was a golden goose, sacred cow and that was Affiliate.

These guys have been living under the dark, dank cloud of single touch attribution for so damn long, they were just impossible to move off of the thought that a failure could ever be touched. They had this group of people huddled around it, saying “kumbaya” and I just couldn’t get into that conversation.

We all raised an eyebrow and said, “Well, but we’re data people, we’re not going to come in with emotional assertions of their ridiculous nature, we’re going to come in with some data that is going to prove to the team that we can do something better.

About two and a half months into the process, what we saw was absolutely mind-bendingly terrible results.

This golden goose that for so long had been the sacred cow was returning pennies on every dollar spent and we said, “Listen guys, I know this is going to be hard. We’re going to take the blanket away from you guys and we’re going to make some really tough decisions.”

We can’t do that, because they’ve been loyal for so long.

And se said, “Sorry, we’re cutting their commissions and we’re going to cut them drastically.”

Everybody came in and we see this really strong jump upward in terms of the AVSR.

I don’t know how many people are familiar with what that number means, but it’s an Attributed Value to Spend Ratio.

For every dollar we spent, we’re getting back an accretive business value.

So we see this kind of jump up and we’re all like, “Yahoo!” And in Carbonite’s history and culture, that’s the point when you walked away and you found a new problem.

They’re like victory, declare victory. Then plant the flag and they’re on to the next issue.

I said, “No, no. This is an evolution. This is a conversation.” We need to come back and say, “What’s the next lever to pull?”

We said, We’re going to keep working and there’s a way that we’re going to get this to be better.”

And guess what?

We cut them, we gave out the same spend, we got the same amount of value out of it.

We see kind of total volume increasing and we said, “Let’s take that extra money and go make some bets.”

We know what the baseline is, largely.

And while this little dip over here, most people were like, “Oh crap, it went back down?”

That’s the big success story in the slide.

It isn’t the big jump over one and what have you, it’s the fact that as a group we were willing to take some risks.

We had a really solid level of confidence in our listening device and we worked through finding a new lever that was able to drive business value and ultimately if you were to look at this, this is the first couple of quarters if you will of C3’s existence, the affiliate program now drives quite a bit more volume.

We can’t expose all of the numbers, but it’s pretty safe to say about 2x total volume.

The exact same level of pay in terms of the cash out and we have this up to about 2, 2.5 at any point in time.

Really, really cool success story.

There are three things I want to tell everybody in this space whenever I have the opportunity. The first one is, adopt an executive strategy. Take ownership of the conversation and be concise. What does that mean? I’ve sat in enough board meetings and what have you to know and I can help you all through this. Don’t come to the table with a ream of paper. If I literally had a nickel for every time I saw the marketing team show up with every click-through and, stop. Just stop.

There’s three questions that you should answer at every one of these meetings. One is more important than the other. What’s working? What’s not? Don’t run away from what’s not. Executives and leaders, they don’t want cheer leaders. They don’t want doom sayers, your job isn’t to nit pick every possible thing that sucks. Your job is to say what’s working, what’s not and what are we doing about it? That last point is the absolute most important piece. When you start to talk about what you’re doing about it and you keep an active log of it and say, “Listen, we had these conversation. As a team we’re driving change in the organization. Is it going to work? I don’t know, but we’re doing something that shows that we have ownership and accountability in this company.”

All of a sudden what you’re going to see is the entire C Suite start showing up at these meetings. We saw it. Literally, we have a Thursday meeting and our entire C Suite sits in the back of the room because they want to hear what’s going to happen next. They want to see who’s playing ball and who’s owning it and that’s the most important part. If you leave this out, the value that you’re bringing to the organization starts to go.