Standardize your Lead Source for Successful Reporting

This blog is part 6 of 11 on setting your marketing up for scale using the Gold Standard – our signature framework consisting of a series of foundational processes and corresponding deliverables focusing on strategic marketing as well as technical and campaign operational services.

Reports! As marketers, they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It all comes down to one critical question: how good is the data? In our last blog, we introduced the framework for Gold Standard data management. We discussed how automating much of the work of data management by implementing self-regulating processes both cleans existing data and allows for the ability to scale without multiplying bad data with growth. In this blog, we’ll zoom in and take a closer look at two small fields that impact marketing tremendously: Source and Source Detail.

Why Source and Source Detail So Important?

Marketers are tasked with filling the top of the funnel with new leads – but just having a lead is not enough. As leads enter the funnel, nearly as important as the lead itself is understanding where the lead came from. With so many different marketing tactics available, deciding where to dedicate limited resources to achieve the greatest number of qualified leads is an overwhelming task. If we are able to accurately track where our leads come from, we are better able to make more informed decisions about where to spend our time, energy, and money. If this data is missing or inaccurate, we are missing a huge opportunity.

This is where the Source and Source Detail fields come into play. When used appropriately, the Source field shows the origins of a net new record in the database. It should be standardized to a set of finite values (a picklist) representing the marketing tactics from which each new lead is acquired, including webinars, trade shows, specific landing pages, etc. The Source Detail field should be used to add more specific detail about the tactic that drove entry to the funnel. For this reason, the Source Detail field should be a free-form text type. For example, if a new lead is acquired from the 2020 Vegas Trade Show, the Source would be “Tradeshow” and the Source Detail would be “2020 Vegas Tradeshow.” Together, the Source and Source Detail fields show us quickly when and where our lead entered the database.

Gold Standard Source Assignment relies on a few key principles.

First: Source data should map to marketing tactics. Second, source data should be written (stamped) only once. Additionally, source data should be written globally. The philosophy is this: no matter, how many touch points a lead has before progressing through the funnel, the first touch point (the true source data) never changes. 

With this philosophy in mind, the Gold Standard Source Assignment is established by cleaning and standardizing the existing source data in the database, and then building programs and processes that help to automate source assignment and identify and alert on value exceptions moving forward.

Some steps of the implementation process include: 

  • Creating a definitive list of Sources
  • Mapping old source values to new (limited) sources where necessary
  • Setting up source smart lists for efficient mapping of leads with no source data

When preparing to scale, getting Gold Standard Source Assignment right is critical. With inaccurate or incomplete source data, you can’t know where your best leads are coming from. In this scenario, you may end up basing important business decisions on partial or incorrect data. This is scary territory. In contrast, when all leads have assigned sources and the source data is correct, Marketing and Sales have better data to help make good decisions. This allows you to further leverage existing resources – limiting or cutting ineffective marketing tactics, while focusing on the ones that are working to obtain new leads. 

Quality Existing Leads

Now that best practice source assignment processes are in order, it’s time to ensure that we are able to get a quick read on the quality of the existing leads. Additionally, we want to build a process that updates our understanding of the leads as they interact more or less with our brand. Sounds valuable, right? Stay tuned – in our next blog, we introduce Gold Standard Lead Scoring to help you accomplish just that.

Anxious to learn more about the Gold Standard? Check out this info, or contact us at

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At Digital Pi, we use technology to connect revenue to marketing efforts. We fuse marketing strategies, processes, data and applications to make marketing technology solutions work for clients' businesses.

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