Reality Vs. Perception: Why You Must Use Data to Steer Your Marketing 


Before the term “digital marketing” even existed, things were pretty simple. In traditional methods of marketing, it was quite easy to track how your marketing performed due to there being one point of contact (a postcard, a radio ad, a TV commercial spot). In digital marketing, things are a bit muddy. With so many different digital marketing channels, it can be hard to understand what’s working and what isn’t. 

The average customer’s purchase path is often disjointed. Between strategies like SEO, paid search advertising, social media, email marketing, and more, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact source of sales. Because of this, companies have started to throw their marketing budgets onto whatever new craze hits. And the novelty of a marketing method is what often influences the marketing budget these days, rather than what’s actually performing the best. 

According to Nielen’s Marketing Report, “novelty plays a huge factor in marketers’ confidence”. New marketing channels are often favored over tried and proven marketing methods. And when a marketing budget is devoted to a channel that doesn’t have proof of a strong ROI, so much money can be wasted. This is a common problem that modern marketers face. 

According to the Nielsen Marketing Report, the most effective paid media channels are:

  1. Search
  2. Video
  3. Social Media 

Though these three are the most effective, the data shows that marketers will often devote more of their budget to new marketing channels without proof that those channels are producing a good ROI. Nielsen’s study showed that marketers will give newer channels the benefit of the doubt, and will pour money into these channels even if they’re unable to prove the efficacy. This is a truly poor idea because one of the primary tenets in marketing is that you put your time and money into what’s working. Assumptions are not good enough. 

Why You Can’t Promote Your Business Based on Assumptions 

Assuming that a marketing channel will produce revenue without hard data to back up this assumption is a foolish way to waste your marketing budget. At the end of the day, the proof has been, and always will be, in the numbers. If the numbers aren’t telling you the story, you should never jump to conclusions. 

Imagine investing large sums of money into podcast advertising (as an example), but you aren’t able to track the metrics of the campaign. Now, you may strongly believe that podcasts are the future and that more and more of your ideal customers may listen to the podcasts that you’re advertising on, but if you cannot prove that you’re producing revenue, what’s the point? 

How to Track Your Marketing Campaign 

The solution is to track the metrics of each marketing action you take. For some channels, this is easy— like SEO, paid search advertising, social media advertising, and email. For others, like podcast advertising and streaming audio advertising, it’s much harder, as there no built-in apparatus to really track the metrics. When there isn’t robust analytics to view, you’ll need to do everything you can to put them in place. 

The easiest way to set up a specialized system that captures any leads or prospects that are generated from that marketing channel. For example, if you’re advertising on a podcast, you can create a unique coupon that is exclusive to the listeners of that podcast. You can also create a landing page that is only given to podcast listeners. 

By tracking your marketing, you don’t need to fall victim to poor judgment. You can make a balanced, fully fleshed-out decision that’s based on the hard data. That’s the only way you should move forward with a marketing strategy. 

Don’t let assumptions steer your marketing strategy. Leverage data to make decisions that will positively impact your ROI. 

Want more digital strategy advice and insights?

Sign up for our newsletter.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on:,,,

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

See more digital strategy posts



Someone navigating a website with ADA compliance on a tablet

ADA Compliance Services

Your website is the tool through which you connect with all of your customers. Accessibility is key for ensuring that customers have equal ability to access your website, regardless of their personal capabilities. ADA compliance doesn’t just help ensure that your website meets the right standards for legal compliance. It also helps you connect with…

computer screen with an ecommerce website

Why Quality Backlinks Matter

Google has changed its algorithm yet again and this time it’s aimed at product review websites. As stated in Google’s latest announcement, informative and more in-depth product reviews will receive a rankings bump. As Google explained to Search Engine Land: We know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply…

Two people browsing a headless e-commerce site

Why You Should Consider Headless E-Commerce

Using a content management system, such as WooCommerce, for your website provides an all-in-one solution for business owners with little or no custom coding. Many website developers are familiar with the approach, but it’s restrictive, providing limited options for creating a user interface. Having multiple front ends for different purposes is difficult. But fortunately, there…

Marketing team pooling knowledge to build customer personas

What Is a Buyer Persona, and Why Is It Important to Your Marketing Strategy?

You are confident that your marketing plan is solid or at least heading in the right direction. But you’ve also heard an awful lot about incorporating buyer personas into the strategy. For those who may be asking “What is a buyer persona?” or wondering how to leverage them for your marketing efforts, keep reading. We’ll…

two monitors with web pages open

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Website’s Core Web Vitals

For years now, Google has been stressing the importance of the user experience to web developers, PPC specialists, and SEO experts. Each year, the search engine giant has been adding several UX components to its ranking algorithm, such as mobile-friendliness, safe browsing and HTTPS security, and the intrusive interstitial penalty (i.e. intrusive popups that can…

computer in front of a purple light

How Bad Web Design Can Affect Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

When you create a marketing strategy, you want to make sure that your marketing dollars are going to good use. While you put a lot of thought into developing a strategy that works to grow your business while staying within budget, there are some things that could be detracting from your marketing efforts without you…

creative team work together in brainstorm meeting to discuss branding and branding misconceptions

6 Branding Misconceptions That. Just. Won’t. Die

You’ve likely heard the term “branding” used in a few different ways, so maybe you have a picture of what branding looks like in your head. Is it that bright red Target logo? Or maybe it’s that catchy jingle you can’t get out of your head. Or maybe you don’t have a clear picture of…

Two friends shopping on their mobile devices

5 Mobile Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2021 (#3 Should Make You Sit Up)

It may already be a cliché, but someone has to say it: customers expect to engage your business on their mobile devices. We live at a time when smartphones are practically an extension of the individual. With the popularity of smartphones, mobile-initiated commerce has taken off. According to statistics published on OBERLO, mobile commerce sales…

apple ios 14 update

Apple iOS 14 Update: How Did It Affect Your Facebook Ads?

Privacy has become a hot topic in the past few years. From the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation to the California Consumer Privacy Act, laws and regulations aimed at protecting the privacy of consumers while on the internet have popped up in recent years, changing the way of how advertisers collect data. And it…