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 out 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. 

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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:,,,

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