One study says this.

Another expert insists on that.

And on and on and on it goes…

But what it all means for you and your business…well, only YOU know.

The fact is, you can’t get to where you want and need to be by just blindly doing what everybody else is doing. Or listening too intently to what they’re talking about doing.

That’s true in life. And it certainly can be true in business too. Especially when it comes to marketing.

If anything, brilliant brands like Apple and Starbucks became smash successes because they opted to zig…while everybody else was zagging.

Now, we’re not saying that counter-intuitive or creatively rebellious action is always the way to go. Or that there isn’t value to be found in listening to what others are saying – especially your customers.

But here at Amplitude Digital, we are firm believers in the timeless value of sifting through all the chatter and taking all the buzz with a healthy grain of salt – especially in an era overflowing with opinion and analysis. And then making sure we do the right thing to find out what works best for you and your business…even if it goes against the grain of accepted opinion. Or popular trends.

Take, for example, a recent survey story from eMarketer.

Buoyed by the headline “Advertisers Boost Social Ad Budgets In 2013”, the story insisted “advertisers’ appetites for paid advertising on social media sites shows no sign of abating in 2013.” It goes on to site a study conducted for digital brand measurement provider Vizu by Digiday that claims 64% of U.S. advertisers planned to increase their paid social media ad budgets in 2013, with just 2% saying they intended on spending less money than they did in 2012 on paid social ads.

The story goes on to site many more statistics, including an estimate that “U.S. advertisers will spend $4.1 billion on paid social media ads this year, rising to $5 billion in 2014.”

Then, eventually, after much proclamation that “everyone else is doing it”, there is some discussion as to just WHY all the rush to spend more on social media ads. The story claims that “the majority viewed them as primarily a branding tool to raise awareness and influence opinions of the brand”, and that “fewer advertisers and agencies used social ads as a pure direct-response tool to drive site visits or other actions…”.

But what if your marketing money can best be spent in other media outside of social? As we highlighted in a recent guest post by Always On Communications President & Owner Martin Thomas, media targeting is not just a science, but an artform…and you might be surprised at just how much power and pull “old media” still has with certain target audiences.

Speaking of older media, another recent story by Marketing Charts boasted a headline proclaiming, “TV Rated Most Effective Advertising Channel By SMBs.” According to this article, “TV ads might get just a small share of SMB marketing budgets, but they’re perceived as extremely effective, according to results from a soon-to-be-released Vocus survey, conducted by Edge Research. The study found that 53% of respondents rated TV ads a top-2 box score on a 10-point scale of effectiveness.”

We definitely believe in the undying power of TV as a medium. But the problem we see with this report is that it revolves around things like “perception” and “ratings”. When it comes to analyzing advertising, marketing and media, true effectiveness is measured by things like return on investment (ROI)…not feelings or emotions.

This same kind of unscientific analysis can also be seen in the SEO world, where surveys determining what aspects of SEO are the most powerful are bound to pop up from time to time. In most cases, there’s a similarly unscientific approach at play, with an abundance of “experts” voting on unscientific testing methods. Occasionally there will be a similar survey done for Local SEO, where a list of over 40 different aspects will be looked at in the same unscientific manner.

Fact is, TV is often “voted” as the most effective because it’s not tracked properly, especially at the SMB level. And the same situation applies to the SEO and Local SEO worlds. We don’t know all the complex ins and outs of Google’s algorithms, so we guess…and we use voting as a way to confirm this, sometimes to our own detriment. You know, a bit like in the ancient societies, when inexplicable uncertainties like violent weather patterns were assigned to have originated from The Thunder God…or a bad dial-up connection from CompuServe.

Scientific, data-driven analysis is always a good thing. Especially when it comes to tracking and evaluating your advertising and marketing campaigns.

Sometimes businesses can get a bit “lost in the woods” on this topic, and spend too much time, energy and money on the wrong campaign tracking data and methods. For example, pageviews are great…but wouldn’t you rather generate leads for your sales team to follow up on?

Another recent Marketing Charts story highlighted how marketers are over-reliant on such “hearsay data” for local marketing insights.

Citing data from a new CMO Council survey, the story claims that marketers are twice as likely to gather insights from field and business development teams as they are to examine online voice of customer listening and analysis. And that marketers rely more on third-party market research about local markets and customer service feedback than a combination of structured and unstructured customer profile data.

According to the story, over-reliance on “hearsay data”, rather than direct feedback and customer profiling, can explain why some marketers don’t believe they have the right intelligence to make the appropriate changes to their campaigns.

Here at Amplitude Digital, we don’t get caught up in hearsay data. We don’t blindly insist on social media- or TV-heavy campaigns.

What do we do? Well, we appreciate and value scientific data. And we go to great lengths to analyze your target audience – so you’re not just advertising where everyone else is advertising…but where your potential customers are already looking and interacting.

And once your campaigns have been implemented…we make sure we’re using the right data to track the results.

So drop us a line soon. And help us learn more about what we can do to make your business stand out from the crowd and make some noise.

After all…who wants to be a blind follower…when you can be an insightful leader instead?

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