Employers need to believe that employees are self-motivated without constant provocation. Such proactiveness will continuously improve the organizational operation and extract the most value for the business if self-deception doesn’t seep in.

It feels positive – believing in people demonstrating trust and team-building. However, considering that the employees are on a constant, obsessive hunt for providing optimum value to the business all the time is self-deception, and is likely to lead marketing teams to leave anywhere from 15% to 40% profit margin on the table. It isn’t cynical, nor is it judgmental, to observe that it is human discretion to extract the most value for the companies they work for. What marketers do with this information could make the difference count between a double-digit year of profit and shuttering the business?

This view of human nature should be applied most in digital marketing, and also applies to all fields. However, it’s right to claim that the digital marketing industry is enjoying a peak moment of self-deception, or for publishers themselves, its outright deception.

In marketing, there are three areas where most teams deceive themselves. Most marketing teams decide the budget and plan their media buys a year in advance. Marketing plans with a year’s time horizon are mostly based on the previous year’s expenditure and have an expected growth rate depending on an additional cash infusion. This is based on the assumption that the correlation of budget to return on ad expenditure will remain constant in the coming year, which is never the case. Also, planning this way allows no flexibility to be responsive to the tactics that are proving to work. Businesses are not that predictable, and it is deceptive to expect plans to work in this way.

Marketing firms should be structured around the challenge, scrutiny, and constant testing. However, without a structured system, humans cannot get there themselves. The most successful companies have a culture and built-in structures that demand constant challenge – Amazon being the best example. When selecting a digital marketing agency, firms need to test two agencies against each other. Experts suggest firms have teams of people instead of spending the entire budget on one single person.

Marketers get deceived by focusing on the budget, versus what is actually essential – the operations of their expenditure, or “the how.” This is where the real insight lies – especially in the details. Understanding the reason, and digging into the minute details and tactics is where businesses uncover incredible insight that has a tremendous overall impact. Instead of focusing on which channels to market, marketers must dig deeper into the operations to learn where we see waste, trends, or something unexpected. Rarely are teams responsible for reporting on these learnings, and more often are they expected to report on the amount and where money was spent.

For successful planning and implementation of sales or marketing strategies or campaigns, marketers need to be practical enough and not dive into the self-deceptive zone.