Friday, October 13, 2006

Marketing: The Art vs. Science Debate

I am amazed at how often we marketers debate over whether marketing is art or science.

I was recently at a marketing association fund raising event where a speaker proclaimed that marketers are true artists, as if being artists validates our work. I thought, hmmm...Maybe that's part of the reason why CEOs and other departments think of marketers as lacking process and accountability, because we can excuse those shortcomings as "art" -- just as branding has been far too often used as a black box to explain away campaigns and programs that lack accountability or perform poorly.

Consider an example that can appear more art then science. The marketing of Apple's iPod. It features beautiful design, beautiful packaging, a slick user experience. Hold an iPod in your hand. The product certainly delivers on some very slick, artsy, advertising that promises cool.

But should Apple manage its very artsy advertising as if it were art with little or no regard to brand and sales metrics? Of course not.

Should Apple forsake slick branding in favor of a series of hard sell, direct response commercials? Of course not.

Apple, like any marketer, needs to manage its marketing to deliver value to the brand and while the creative needs to be creative, the process determining what goes out the door and what does not needs to be more science than art, more left brain manages right brain than a battle.

We marketers aren't artists, we need to be highly creative thinkers who apply scientific principles to managing the art. Designers and copywriters (creatives) are the artists and marketers need to manage their artistic output to ensure it delivers on business objectives. We need to ensure effectiveness and accountability -- that we are meeting these objectives; that is our master, not art.

Too many marketers look at ads and websites as if they were bright shiny objects and throw logic and science out the window. Considering marketing's credibility battle and a short life span of CMOs (less than two years), I think a new model is in order. Brand marketers can learn a lot from direct marketers. Brand marketers often look at accountability as forsaking the brand, but done well, it's just the opposite.

Marketing should be scientifically managed art. At a handful of companies it is this, but it's certainly not the norm. Check every study on marketing accountability published in the last five years. We need to be raising the bar on marketing to earn organizational credibility and move the bar on marketing ethics. In an age where customers are no longer so dependent on marketers for information (they can now communicate with peers with ease), marketing must evolve, and part of that is becoming more scientific.


juegos gratis said...

Marketing should be a 'Scientifically managed Art'. said...

Marketing should be a 'Scientifically managed Art'.

marketing said...

When it comes to marketing, customer services plays a very important role. It's the element that will not only seal the deal, but determine whether that customer will return to your place of business to purchase. This is true whether you are a B2C or a B2B businesses. It also doesn't matter whether you sell a product or a service. Don't underestimate the value that customers put on the care they receive.

pallavi said...

I strongly believe that Marketing is pure art.
Marketing is simply an act of attraction.

In art there is an incessant quest to innovate and captivate your AUDIENCE's attention. The attention caught can be or can not be utilised for the profit of an artiste depending upon his capabilities to sell his product.

Marketing is not a science because in science, when same sets of procedures are followed, no matter how many times, gives the same desired result.It will not change.

But in Marketing, like art, the possibility of getting the same kind of responses from your audience will vary, every now and then Because what marketing tactics you had used on your audiences to grab their attention ten years back will not capture their attention if you use in say 2020.

An art is an Innovation.It is permanently dynamic.It produces different responses from different set of people at different period of time.And so is Marketing.

sheetal sharma said...

Marketing is both a science and a n art.Science because it must follow rules of observation, analysis and conclusion, art because it requires imagination, realization of future events and prediction of consequences.A smart CMO will make sure he/she teaches his team the same mantra.I am happy to be part of Kulwinder Singh's team at Synechron who considers marketing as both science and art.