Monday, March 26, 2007

Marketing as Art and Science

An analogy that I've used with younger marketers is one that is worth considering.

I love art, especially painting and sculpture. Marketers love to debate whether marketing is an art or a science. The pendulum seems to swing back and forth over time. Ultimately, I suggest that marketing is both art and science. Science measures the impact of the art. Scientific thinking also guides the rigor of marketers as they apply a defined process, and iterate learning cycles to fine tune tactics and maximize performance. Art applied gracefully to strategic thinking leads to breakthrough concepts, which can power any strategy to higher levels.

Marketing students often ask how brand marketers today determine which tactics to use. After all, it's become a cluttered consumer environment exploding with consumer messages. A story is often told of Michaelangelo approaching a block of stone and creating a magnificent scultpure (think of the David). Michaelangelo reportedly says he simply removes everything that does not belong in the final creation. Marketers can apply this thinking. The more clear the marketing vision and the more defined the strategy, the clearer the tactical decision becomes. Remove those tactics that do not fit with strategy and the result will be a clear approach to the tactical solutions.

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