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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Is Marketing Art or Science?

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Fight to the Death or Beautiful Friendship?

    You’ve probably heard someone say at least once, “Marketing is an art!” If you haven’t heard that, you definitely heard, “Marketing is a science!” Everyone seems to believe marketing falls into only one of the two categories, and a debate rages over which fits best.

    On one hand, marketing is about creating, appreciating, and inviting a change in mindset to garner better results. On the other hand, marketing requires measurement and analysis, two words closely associated with science.

    So, which is it?

    Marketing As Art

    One of the biggest aspects of marketing is understanding human behavior. When we create buyer personas, we consider all the things that make our target audience so amazing. The end result isn’t a caricature but an actual person, even if he or she is just in our head. This type of creation uses little to no science, though we must base our assumptions on research and analysis.

    Once that buyer is identified, marketers work hard to create campaigns that will reach the target audience. These campaigns involve copywriting and design, two distinctly artistic pursuits. As the general public receives the campaigns, changes can be made to achieve better results. Changeability isn’t something attributed to science, so even the fluidity of marketing materials falls into the artistic category.

    Marketing As Science

    Though creativity plays a large role in marketing, there’s no denying data is what drives results. A study of the people most likely to use products and services is the only way to develop an accurate buyer persona. After some testing, the buyer personas are tweaked and polished. Without data from testing, fluidity wouldn’t be possible.

    Analytics are also important when deploying marketing campaigns. As marketers, we often use A/B testing to determine what changes should be made to achieve better results. Those tweaks recommended to the writers and designers, who then use art to create new versions of the same campaign. Without that data, we would have no way to improve upon what we’ve already done.

    Striking a Balance 

    As you can see, the age-old debate is easily solved: Marketing is art and science. Many aspects of marketing can’t be measured and require a certain talent to perform. Predicting when and why demand will rise might fall under science, while creating that demand is definitely an art. Developing your brand definitely takes creativity and artistic sensibility, but then determining the reach and effectiveness of that brand requires science. The two go hand in hand; they work together to strengthen each side.

    Where many marketers fail is trying to stick with one or the other. A team of creators without any accountability for measurable results will call marketing "art" all day long. A team of analysts who understand how the marketing investments result in profit would balk at calling marketing "art". Without the numbers to lead the creation or inspiration providing data to measure, marketing simply can’t work.

    If your team currently holds one higher than the other, it may be time to re-evaluate their methods. Because marketing is both art and science, you need equal parts of both. How does your marketing department balance?


    science of lead generation


    Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/KROMKRATHOG

    Topics: Inbound Marketing