Art or science? Which discipline drives great marketing?
It’s a common debate: is marketing an art or is it a science?
On the one hand, marketing has to grab attention, and often the best way to do that is through creative imagery. But does that mean that creativity should have free reign, or do we need science and data to steer it in the right direction?
Marketing is about connecting a business with an audience, and the best way to do that is through creativity and understanding how people think. However, you also need to know your audience, which means researching what motivates them and using that data to direct creative content.
When it comes to balancing art and science of marketing, it’s important to know the strengths of both and how to leverage them.
The art of marketing
Humans have always connected to one another through storytelling.
When it comes to marketing your business or product, it’s important to engage audiences the same way. The ‘art’ of marketing is all about creativity and connecting with audiences through story. Art plays with subject matter in abstract ways. You’re left asking yourself:
- How does this make me feel?
- Why is this imagery capturing my attention?
- How does this connect with my story?
Art plays with emotions. Feelings, of course, impact our decision-making as consumers. Being able to create an emotional connection to your audience can be the key to a wildly successful marketing campaign.
A great example of this is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke with…” campaign. Through something as simple as printing people’s names on their products, the company was able to engage with their audience on a personal level, while at the same time, reaching a wide demographic.
Creative marketing is also about being unique. Tell a story but tell it in a way that’s going to hold attention and make your audience want to learn more. This takes input from a range of creatives, from writers to artists to graphic designers.
The science of marketing
Knowing your audience is the key to successful content marketing.
While a successful marketing campaign has to be creative and unique, it also needs to be aimed at target markets or people who are receptive to your messages. The science of marketing uses market research and data to figure out:
- How does my audience think?
- What are their habits and spending patterns?
- What is the best way to engage them?
- What are the current trends my audience cares about?
- What is the future of this market?
The marketing landscape has shifted significantly since the internet and growth of social media. Advertising is no longer just about visually creative content, but about using data to understand how that content impacts an audience.
Through data, marketers are able to analyse trends, know when the best time to engage with their customers is, and determine whether their content is successful.
“In the age of the Internet, marketing has become a science of speed and precisions”
Julie Zhou, AdRoll
Part of the reason behind the “Share a Coke” campaign’s success was because of the science. Through market research, Coca-Cola’s marketing team discovered that their consumers felt Coca-Cola was not connecting with them on a personal level. This data was the drive behind the campaign and key part of why it worked.
Art and science: working together to create successful content
Finding a balance between art and science of marketing can be tough.
If you focus too much on the science, your content can become boring, generic and fail to engage audiences. On the other hand, if you focus too much on the art without analysing the data, you’ll fail to know whether you’re content is really engaging and working for your audience. You might even be targeting the wrong people with your messaging.
Some of us will be more skilled in the art of storytelling, while others have the scientific skills to analyse data and strategise. Finding the right balance between art and science can make for truly creative and successful content.
If you need help working out your next move, we can provide a balanced perspective. Give us a call or drop us a line.