• http://twitter.com/r_bruss Ryan Bruss

    In the immortal words of Carl Sagan – “Science is more than a body of knowledge, it’s a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.”

    We can all use a little more scientific thinking, but Art and Science are not on a continuum. More science does not mean less art.

  • http://twitter.com/chiefmartec Scott Brinker

    Well said!

  • http://twitter.com/sharithurow sharithurow

    Hi Scott-

    Nice article! It spoke volumes to me because my undergraduate degree is in life sciences and I spent years working in labs. Sometimes I listen to others’ interpretation of “science” and have to hold back eye rolls and stunned expressions.

    The Harvard Review article is a good read. Thanks for citing that. As an SEO, I can speak and write volumes about how keyword research data completely contradicts website usability data, and that search engine data often yields self-fulfilling prophecies, such as organizing content by topic or keyword.

    The only type of web page I’ve seen that should be connected by keywords are specific reference pages or search results pages, and the latter should not be crawlable/indexable content. (A category page and a SERP should be and are different page types.) And I’ve never seen any usability-test participant organize and label content via keyword research data.

    You should hear all of the “scientific” evidence thrown at me to support opposing viewpoints…from people who probably need to understand science principles in the first place.

    Great article! (And Carl Sagan was the speaker at my graduation.)

  • http://www.slidecoaching.com/ Alessandra Cimatti

    I think the art in marketing refers to the creative aspects. If it were all science then computer software would be able to write compelling content and develop a brand image.

  • http://twitter.com/chiefmartec Scott Brinker

    Yes, I think there are many valid meanings of “art” in marketing. And, as Ryan mentioned in his comment, it’s definitely not an either/or proposition between science and art.

    There are the “creatives” we produce in marketing — both the concepts for which and their execution have elements of art. Some might say that a lot of the creative work in marketing is more “craft” than “art”. But at some point, that’s just semantics. I think differentiating between what can be done by software and what requires human imagination and judgement is a good heuristic.

    A slightly different interpretation, what I was thinking of as “art” in this article, was the degree to which we need to use intuition, experience, judgement, emotional intelligence, etc., in decisions for marketing strategy and management. That is the continuum along which we can say marketing is becoming more data-driven than experience-driven. But, as I mentioned above, there’s still a lot of “art” in the choices we make in data-driven decision making. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/chiefmartec Scott Brinker

    Thanks, Shari — I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Pretty cool having Carl Sagan speak at your graduation.

    It’s funny, but I have mixed feelings about all the talk of “science” in marketing.

    On one hand, I think it’s terrific to leverage good scientific thinking in our work: data-driven decision making, explicit modeling, controlled experiments, etc. There are some authentic improvements such approaches can bring to marketing that are very exciting.

    On the other hand, the number of cases where people are wildly overestimating (or, in the case of vendors, over-promising) what can be achieved by “science” is a little troubling. When someone tells you that they have the ability to predict the future, keep your hand firmly on your wallet. I know, this is just the natural shape of the “hype” curve, but I don’t like having the good/real parts of a more scientific approach conflated with the crazy talk.

  • Tyler Smith

    The idea of using Marketing as an Experiment is genius. It really has turned into a science. There is already a platform for Marketing Psychologists so why not Marketing Scientists? Would they still wear lab coats?

    Very well written article and thank you for sharing this knowledge!

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