Where’s the art in data-driven marketing?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-the-minute data and research to marketers.
Marketing today tends to be more science than art, though it’s not at the scientific level of software development and IT. At least that’s the view of more than 600 participants to a study fielded by Chief Marketing Technologist and Third Door Media. The results make some sense given that around one-third of the respondents identified as hybrid marketing/IT professionals as opposed to marketers. Moreover, a strong majority (72 percent) reported having done computer programming in some capacity, even as a beginner/amateur.
Not surprisingly, a solid majority (63 percent) of the study’s respondents believe that data-driven decision-making is more of a science than an art, though about one-third (33 percent) find it equal parts science and art.
So what elements of data-driven decision-making are more art than science?
Eighty-two percent feel crafting a narrative from the data to persuade others is more of an art than a science. This speaks to the importance of storytelling and the difficulties that some have with data storytelling.
A majority (65 percent) likewise believe that it’s an art to come up with the right questions to ask. This likely relates to interpretation of data but also the reason for conducting analyses in the first place, bringing to mind a study in which most decision-makers said that human insights should precede hard analytics when making decisions.
It’s also more art than science to visualize the data to better understand its implications (57 percent) and to take into account what isn’t included in the data (57 percent), per the study’s participants.
The science of data-driven decision marketing, according to the study, lies in the numerical analyses and validation, as well as determining which data can be used in answering a question.
In sum, and in the author’s words, “If marketing is becoming more scientific, it is — at best — a soft science, connected with fields such as psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology. … The truth is that there’s an art to designing and running great experiments, even as — or because — the underlying process demands scientific rigor. Great science is incredibly creative.”
- Where’s the Art in Data-Driven Marketing? – MarketingCharts
- 600+ marketers report on the blend of art and science in marketing – Chief Marketing Technologist
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that certain parts of the marketing process (developing a narrative, coming up with questions, etc.) will always be more art than science? Do you see resistance to employing data-driven insights in such processes?