It's always a contest between data and intuition. In the "CMO Strategy" corner at Ad Age today Tom Hinkes lands many blows for the power and importance of intuition.
First with the right:
"Marketers with the ability to identify an unmet consumer need, develop a product to meet it, create a brand, and then lead it to market dominance are missing. Product managers with a fear of ambiguity have replaced the creative, forward-thinking brand builders."
Then with the left:
"The quantitative "MBA aspects" of brand management are vitally important. Ignoring the numbers and just "going with our gut" can be an even worse sin, and result in ... frankly, almost every one of this year's Super Bowl spots. But the pendulum has clearly swung too far. The result is today's brand manager who (paraphrasing David Ogilvy) uses data, "the way a drunk man uses a lamp post, for support rather than illumination."
Then, pow, right in the kisser:
"Great brand marketers are comfortable with ambiguity. They realize marketing is a balancing act -- it's numbers and detail, but it's also flair and vision. It's qualitative and quantitative; analysis and intuition; perspiration and inspiration. Great marketing requires the balance of both sides of the brain. But the balance has been lost."
Quite. Enough upper cuts to the head will do that to the balance. Here's hoping that marketing is fighting back.