How many of you marketers have to explain to clients, bosses, employees and staff that marketing is not an exact science? I have experienced this for decades and even with the advent of big data, my explanation still doesn't include the words math and science when I try to articulate what marketing is and how it works. Math and science can be defined in a few ways, some of which include words like facts, process, order, formulas, quantities and properties to name a few. You might be able to weave those words into a marketing explanation. In reality, the exact outcome of marketing is not as formulaic as people think it is. In every marketing instance with every prospective customer, different results occur. Is that math or science?
Marketing And Technology Collide
Yes, I know there are marketing automation companies, toolsets and solutions that try turning marketing into a science. In fact, I currently use one of the most popular software tools for content marketing. I also read eBooks written by these companies so I can continually educate myself on the technology integration with marketing. Really, that's all it is; marketing and technology colliding to create more helpful usable data. It's not exact data that yields an exact result; it's more information to help guide a more informed process. Regardless of how integrated our technology becomes with human behavior and marketing departments, there will always be pieces of marketing that will be unknown and unpredictable.
Unpredictable And Unreliable
There are many things that are important to know when producing marketing. The ones that typically rise to the top of the list are competitive research, trends, knowing more about the customer behavior; technology usage... the list goes on. Here are a few reasons why I believe marketing will never be explained as a math and science equation. These are unpredictable, un-reliable and almost completely swayed by the person's feeling on a particular day.
• The prospective customer's perception of your product or brand (they both could be different)
• The prospective customer's response to your advertising (on any given day, this could change)
• The prospective customer's mood (on any given day, this could change)
• The prospective customer's price sensitivity (on any given day or month, price sensitivity could change)
• Outside influences on your prospective customer (There are too many of these to list)
• The financial health of your marketing department or company (this is linked to the ability to produce marketing well or not so well)
• Your marketing employees skills (Employee turnover impacts marketing efficacy)
• How does your marketing impact the prospective customer's top-of-mind awareness? (Top-of-mind awareness is not a measurable activity. It's a memory function)
• Imagery, color, size and frequency of your advertisement (some customers are not attracted to some of these key elements of your ad)
• Branding (this is definitely not a math ad science tactic)
There are people in the business world that expect math and science to be integrated into the marketing process to create formulaic and predictable exact marketing results.
I will do my best to give you my personal opinion gently. Marketing is not an algorithm, formula and directly related to ROI on every initiative ever created for your department. Hmm... If you're looking for this, get ready for some faulty data, and a marketing staff that will act like robots, not thinking and creating on a level you need them to.
You want those creative folks with innovation flowing through their veins in your company. If you want math and science in all your marketing campaigns and department, you're in the wrong business.