On the Practice of Marketing as Science and Art

On the Practice of Marketing as Science and Art

Posted on:Feb 27 2015
Captured by:Austin M
Method:Previous Writings

Stephen Brown, from the University of Ulster, in 2001, wrote a paper now considered a classic: Art or Science? 50 years of marketing debate.[1] Brown is an exceptional thinker, but an even better writer. The purpose of this observation isn’t to critique his piece, but only to touch on the concepts of art and science. At MECLABS, we emphasize the science aspect. But, I fully appreciate the artistic aspect as well. I think this debate between “marketing as science” and “marketing as art” misses the point. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Science can be employed in order to help ground the art form. One needs science to develop appropriate metrics and even suggest the nature of the creative for the campaign. One needs art to transcend the gap between what we know about the customer and what we should know. There is art in the work of Claude Hopkins, Rosser Reeves, and David Ogilvy. There is art not just in the beauty of the creative, but also in the innate ability to connect with another human being – to connect with their mysterious thought process. In marketing, we need not abandon the science, to appreciate the art.

[1] Brown, S. (1996). Art or science? fifty years of marketing debate. Journal of Marketing Management, 12(1), 243-267.


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