Marketing–Art or Science?

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Two recent articles are trying to keep business to business marketers planted on terra firma.

IndustryWeek’s John Brandt tells manufacturers to “Get Serious About Sales, Marketing-It’s a science, not an art.”

He acknowledges the 500-pound elephant in the room when it comes to B to B marketing, noting that marketers…

…insist on reviewing all kinds of metrics from their manufacturing operations and machine availability to inventory turnover. They launch plant-wide initiatives to improve cycle time. They pursue lean or Six Sigma philosophies to drive out waste. In short, they drive production by watching their manufacturing dashboard — all the gauges that tell you whether you’re going somewhere, or nowhere.

Yet these same executives look at their marketing and sales operations and say, “Well, it’s an art form.” Or: “Managing sales people is like herding cats.” Or: “It’s too expensive to track down all those cost-per-lead and profitability numbers.”

Our industry focuses on making their operations state of the art, yet it allows marketing to be more of a black art. Measurement simply needs to be applied more consistently throughout everything we do. It all starts at the beginning with research to create a benchmark you can measure performance against-from there you create measurable objectives. Far too often, everyone considers measurement as the end game. But unless you employ measurement at the front end, you’re usually left with a lot of quantitative measurements that might not prove your success.

It’s a lot easier to be taken seriously when you have data points that show your impact to the bottom line. Which reminds me, the answer to a long-held question in the public relations industry is clear: Numbers are the path to our seat at the management table.

The latest issue of BtoB magazine features its annual Interactive Marketing Guide. The best article in the entire issue is not online unfortunately. Ad veteran George Parker pens an article entitled “Sophisticated technology, old-fashioned marketing.”

He reminds us that no matter how exciting the technology might be, it’s useless if it does not accomplish our goals cost-effectively.

“Campaigns that integrate a sound marketing message across all platforms-print, TV, direct, interactive and public relations-will not only communicate your message more effectively, they’ll do it for a much improved ROI. The future of interactive marketing is not about technology, it’s about communication.”

Despite this realistic view, he does discuss the need for new search technology and the potential for short messaging service/instant messaging, holographic product demos and wireless RFID tags embedded into products. Which is kind of like telling someone to lose weight and handing them a dessert menu, don’t you think?

Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.

Marketing–Art or Science?
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