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A marriage of art and science

George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

In this blog we have been arguing that man is not primarily a rational creature, but emotional, social and collaborative. We like to think we are logical but it is “unreason” that rules us most of the time.

And being unreasonable is at the root of creativity. Creativity itself cannot be engineered or built to order. Slavishly following rules supposedly formulated on the basis of empirical, scientific evidence, is no substitute for creativity, and rarely produces exciting marketing campaigns. 

But how you implement your creativity can be scientific and well-engineered. As such, we believe B2B marketing should be the perfect blend of art and science.

For instance, earlier in this blog we’ve given the worship of metrics a bit of a bashing, but only when it is used as a substitute for creativity. Metrics, particularly in the digital age, are amazingly powerful tools that can help us track the entire buying journey and compare the effectiveness of media types and messaging approaches.

We can map digital behaviour in increasingly sophisticated ways with a level of analysis that old school direct marketers could only have dreamed about. But search, say, is crap at telling a story. The analytical tools at our disposal certainly helps us plan, target and measure effectiveness, but campaigns that tend to be the most effective and win Effie awards also tend to be the most creative.

We argue that to be effective you also have to be creatively brave.

In my next few posts I’ll explore what role marketing communications should play in any business, how we can get our creative juices flowing to come up with those 'Big Ideas'.

Our methods aren’t the only ones by any means and the last thing we want to be is prescriptive. This is meant to be a collaborative exercise and the catalyst for a deeper conversation within our industry.