06 February 2017 by Ben Verleysen - BBN Belgium

Marketing = Science + gut feeling

Computers and software are taking over many of our core tasks in marketing. Gut feeling can't be dictated to or coded, though. However important hard science and analyses might be, you need to mix them with a gentle dose of gut feeling to achieve successful campaigns.

To measure is to know

ROI and marketing automation, target groups and personas, user experience and marketing performance… marketing is steadily evolving into a science. An objectively measurable discipline, focusing on:

  • consumer behaviour and its analysis;
  • consumer requirements and how to understand and predict them;
  • the right moment, the right target group and message and how to arrive at a winning combo;
  • technology and software and how to use them to automate processes and measure results.

You have to analyse to learn. Digitalisation exposes the 'secrets' of your target groups: where they click, what they read, how long they stay on a page and what they share. You also gain insight into their buying behaviour, family situation and interests. In other words, technology helps you analyse requirements and compile personalised customer journey profiles, to whom you send the right communication at the right moment.

Don’t waste your time – and money

What are individual consumers' movements? And where are they in the sales funnel? Marketing is no longer about the masses; it's about individuals. In the past there was a tactic: push – pushing through one message for everyone. In those days, the media world was far simpler and customers and agencies asked themselves few questions. After all, it was impossible to measure success or waste – luckily.

Now, however, marketing's rapid evolution into a science means the waste element is measurable. The result? Pull marketing: expertly transforming clear conclusions and analyses into well-thought-out applications and optimisations – and therefore attracting certain consumers with a targeted message. Thanks to marketing science, software and technology, nowadays we can gear our message more efficiently to potential and/or existing customers. 



A message is gut feeling

Had you really connect with your target group? The data give you insight and knowledge into consumer behaviour, but marketing is more than that. Communication is about emotional perception. And that is what my question is about: are we, because of that science, losing the art of forging emotional bonds with our target group and responding to their values and requirements? My answer is simple: never let science get the upper hand

Software is for analysing. But don't let it dictate or distract at the cost of the consumer. Because even if each link is perfectly coordinated, it is ultimately the message that determines your success; the message has to touch and convince its recipient. In the end it all boils down to the consumer and his or her behaviour.

Emotion or science?

Is marketing emotion or science? It's actually about the perfect mix; these days you can't have one without the other. A campaign will only reap success if you go for the right blend of figures and feeling, measuring and emotion.
Copywriter Don Draper hits the nail on the head in this Mad Men clip: ride on the carousel of emotions… the last seven seconds are awesome!

To summarise briefly

  • Gear your marketing to individuals, rather than the masses
  • Use marketing science as a tool, not a rule
  • Create campaigns in which figures and feeling reinforce one another, not where one is ignored