“The time has come when advertising has in some hands reached the status of a science. It is based on fixed principles and is reasonably exact. The causes and effects have been analysed until they are well understood. The correct methods of procedure have been proved and established. We know what is most effective and we act on basic law.“
-Claude Hopkins, The Science of Advertising
Advertising has been practiced as a science by many for decades now, and so has Marketing.
Measurement and analytics are key as they give marketers accountability - not only accountability to revenue and growth targets, but also accountability for any success or failure that marketing delivers.
But, at times, the numbers are not used in the right way.
David Ogilvy was an outspoken fan of Claude Hopkins' Scientific Advertising and recommended it to all marketers. However, he also went on to make quite a poignant point about how marketers still need to make decisions.
“I notice an increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgement; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.”
While largely a provocative comment, it holds merit when we examine where to go when scientific marketing is no longer a point of difference. What separates an agency or marketer from their peers is the ability to interpret the data and research they are presented with, combine this with their experience, the client’s wishes and their buyers needs to make informed decisions on effective strategies and tactics. As Ogilvy indicates, data and research are not meant to replace the decision making process. No matter the technological advances that become available there will always be a need for someone to create effective strategies and tactics from the available sources.
Big Data, Big Decisions
One segment of scientific marketing that has had a lot of press and dialogue over the last few years is big data. The power of big data is in using machine learning to search for patterns and insights that are missed by more classical statistical algorithms.
Big data can help find the most actionable leads from sales data, predict churn rates and provide relevant marketing messages to consumers based on their social demographics and web behaviour. Essentially, it can be used to further hone your marketing function.
Its major strength is in creating patterns that are useful and providing information, making marketing more accurate. It gives you the opportunity to call your customers before they leave, understand their problems, help with any issues and then examine your process to prevent future agitation.
This is just one of big data’s potentials and the field will continue to create opportunities for companies to further understand and reach their customers, both present and future, through multiple patterns of significance. As mentioned in a previous article, as the sales and marketing process becomes more automated, it also becomes ironically more personal.
Little Data, Still Big Decisions
Big data is not accessible to some businesses. In these instances, they still need some source of insight and so they resort to numerous marketing automation and analytics platforms that will provide quality data and research to those who need it. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are a perfect example of this, they provide control over the sales funnel for an individual, while still offering the chance for a larger analysis of groups and trends. Data is accessible and manipulable for any business that wants more clarity and insight.
The beauty of this level of analysis is that it also allows sales and marketing to meet and merge like never before. They can become a single team. The two teams who procure business for the company working as a single integrated unit that understands the different points of the buyer’s journey and work together, swapping information and insight to make that journey as seamless as possible. This is even more important in smaller businesses, where information is often concentrated in individuals.
Let the Customer Do Your Marketing For You
The final part of scientific marketing is the ability for marketing to step back and guide, rather than step forward and direct. As the customer fills the major channels with reviews, comments and even criticism, marketing and sales are there to help and guide customers through their buying journeys.
Think about what you did the last time you bought a new product. You searched the internet, and maybe even took to social media to find out what your friends, followers and family were saying. These online interactions are measureable and provide an opportunity for marketing to assess and interact to a high level of personalisation and get ever closer to the customer.
To learn more about guiding your buyers, refer to our blog on the buyer's journey. Or to get a more comprehensive look into measuring marketing's return on investment please download our free eBook below.