Is Digital Marketing More Art or Science?

Digital Marketing: Art or Science?


lightbulb infographic displaying digital marketing as an art or science

Marketing has changed dramatically over the years. Whereas in the past people bought from those they knew and trusted, today’s market saturation means more competition for business. Since folks don’t always have the convenience of buying from those they implicitly trust, marketing is a must. When it comes to marketing your business, should you take a more artistic or scientific approach? The answer comes down to whether digital marketing is more of an art or science.

Digital Marketing as a Science

Return on investment, click-through rates, cost per lead; a large part of digital marketing is based on numbers. Even as early as your business plan, work goes into analyzing the market, assessing how to make meaningful connections, and sifting through numbers. 

In fact, a lot of digital marketing work might make you feel like you’re wearing a lab coat. Reviewing your data and making tweaks is not that much different than conducting a science experiment. But your marketing shouldn’t be an experiment. The more time you spend on fruitless efforts, the more time-and money-is lost. left brain vs right brain infographic: displaying whether digital marketing is an art or science

At the same time, you can’t exactly abandon data analysis. Data is, after all, the most valuable commodity in existence today for good reason. Without taking into consideration the demographics of your market, your marketing will be akin to throwing darts in the dark. Again, part of your business plan should include significant time spent on marketing. 

The right scientific approach to marketing is about communicating your message first, then collecting, reviewing, and analyzing response data. It involves the utilization of the left side of the brain to be able to understand all the numbers and what they mean. Fortunately, we have computers to handle a large part of collecting and analyzing data. 

As a marketer, though you shouldn’t be completely dependent on data, it’s important to review it regularly to ensure your strategies are working. 

Digital Marketing as an Art

Wouldn’t it be easy to simply publish a set of facts in lieu of advertisements? It would require much less creativity, but unfortunately, folks just wouldn’t read it. Creativity is as instrumental to digital marketing as electricity to keeping your lights on. 

a person looking at a board of things to doImagine if everyone in your industry had the exact same marketing strategy: the same logo, the same design and color scheme, and the same messaging. How would you stand out? Only by having superior quality would you be able to distinguish yourself from the competition, but even then, there’s no guarantee you could get people in the door in the first place. 

As such, marketing is very much a craft. It means creating brand messages that do more than promote a product or service. It means developing and implementing catchy, attractive, relatable messages, both visual and verbal, to set a point of differentiation between your business and every other business that provides a similar product or service. 

The art of marketing is what gives a human aspect to a business. It’s how brands create a logo, a story, and invoke emotional connections with their audiences. It requires tapping into the right side of the brain, which is something a computer can’t do. 

But the artistic side of marketing is about more than developing kitschy aesthetics. It means working on getting inside the heads of your audience, building buyer personas, and understanding precisely how customers’ minds work. From your website to your social media to your advertising, developing a successful strategy involves artistic consideration and skill.  

So Which is it: Art or Science?

The answer, unfortunately, isn’t as simple as black and white. Successful digital marketing involves an integration of the left and right brains; a comprehensive aggregation of art and science. It requires tapping into the scientific aspects of data analysis and the artistic aspects of expression. Successful digital marketing isn’t focusing too much on art or science; it’s combining the two. 

Running efficient marketing campaigns means being calculated and creative, methodical and motivated, and industrious and inventive. Some aspects of digital marketing can be meticulously measured and analyzed, while others are left completely to interpretation. 

Erring too far one way or the other can skew your strategy. You can go wrong by being too scientific without creativity or too artistic without verifiable fact. It’s necessary, nigh imperative, to strike a balance between the two. Only by utilizing both sides of the brain can you create and maintain a comprehensive, integrated, successful marketing strategy to attract and maintain a strong customer base. 

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