V1.1: Art + Science + Luck = Marketing Results

If I had $1 for every time I was asked what my philosophy of marketing was, I would have enough money fund a water well for my favorite charity. Usually I’m asked this by people with preconceived notions of what marketing means to them…some good, some bad, some indifferent. The short answer is that marketing is all about perception management, but the more complete answer reminds me of daydreaming in high school physics long ago and far away.

In high school physics class you may remember your teacher telling you that Distance = Speed * Time (if you were awake long enough to take notes). A variation on theme also applies to marketing:

Results = Budget * Time

Just as you learned in physics, fixing two variables always sets the third variable. In other words, you can’t go 100 miles if you have a car that travels at 50 MPH and you only have 1 hour. Likewise it is unreasonable to fix budget, time constraints and results expectations when it comes to marketing endeavors.

Perception management is also not a fixed science. In my experience it takes:

  1. 50% Art
  2. 50% Science
  3. 50% Luck

Yes, this equates to 150% but welcome to marketing. “Art” is the aesthetic and psychological implications of the deliverable (brand, sales tool, campaign, …) while “Science” is the metrics of data interrogation and interpretation. Of course, the harder and smarter you work the luckier you get, but there is always an intangible factor that separates “flash-in-the-pan” from “viral success.” All too often I have come across those how believe marketing is the exclusive domain of the creative types (Art) or in some cases the statically minded (Science), but the reality is somewhere in the middle. Once you master this equation, you too can find how 1 + 1 = 3. Any examples you can share on you on journey to marketing rock stardom?