The Modern CMO: Equal-Parts Artist and Scientist.

This article first appeared on  the DataXu Digital Marketing 2.0 Blog

For decades, marketing was seen as more art than science. Of course that balance has shifted as more tools have arisen to quantify effectiveness of marketing efforts, and to more effectively target audiences. Data-driven customer intelligence capabilities, and an executive hunger for return-on-marketing-investment (ROMI) are the driving force behind successful enterprise marketing programs today.

Still, adoption of analytics-driven is slow—at least according to a recent Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study of nearly 800 marketers at Fortune 1000 companies. The study found that a plurality of marketers still rely too much on the art of marketing—or intuition-based planning, rather than analytics-driven strategies.

As the Harvard Business Review recently reported, most marketers still rely too much on gut, struggle with statistics, and get distracted by the data. I recently spoke with a client—a CEO of a Fortune 1000 who was looking for a new CMO. Her major requirement: someone who “gets how to use data to create innovative, and creative marketing.”

Executives are still looking for marketers to use “art”—innovation and creativity, to create effective change. It is just they want them to use the available “science”—data and analysis, to inform and improve results as well. They’re looking for a balance of art and science.

Good great marketers are (and should always be) observers, information-seekers, and right-brain thinkers who can see the big picture to generate innovative and effective strategies and programs. Yet, to ignore the available information and analysis tools and data is simply foolish.

Marketers need to become real-time data-hounds. With ever-changing consumer behaviors, once-valid assumptions can quickly become yesterday’s newspaper. If your “intuition” is driven by false, or outdated information, it will be wrong. But as the HBR says, don’t become distracted by the data—use it to inspire, and inform, but not to blindly lead programs and stifle creative thought.

It is all a balance—between art and science.

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