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The Blog

This vs. That: ART vs. SCIENCE

Modern Marketing

March 16, 2017

5-1.pngIntroducing This vs. That: a new series where we put 2 tools, theories, methods or people into the ring and see who wins.

Our first match: ART VS. SCIENCE.

We all know that marketing is a blend of art and science, that a Facebook ad with a terrible photo but perfect targeting will not get as much engagement as if it was paired with an enticing image. But where does the scale tip? Is it more important to have the best research and analytics or does art that achieves organic reach better serve your business?

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is perhaps the earliest example of how, when art and science work in perfect synchronicity, the result can be mind-blowing. In Leo’s case, he discovered that the most mathematically symmetric man happens to be the most attractive.

Fast forward 527 years and art vs. science, creative magic vs. hard math – the duo are still duking it out.

In the left corner (left-brained… get it?), we have SCIENCE.

Data is everything. Yes, we are inundated with data, but when the right data is observed, we can reach our audience in the most cost-effective ways. We can track sales and measure what marketing efforts are achieving our business goals. Through Google Analytics, UTM tags and a Facebook Pixel, you can see who purchased what products on your website and where they came from. This allows us to spend advertising dollars more effectively and track exactly what efforts are leading to sales.

“You can back everything with hard data and that puts a lot of accountability on campaigns and on marketers themselves. And that’s a good thing. Data can literally tell you how to make money.”
– David Markovich, founder, Online Geniuses and Chat Overload

In the right corner, we have ART.

In today’s marketing landscape where we are all content creating machines trying to get noticed, it feels as though every post must be a unique piece of art. And when we do hit it out of the park, we succeed in telling spectacular stories, capturing hearts and minds and compelling people towards our brand or business en masse. The fonts we choose and the imagery we bring to life online can create a mood, evoke emotion and connect us to our audience like never before.

Brands like Airbnb and Coca-Cola create ad campaigns that bring us to tears thanks to their honest, artful storytelling. However, at the heart of this beautiful recognition comes the very stark reality that it is the underlying work of some very calculated science, analytics and algorithms that these ads, videos or Facebook posts lands on our plate in the first place.

So, science may indeed be how one encounters a message, but the message itself is what has the power to make an impact and move the needle.

“Data can help us create a better story and can make our content more discoverable, but it will never replace human creativity or our instincts and intuition.”
– Joanne Tombrakos, founder, One Woman’s Eye Consulting and Training

The Winner?

Put simply, art is the WHAT and WHY, and science is the HOW. And while they cannot be separated, if forced to prioritize one over the other, we declare ART as coming out on top. Because if your message is not creative and engaging, you won’t connect with anyone – even with an army of analysts and content amplifiers on your side. Unpaid organic reach remains the most desirable form of content marketing, and bottom line, this is best achieved when you create content that speaks to people, much like epic works of art have done for centuries. Art alone has a chance of connecting, whereas science without creativity is rendered fairly useless by modern marketing metrics.

“Look at [the data] from a different angle and you get a totally different story. Marketers are drowning in data and being myopic about what they care about, all at the same time. Data can be super comforting to marketers who want to ‘prove their worth’, but there’s a fundamental lack of creativity in marketing departments these days.”
– Matthew Wellschlager, VP of Marketing at Ceros

In 2017, the more creativity you can infuse into your content, written copy, ad campaigns and beyond, the better. As your audience grows increasingly weary of overly salesy tactics and adverse to being ‘put in a funnel’, art becomes increasingly important in its ability to cut through the clutter. Ask yourself – what was the last truly creative piece of content you put out or ongoing campaign you ran? How did your audience respond to it?

Do you agree with our This vs. That? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you balance beauty and brawn!