Marketing — Art or Science?

As marketing consultants, we’re privileged to be meeting with a variety of different types of businesses and organisations every day.

One meeting will be with a law firm, the next with a plumber, the next with a national not-for-profit. Each of them operates in different industries, have different life stories and different approaches to marketing, yet they all ask the same question, “how do you know if a marketing campaign will work?”.

Many see marketing as an artform — something that requires gut feeling, intuition, and creative thinking. Others see it as a science — a logical thought process that can be followed to achieve definitive results. I believe marketing starts as an art and becomes a science. Let me explain.

If you’re new to marketing, it is near impossible to determine if a marketing campaign is going to work for you.

Anyone who tells you they can may suffer from a case of overconfidence. I believe successful marketing is when advertising generates enquiries at a cost that is manageable for the business. As a business owner, I’m often amazed at how advertising initiatives I expect to work don’t, and vice versa. Over the past five years, I’ve become convinced that marketing is about trial and error, and measurements. Nothing more, nothing less.

After comprehensive trial and error with different adverts through different mediums, you’ll start to get a clear picture of how your marketing works, enabling you to make data-driven decisions. As an example, at Helium, when advertising our One Day Website offering on radio, we can tell you:

  • Our ROI as an exact percentage.
  • How many days it will take a listener to take action.
  • The time it will take them to make a decision.
  • How many of those people will say “yes”.

While I can’t share the specific figures, I can tell you they are indeed precise. When you reach this level of specificity, you know your marketing has graduated to “Science Status”. It takes years of trial and error to get to this place, and sadly there are no shortcuts for bypassing the investment of time and money.

Unfortunately, it seems for most businesses to justify marketing science and advertising spend, they need to be in decline.

However, at this point it’s too late. The cash reserves have already been burnt, time is of the essence, and the client needs to hit a home run to revive the business. This includes the law firm who has relied on word of mouth for 20 years but is now doing it tough for the first time, the plumber who has enjoyed years of fruit from a preferred partnership which has come to a close, and the not-for-profit who has an ageing donor base.

At Helium, we believe in helping the underdogs who are exceptional at what they do, but need help to rise above the rest. If that’s you, we’re here to help. Just don’t wait until it’s too late.
— Scott Ingram, Director