Marketing: Is It Art? Or Is It Science?

Everyone wants to be good at marketing. But few of us truly understand what marketing is, and few can describe it easily.

The official definition seems to change each year. All I can do is tell you what it means to me.

Marketing Is Power

I was drawn to marketing 30 years ago because I saw how powerful the right design, display, words or TV spot could be.

The right idea seemed to magically draw people to buy my client’s products or services, pay to attend an event I had arranged (back then, it was usually boxing), or vote for a candidate I was representing.

When it worked well, it was an amazing experience. When it didn’t work so well, it was depressing.

What Is The Formula?

I was always searching for the formula. What did it take to convince an editor to put my client on the front page of a newspaper or the cover of a magazine? Something new? Or a promise of an inside scoop down the line?

Sometimes a TV spot idea that came to me in the shower was a big hit. Sometimes it was research that did the trick.

How about technology? Has it changed the basics of marketing? Not really. In fact, I find that most time-tested concepts work even better with today’s technology.

Defining Marketing

Is media buying considered marketing? Yes. Making TV spots? Yes. Designing trade show booths? Yes. Developing websites? Yes. Conducting research? Yes.

You get the idea. Technically speaking, marketing is any effort that helps move more of your product or service — from where it is produced to the buyer.

That’s why I’ve found myself in the middle of a factory floor trying to figure out an easier way for a worker to tape up a box. Or behind the counter at a bank learning what it takes to convince a person with a checking account to open a savings account.

That’s why we’ve designed hundreds of product packages and displays…sat in untold focus groups…talked with people in their cars at the drive-thru while ordering soft-serve ice cream.

It’s part of the job. It’s part of marketing because it helps move products and services to the customer.

Don’t Define It — Do It

It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a new brand or revamping an old one…selling a product or a service…working locally or globally.

Just look at marketing as whatever it takes to help you accomplish these objectives:

  • Understand your market
  • Find and attract high-value prospects
  • Turn prospects into customers
  • Increase satisfaction with service and products
  • Improve relationships with customers, employees and communities

Both Art And Science

Marketing is a combination of both art and science. The right combination can result in great success.

The keys to the “right combination” are experience, creativity and strategic thinking. And one more thing: after all is said and done, you still need a good product or service to truly be successful.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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