Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Romi Mahajan
In my first book Cool is For Fools, I suggested that great Marketers exhibit seven tendencies; they are:
- Creative and blustery
- Politely combative
- Infatuated with outcomes
- Optimistic enough to be happy and cynical enough to be skeptical
- Capable of “filling up the room” with charisma
- Great deal-makers
Though it has been five years since I wrote the piece, I continue to believe these tendencies are apt descriptors of great marketers. However, I neglected then to include an eighth characteristic: Great marketers must understand quantitative marketing but not genuflect before the false God of Measurement.
The last decade has seen a massive rise in digital marketing and marketing technology that seeks to help marketers efficiently execute activities at scale.
A natural corollary of these trends has been the overwhelming rise of “measurement-based” or “ROI-based marketing,” which is the idea that marketing outcomes can be predicted using data and that granular measurement is both possible and eminently desirable.
At some level, this makes sense. If technology allows marketing to be more relevant, effective, and timely, why not use the tools of modernity in the service of the outcomes we desire? Sensible, indeed, but only at the surface.
In my experience, a deeper look yields a different reality. My take is that Marketing is not reducible to mathematics. While deep knowledge of data, quantitative methods, and measurement techniques are very important, when they replace artistic flair and gut-level decision-making, marketing becomes tepid and monochromatic.
In many ways, this prophecy is self-fulfilling. If a marketer develops a campaign with only measurement in mind, then he’ll default to the channels that are eminently measurable and avoid channels that are more “grey.”
The desire for measurement forces the marketer into a narrow path that doesn’t allow him to take advantage of the whole spectrum of the marketing mix.
I am not, however, suggesting that marketers avoid technology in Marketing. Instead, a marketer should strive to find a balance between the realms of science and art.
So adopt technology for sure but don’t get enamored by it. Be enamored with progress.
About Author: Romi Mahajan
Romi Mahajan is the founder of KKM Group, a boutique marketing and strategy advisory firm. He spent nine years at Microsoft and was the first CMO of Ascentium, an award-winning digital agency. Romi has also authored two books on marketing.