It’s not a new question. It isn’t even restricted to marketing.  In times of austerity, with widespread cuts to public education and the ever increasing competitive job market for fresh graduates, the debate over the value of arts and humanities degrees vs. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees is a hot topic. You’ve also probably heard about how an individual’s personality is dependent on whether they are right-brain or left-brain dominant. The idea is that a right-brain dominant person is generally more emotional, creative and artsy while a left-brain dominant person is more logical, data-driven and scientific. While this idea has been shown to be a myth, the fact that it is such a commonly held notion is symptomatic of this dichotomy between art and science.

As with most debates, arguments and generally pretty much everything, it’s not all black and white. The modern marketer requires skills that fall into both areas of expertise in order to be successful. Marketing as a discipline can and usually does embrace ideas from both scientific subjects such as psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience; as well as art disciplines such as design, typography and creative writing.

Whether or not it’s an equal split between the two areas is of course debatable and may even depend on what your understanding of marketing as a discipline is and what it involves as a profession. For me, marketing is much more than the idea of how to attract customers and generate sales. It’s all about knowing and understanding your customer and building every aspect of the business around them. Taking this definition, the central concept requires a scientific approach. In order to determine a customer’s needs and how to satisfy them, we must develop scientific methods to do so. Such methods allow us to develop strategies based on actual data.

However it is not enough for marketers to view customers as numbers on a piece of paper. Human behavior is full of nuances that can only really be understood through developing an emotional connection, this requires skills that can’t be found in the field of science. This is where the ability to connect with people through writing, photography, videos etc. becomes a competitive edge for the marketer.

Much has been written about this topic and much will be continued to be written. As technologies evolve and businesses change, the role of marketers must reflect this evolution. The creative genius must be nurtured at the same time as the data driven scientist, who not only understands the technology available but is able to think of radical ways to increase it’s potential. Ultimately, the successful marketers will be those who innovate and are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Marketing Artist vs Marketing Scientist
Via: Marketing Cloud