Is Marketing Management an Art or a Science?

 

EXAM QUESTION

Answer all parts of the question and submit all together in one file (Word or rich text format). Please follow carefully the instructions above. 
Question. Argue FOR statement (A). Then argue FOR statement (B). The task is to argue FOR statement A and separately FOR statement B in the debate, and submit both arguments in one file of about 1500 words total.
Support your comments with evidence, not just your opinion. 
Art or Science (MM15 p. 683): (A) Marketing management is largely an artistic exercise and therefore highly subjective; more of an art than a science; (B) Marketing management is largely a scientific exercise with well-established guidelines and criteria; more of a science than an art.

Is Marketing Management an Art or a Science?

Some observers maintain that good marketing is mostly an art and does not lend itself to rigorous analysis and deliberation. Others contend it is a highly disciplined enterprise that shares much with other business disciplines.
 (A) Marketing management is largely an artistic exercise and therefore highly subjective; more of an art than a science
Ans: The entire marketing process is based on the 4P’s of marketing namely, product, place, price, and promotion. It is about understanding the various nuances of human behavior and identify the needs and wants of the consumers accordingly (Torok, n.d.). 
At first talking about the product, it encompasses a wide gamut of subjects like developing the product, generating a product range, brand maintenance, packaging and maintaining suitable product quality. This entire process is called product management. Product management can be termed as an art since a salesman lies at the forefront of product management wherein he wields his years of experience with the marketing acumen to judge the needs and wants of the customer. He uses his professional practice and creativity to drive sales so that it is in line with the strategic goals of the organization (Moorman, Diehl, Brinberg, & Kidwell, 2004).
    Marketing also involves a wide gamut of the non-verbal communication process which is subtle as well as subliminal in nature. The art of marketing lies in the process of identifying the right group or segment and then target the right customers which result in the search for identifying the appropriate medium to convey their messages. The art comes into play when an expert marketer touches the strings attached to the emotional aspects of a consumer. He must use aesthetics and other theatrical elements to create a connection between the brand and the customer. Some of the examples include the Andrex brand which has used a Labrador retriever to promote its product. It is representative of cuteness, innocence, loyalty, and playfulness which makes a permanent imprint on the mind of the consumer about the brand as a whole. Since a brand is closely associated with the company so it also helps in establishing a positive image of the company. Brand managers use colors to create the identity of their products like Coca Cola is associated with red color all over the world. Red now has become a symbolic color of happiness and refreshment for the consumers. Ironically the color of Santa Claus is also red, who is a symbol of happiness for most of the people in the western world. Disney has been accused of creating subliminal messages in its movies through graphic symbols. These graphic symbols create a lasting memory for the child and thereby alluring them to a consumerist economy. All these concepts of the subliminal message and non-verbal communication are abstract and cannot be explained through the tools provided by science (Steph, 2010).
Then comes the creative job of promotion. Promotion primarily deals with the art of communicating and expressing the value proposition of the product in a way so that it catches the imagination of the customer. The decision of choosing a particular model of a promotional channel is completely subjective and depends on the experience or expertise of the campaign manager in charge of the brand. He has to get hold of the complete marketing mix so that he can choose and launch the perfect promotional campaigns which will have the most impact on consumer buying decisions. The positioning of a particular product is of immense importance for the success of a brand. These functions require a lot of creativity and innovation so that a brand can differentiate itself from its competitors (Holbrook & O’Shaughnessy, 1988).
An advertisement which is the central theme of the promotion is definitely not science since it has to hit the soft corner of the heart of a consumer. For this to happen there should be a sound knowledge about consumer preferences, feelings and sentiments. Knowledge about these abstract topics can only be acquired through experience and years of working on the field. No textbook can teach consumer preferences of all types of products in a single book. Moreover, innovation plays a very important role in any advertising process which requires a sense of artistic vision without which no one can succeed in the advertising industry.
Marketing of a product is all about igniting the innate demand for a product among its customers. It may not happen immediately but in the future, such promotion activities pay off. One can use various forecasting models to predict the sales number but ultimately setting a realistic target is an art that can be acquired through years of experience (Dowling, Marketing, & Graduate, 2014).
Marketing also involves a brand-building process that is intangible and requires artistic vision to feel the worth of a brand together with the power it can wield. Branding requires an integrated approach of the 4P’s of marketing in an artistic fashion.
(B) Marketing management is largely a scientific exercise with well-established guidelines and criteria; more of a science than an art.
Ans: In order to establish the statement that marketing is a science we can again refer to the 4P’s of marketing. As we emphasized on the fact that marketing is about understanding the various consumer behaviors, it is essential to understand the science behind human psychology. Psychology being a science-driven subject and it explains various rational as well as irrational behavior of customers so it can be said that marketing is based on a strong footing of scientific examination (Desmond & Crane, 2004).
    As we had earlier talked about product management, it leads us to the discussion of product portfolio management wherein we can use various scientific frameworks like BCG matrix, Ansoff matrix, etc. Product management can be achieved successfully through various scientific management processes like packaging, product development, etc. (Deshpande, 1983)
    As we talked elaborately about the promotion of a product it needs a closer evaluation through the lens of science. Marketing communication is not only about creating innovative advertisements, but a strong analysis also goes behind the campaigns like financial analysis, customer reach of a particular promotion campaign, etc. There is a sound cost-benefit examination that goes into the decision regarding which communication medium to use and which to avoid (Calder & Tybout, 1987).
    Pricing is one of the most important elements of the marketing mix which is completely a calculative process. There are numerous theories regarding the pricing of a product but the basic logic being any pricing methodology is to attain break-even. Scientific and operational constraints like economies of scale also drive the pricing mechanism of a product (Brown, 2001).
    Lastly, the place is a crucial factor in reaching the customer. There are various options available to reach a customer through sales and distribution models. Distribution systems are developed for the purpose of proper product placement so that it can reach the customer at the right time at the right place. These are all scientifically driven decisions taken by the organization.
    Marketing is about generating demand for products for the customers and it is not only driven by understanding the nuances of customer behavior. It is established by strong forecasting models in line with the marketing campaigns launched by the organization. Nowadays data analytics is used extensively to understand consumer preferences and needs through big data analysis. These are ample examples of science being used for the effective impact of marketing.
    Marketing is not about blindly investing in marketing campaigns without properly investigating the return that will be generated. There are pertinent questions asked before investing in a marketing campaign like what will be the reach of the campaign? How many people will be converted to buyers? What will be the total expenditure for the campaign? These are all related to forecasting models and accounting which is more of science than arts.
    Wrapping up the discussion it should be mentioned here that every marketing activity can be looked upon as a tactical experiment wherein the companies make a critical observation, try to interpret those data points gathered through observation and come up with a solution for the issues. It is high time that we shed the veil of creativity from marketing as nowadays in the age of data and computing every creativity is a handmaiden of data. It is often the attitude of marketers that whenever their projected and calculated campaigns fail then they start crying foul about marketing, that it is a chance affair and cannot be judged or predicted in advance. Actually this is not the case, these failures are examples of wrong planning or execution which have a sound scientific reasons for failure (“Marketing is an art or science,” 2003).
 

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References

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Brown, S. (2001). Art or Science? Fifty Years of Marketing Debate. The Marketing Review, 2, 89–119.
Calder, B. J., & Tybout, A. M. (1987). What consumer research is...? Journal of Consumer Research, 14(1), 136. Doi: 10.1086/209101
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Desmond, J., & Crane, A. (2004). Morality and the consequences of marketing action. Journal of Business Research, 57(11), 1222–1230. Doi: 10.1016/s0148-2963(02)00452-6
Dowling, G., Marketing, & Graduate, A. (2014). Art and science of marketing. . Retrieved from http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269617.001.0001/acprof-9780199269617
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Moorman, C., Diehl, K., Brinberg, D., & Kidwell, B. (2004). Subjective knowledge, search locations, and consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(3), 673–680. Doi: 10.1086/425102
Steph. (2010, July 20). Is marketing an art, a science, or Both? Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.whitehatmedia.com/blog/marketing-art-science-or-both
Torok, G. Marketing - art or science? Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.torok.com/articles/marketing/MarketingArtorScience.html

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