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Is marketing a science or an art? According to Adobe’s Jeff Allen, marketers need to make sure they have a foot firmly in both camps.

In a talk at Econsultancy’s JUMP New York conference this morning, Allen said that within any given organisation it’s likely that almost everyone will have an opinion on the marketing strategy.

So it’s up to marketers to convince their colleagues that they are the experts in what they do and can use data to prove it.

In order to change the perception of marketers as “colour pickers”, Allen highlighted five points that his audience should put on a checklist to make them more effective at proving their worth...

1. Become a data guru

Allen stated that marketers need to embark on a branding exercise so their colleagues associate what they do with science.

This can be achieved by utilising the data available and working out which metrics matter most to the business.

Think of it like the dashboard on your car. Do you know which metrics are the most important and need to be right there on the dashboard?

The next challenge is to work out how to move the needle on those metrics by using data-driven insights.

Marketers need to employ an effective attribution model so they know what contributed to positive results, as that’s ultimately the only way to repeat a successful outcome.

2. Learn. Then document learning

Allen said that marketers need to get smarter around testing, so they can use data to negate gut feelings and hunches.

We’ve all been in meetings where we have to decide on which creative to go with. Then in walks the boss, and picks one and leaves. Even though you hate that one, you now have to use it. 

If marketers have a culture of testing they can neutralise the "HIPPO" (highest paid person’s opinion).

3. Become automatic

An effective way of altering people’s opinion of marketing is to become predictable in the kind of result that is delivered to the business.

Allen said that other teams are jealous of marketers as they have largest discretionary spend in the business, and get given money even if it’s unsure what the result will be.

Therefore it’s important to create reliable predictive models using historical data, which in turn requires the correct staff and tools to run statistical analysis and work out where the trends are.

Ultimately it’s about becoming automated, so people know what they will get back – marketers need to be able to show upfront the return on dollars invested.

4. Master targeting

One of the most important weapons in the marketer’s arsenal is segmentation.

By drilling down into customer data marketers can identify the segments that are most valuable to the business, often among demographics that hadn’t previously been considered.

The more detailed information you have, the more detailed the segments become, which in turn will have a massive impact on your conversion rate.

5. Stay a marketer

Though digital marketing is increasingly data driven, Allen said it’s important for people to remember that marketing is both a science and an art.

The most effective marketers find the perfect balance between being a scientist and a creative.

We are creative, but know how to apply creativity to business and get results. Stay a marketer, don’t become a finance person.

David Moth

Published 30 January, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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