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Marketing Science

From descriptive to prescriptive

The marketing profession has long relied on data. But as the terabytes grow, progressive marketers are turning to science. They’re using systematic observation, testing and measurement to study broad behavioral patterns, drill down from the aggregate to the individual and produce new insights that improve business outcomes. Doing this effectively means mastering three capabilities – architecting data, applying science and influencing action.


Big data is marketing’s biggest challenge







What our research shows

Big data, more science

Marketing professionals have long used data to measure campaigns and make marketing decisions. The caricature of the marketer as a “creative type” who can’t read a spreadsheet is just that. But with the advent of new channels and devices, marketers now have access to an unparalleled amount of data. More than 70 percent of chief marketing officers feel underprepared to deal with this data explosion.*

Marketers need a more systematic way of capturing and analyzing data, unearthing insights and using those insights to improve business outcomes. Our latest survey of 358 marketing professionals suggests a small contingent of marketers is doing just that.

Among those surveyed, three groups emerged:

These three groups approach big data quite differently - in how they architect data, apply science and influence action. And in all three areas, Marketing Scientists consistently outperform.

Analytic outcomes

Architect data

Most marketing organizations collect a great deal of data - but many don’t manage it very methodically. In contrast, Marketing Scientists “architect” data to make it easier to analyze. Drawing on a wider range of sources, they structure and organize data in a more granular form that is digestible, dissectible, and easily retrieved.

Compared to Traditional Marketers, Marketing Scientists are nearly twice as proficient at architecting data.

Apply science

Marketing science revolves around in-depth analysis, not just aggregating and reporting on data. It’s about understanding complex market dynamics and using those insights to predict outcomes and even prescribe next actions.

Yet, surprisingly few marketing professionals use scientific approaches like hypotheses testing, advanced statistical analysis and benchmarking against control groups. Marketing Scientists do. They assemble scientific powerhouses, comprised of PhDs and sophisticated modeling capabilities, to guide decision making.

Marketing Scientists are engrained in science – with a decidedly different approach to research, data analysis and even who they hire.

Influence action

While Traditional Marketers still rely on hunches and experience, Marketing Scientists push their enterprises toward data-driven decision making.

Driving that shift, however, requires additional skills beyond those used to generate insights; deep business knowledge, salesmanship and organizational change management come into play. The challenge is building teams that can do both – apply science and sell ideas.

Marketing Scientists exhibit broader collaboration across the business, greater impact on customer engagement and a more pervasive culture of data-driven decision making.

Are you a marketing scientist?

Marketing science can transform the way marketing professionals make business decisions. It can inject more discipline into the marketing process, enabling marketers to ask – and answer – complex questions they could never otherwise address.

But where should you start? Our research suggests three must-have capabilities:

    How do you measure up?