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Why Marketing Science is the New Marketing

by: Jayme Thomason

Published on
Saturday, December 24, 2016

Why Marketing Science is the New Marketing

I started Brink Insights because of my belief that marketing as usual is gone and that we’ve entered a totally new ball game — one with few rules, millions of players and the fans are calling the plays (..aaand that’s where the sports metaphor ends because #unqualified).

We've all seen the breakout successes of companies like Dropbox, Twitter, Pinterest, Mail Chimp, etc. What was it about these companies that made them grow so jaw-droppingly fast? Much of the success these companies realized had a lot to do with their focus on achieving product/market fit, but it wasn’t a silver bullet right out of the gate. These companies approached their go-to-market plans in a more agile/experimental way - by building assumptions, asking questions and seeking to understand reasons for growth as opposed to planning a large-scale attack and executing.

We believe that in today's challenges and complexities, we must see marketing and sales through this new lens — we call it “Marketing Science.”

Our Definition of Marketing Science

“The use of data to inform and build a system of rapid experimentation on the individual elements of the business problem, to find the best strategies to solve to the challenge or opportunity.”

In the same way a scientist builds experiments to validate or invalidate a set of assumptions, we build experiments to test and refine marketing strategies. How? By building the systems and then making it a habit. This habit, when adopted by an organization, produces a constant flow of key results that the business can use to make decisions about their positioning, product/market fit and user experiences, all while shortening the learning cycle. I wrote another post with a simple exercise about how to design experimentation into your marketing plans.

A Marketing Science Methodology allows us to explore tough questions, like:

  • How do we keep our finger on the pulse of a moving target?
  • How can we better equip our company to compete in unknown territory?
  • How can we create a culture that is in tune with these challenges and readily aligns to meet them?
  • How do we find out what’s relevant to our customers so we don’t lag behind?
  • We know we need to innovate to deliver our brand promise in a new and impactful way, but how?
  • We understand risk and failure, but how do we mitigate both so we move the needle without losing the farm?

These questions are big and have huge implications on our business’ success. These are the questions that keep so many of us up at night for fear that we’ll be obsolete in the morning. This is also our new reality, but by applying Marketing Science, we can take smaller bites out of them.

So How Can You Adopt Marketing Science Into Your Current Program?

Let’s say you’re a manufacturing company who’s feeling competitive pressure to deliver a better digital solution to your customers. You’ve brought your sales team, marketing team, and chief executives to the table to brainstorm solutions — and you believe you’ve come up with some good ones. But which one do you build? Which one is the best solution for your customers? What are the tradeoffs and do you have a clear understanding of business-side impacts? This is where Marketing Science empowers organizations to embrace these questions, design small-scale experiments to quickly get some insights, so you can go confidently in the right direction — and not just right now with this one product, but with everything you take to market in the future because it’s a habit now.

Think of Marketing Science as an investment in risk mitigation or a nice little insurance policy. It ensures you won’t run off down a trail and emerge 12 months and $200,000 later with a product/solution no-one wanted in the first place…I cringe thinking about all the money, time and products going to the "digital landfill." I think I’ve read somewhere that 60% of the apps in the Apple App Store have never been downloaded, not even once. Ouch. Considering that the average cost to build an app ranges from around $50,000 to $500,000 (and that doesn’t include maintaining a product no one is using)…that’s a lot of wasted moolah.

By applying a Marketing Science approach to these questions you can arm your organization with more data to make better product and marketing decisions.

Has your organization begun to view its marketing or product operations like a laboratory? I'd love to hear about your learnings and successes.  Consider joining this community and participating in our Slack channel.

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