Today’s marketers have access to oceans of data about prospects, customers, competitors, influencers, and so forth. There are many who think that marketing success is just a matter of crunching the numbers. If this is the case, then why is the average tenure of CMO’s so short? Why do so many new products still fail? And, why do we still see so many misguided marketing campaigns? Didn’t they do the math?
Despite all the data, marketing reluctantly remains as much an art as a science. Most marketing “science” consists of uncontrolled measurements of human actions, opinions and desires: measures of the un-measurable. Just because it is a number, does not make it a reality. The numbers can help you improve, but they cannot help you invent. Creativity is essential to good marketing. It’s importance can hardly be overstated. Creativity determines whether you get noticed or get ignored. When we make our top ten list of marketing achievements, whether it includes the original iPhone design or our favorite Superbowl Ad, data is rarely the determining factor. Creativity rules. And creativity creates uncertainty.
Marketing managers live lives of contradiction. What matters more: a market survey percentage point or the unique insight of a single customer? Clicks-thrus or brand engagement? Content frequency or author credibility? For any given customer in any given market on any given day, either opposite might be the right answer. Successfully navigating these difficult choices requires a combination of good marketing judgement, disciplined marketing execution and a little bit of luck.
Finding balance amongst the chaos of all these competing and contradictory forces is agile marketing’s raison d’etre. Short term versus long. Fact versus uncertainty. Quality versus quantity. Expectations versus results. From the Agile point of view, the long is just the sum of the short. Uncertainty is fact yet to be revealed. Quantity is quality taken one at a time. And, yesterday’s expectations are today’s results.
This is the yin and the yang of agile marketing.