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Managing marketing people

An effective marketing department requires a strategic mindset, familiarity with measurement techniques and an understanding of how marketing can contribute to bottom line growth. It needs these qualities in addition to a creative attitude that can inspire effective communications, foster innovation, and connect emotionally as well as intellectually with the customer.

But marketing is often perceived as a creative industry – not one in which there are significant elements of number-crunching, analytical and technical skill. As a consequence, marketing often recruits imaginative people who are then ill-equipped and ill-prepared to engage with the scientific side of the job.

This is not to deny that marketing requires creative input. And not everyone sees the profession as purely creative. But there is a perception that this is the case and it is this perception that is causing problems. Marketing is often seen as the soft end of business, widely regarded as one of the more dispensable elements of the company, and often not fully appreciated by other departments.

And, just as we need to act to change this perception, the level of scientific emphasis that is required of marketers is escalating rapidly. Marketers are working in an environment that is increasingly bound by regulations, is more technological and is more meticulously measured. As a result, marketers need to have the scientific skills to operate effectively in this more sophisticated environment, and this means that the nature of the job is becoming as scientific as it is creative.

How can we manage marketing people successfully when there is an increasing dichotomy between the artistic and scientific elements of marketing?

The answer lies in changing the way we train and manage marketers. As the balance between art and science becomes more even, the profession needs to widen the net from which it recruits. Key to this is to communicate the fact that marketing has a strong scientific component, thus encouraging more scientifically-minded people to become marketers. And for creative people, it is important to emphasise the significant scientific aspect of the job which they need to embrace, not shy away from.

The result will be a blend of art and science that leads to more effective, dynamic marketers – and a greater appreciation of the role of the department from the rest of the organisation and the outside world.

Article source: the CIM or visit for more information