Artistry or analytics? The great marketing debate.

Time to address the elephant in the room. The “big question” in our industry.

No, not the “Pie or Cake” conversation-although, that argument has nearly burned our office to the ground.

We’re talking about the time-honored classic showdown: art vs. science. The advertising/marketing industry is an incredibly vast and unique marketplace. As an integrated agency, our bottom line rests with our ability to reach consumers and compel them to act-buy, sell, learn, move, travel, feel, etc.

So how do we do that? Do we dive into the creative depths of our right-brained artists, painting with broad brushes and fine strokes to sway hearts and ignite passion? Or do we stand on the shoulders of analytics champions, using data to target the right people with frighteningly accurate purchase power?

No, the answer isn’t both*.

Our natural obsession for debate sparked this blog, but our passion for marketing drives us to pick an answer. We work diligently in both lanes, but surely one must be more influential than the other, right? RIGHT?!

Rocket science without the rockets

By definition, science is the “pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.”

Yikes, lots of big words. Let’s translate that to ad-people speak.

We use audience research like demographic, behavioral and psychographic data to target the human beings our clients want to reach. Once live, performance analytics tell us who is and isn’t engaging with our campaigns, which allows us to ask the right questions and make informed decisions.

That question often looks something like this: “Are we accurately spending dollars into the right channels, at the right time, with the right message to meet this client’s business objectives?”

The strive for accuracy is why we apply an insights-first philosophy at TJA. Some agencies are quick to jump in to action and take a “spray-and-pray” or “catch-all” approach. In a highly-competitive and personalized space, that doesn’t always work. We carefully collect contextualizing information about our clients’ business, competitors, target audience(s) and industry at large so that creative deliverables and media targeting strategies are refined to hit all the right boxes and make their money count.

Strategy development is one thing, but the science doesn’t stop there. Our fingers are constantly on the pulse of our campaigns to identify successful performance and course-correct when necessary. We monitor them daily so we can proactively optimize and provide our clients with meaningful insights.

We aren’t scientists, but all that makes us feel pretty smart.

State of the arts

On the other hand, art can be defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Let’s highlight a key part of that definition: emotional power.

This shouldn’t come as a shock, but advertising can really hit our emotions hard. You’ve probably got something in mind already! Think of the animal rescue organizations whose commercials ask for donations with images of injured dogs. We cry every time. Or the hysterical Super Bowl ads that make you laugh so hard, you’ll never forget them (looking at you, Mint Mobile).

Now that we think about it, the funny ones make us cry too. Huh.

But it’s not just about being memorable. The “art” of marketing shines through our ability to tell stories. The power of the orator can add richness and depth to a brand in ways that drive its audiences to identify with them-and, in turn, make them want to act!

Branding and creative work is where we get to flex our artistic muscles. We won’t spoil the magic, but we have a tried-andtrue system of creative exercises that help brands evolve from bar-napkin dreams to fully-realized go-to-market names. After we hit the ground running, that’s when the Fun Stuff® starts. Logos, graphics, color palettes, messaging suites, ad sets, billboards, radio, video-you name it, we do it. That’s where the artistry of marketing comes into play.

Of course, it’s all about setting expectations and meeting (read: exceeding) them. We bring our clients along for the ride, making sure they’re with us as we breathe life into their vision. Everything we create serves a strategic purpose so dollars are spent with intent-and they receive a product they’re proud to put their name on.

And the winner is…!

Neither. As an integrated agency, we aren’t comfortable picking a side on this one.

*Editor’s Note: Yeah, we lied in the intro. Sue us.

We work in an industry unlike any other. At TJA, we blend artistry and creativity with analytics and calculated information every single day for all our clients! We’re an army of talented artists and methodological scientists working side-by-side to craft expert marketing solutions that look great, move the needle and make us proud.

The proof is in the proverbial pudding. Check out some of our work that was both creative AND analytical in nature like National Harbor and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.

*   *   *

And if you want to see how the wonders of art and science can help your business, give us a call. We’re always stoked to use both halves of our agency brain.

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