What Kind of Marketer are You?

The Marketer Scientist is a new superhero (courtesy of Search Engine Land)

In the world of marketing, there are two schools of thought.

The first - and more common - group believes that marketing belongs to the rarefied world of advertising professionals, PR experts, and market research wizards. Every step is finely calibrated, like strokes to a canvas made by a master.

If you ain't got the stripes (and stars), you aren't qualified to become a marketer. Success, in their definition, is creating an awesome advertisement that rocks the socks off consumers or win a string of Effies and Golden Lions. You can tell these breed of professionals by their use of marketing lingo and runway fashion.

In other words, "I'm a marketer, hear me roar!" Once a marketer, only a marketer.

On the other side of the fence, we have the "amateurs" who are always trying, testing and figuring things out along the way. Unlike the first, they do not have a foolproof methodology honed through years of perfection. Instead, they prefer to keep pushing the envelope by trying new and unprecedented stuff.

This second group do not consider themselves marketers in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, they are entrepreneurs, artists, and trailblazers who poo poo the hallowed halls of tradition.

Statistics? Bah humbug! Ready, fire, aim!

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Or at least until your company go bust.

As you would imagine, there are pros and cons to both schools.

A marketer who chooses only to associate with others of his or her ilk may fall victim to tunnel vision. If all you read, think, or speak is more of the same, you're unlikely to generate major breakthroughs.

On the other hand, the guy who believes he is a marketing cowboy in a perpetual beta mode probably needs extremely deep pockets to fuel his passion. Sooner or later, your boss/wife/board/shareholders are going to demand results. And then what?

I believe that one should harness the best (rather than the worst) of both worlds. Don't bury your head in the sand and be pigheaded about your beliefs.

Instead, go forth and network with other marketers to find out how experts do stuff. Learn from what the best practitioners of the craft do.

While you're at it, expand your horizons by imbibing knowledge from non-traditional sources. Watch how children play and interact on playgrounds. Listen to the buzz in coffee shops or bus interchanges. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting insights on the bus, train or taxi. Observe how nature works.

Once you've got both, marry the two in a union of ideas. Harness the disciplined approach of traditional marketing - methodologies, measurements, media channels, messages - with the expansive opportunities of greenfield or blue ocean thinking.

Have the courage to try new stuff, but do it within a finite span of time, space, and money.

Inspiration and imagination strikes when you least expect it. The goal, however, is to be prepared so that you're ready to catch those precious morsels when they arrive, and place them to good use.

Both Archimedes' bathtub and Newton's apple led to insights that rocked the world. However, these luminaries of legend wouldn't have accomplished what they did if they weren't already thinking and pondering about their world within their fields of study.

In short, serendipity + systems = higher chances of success.

Do you agree with this proposed approach to marketing?

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