Please don’t come to MSIX

The more marketers can understand, explain and even predict the types of ideas that consumers will be influenced by, the more they’ll be believed. This is the crux of MSiX, explains Adam Ferrier in this guest post.

Occasionally I get really excited when I read advertising articles. The ones I enjoy the most are the ones that say marketing can’t be a science – it’s all about art, intuition, and magic. Adam-Ferrier_Headshot_Publish-2016-310x217

Why do I get excited – because it makes my job as a manager of a competitive agency easier? Why? Because all of these things are a part of the creative process but not all of it.

Indeed agencies that rely purely on the magic, with the concerned yet authoritarian ECD saying ‘trust me’, are at risk of being usurped by the myriad businesses finding new ways to get a better balance between art and science.

On the other hand I also get excited (okay, I’m easily excited) when I read articles such as this one from two executive creative directors based in Asia. Although not endorsing marketing sciences, they have attempted to codify their craft of creativity and are sharing their knowledge with the world.

Here I see ‘creatives’ attempt to move the conversation forwards – they are trying to build a language and an understanding around their ideas. They are trying to have more than ‘trust me’ or ‘be brave’ as the yardstick from which people should assess the ideas emanating from their agency.  These creatives are on the right path.

The more people can understand, codify, explain and even predict how humans work, and the types of ideas that they’ll be influenced by, then the more they’ll be right, and the more they’ll be believed. This really is the benefit of marketing sciences.

At the very least an understanding of marketing science helps people feel more comfortable with the recommendations made. Why should marketing be any different from any other profession?

If a doctor told you to take a pill and didn’t have any idea how it worked would you trust her? If she knew how the pill worked and could explain it to you, would you trust her more? Would you be more likely to comply? Of course you would.

In ascending order of importance, the advantages of embracing marketing sciences are:

  1. You have confidence in your own ideas / solutions because you know why it will or will not work
  2. You have a language to communicate that to others, and can help explain to them why it will or won’t work
  3. You have the skills to better understand who to communicate with
  4. You have the skills to better understand how to communicate with them
  5. You’ll have a greater predictive understanding, and more evidence of what works and doesn’t for next time
  6. It gives you an excuse to go to MSiX.

So it’s with mixed feelings that I write an article about the benefits of MSiX. The more people who stay ignorant (and ignorance is an active not a passive state) on the world of marketing sciences the more of an advantage those who believe in, and study it have.

At my agency we’ve embraced marketing sciences and continue to find ways to make it integrate into what we do as an agency.

We’re doing this as we appreciate the need for everyone to better understand and be better able to communicate the underlying principles of human behaviour and its relationship with ideas. We are obviously not the only ones.

In my opinion, all agencies would be better if they understood and embraced marketing sciences, as would all client-side marketers.

As a final point: most clients are already on board and heading in this direction, and many are dragging their agencies along. A few clients are still wrestling without marketing sciences as a core discipline – but from what I can see they are thick in the process of solving that.

Will I see you at MSiX? Hope so. Hope not.

If you’d like to join us – click here.

P.S. If you do come along please stay for the MSIX Awards later that night where the best work in marketing sciences will be celebrated.

Adam Ferrier is a consumer psychologist and CSO at Cummins & Partners. He is also the curator of MSiX.



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