Every once in a while, I get supremely irritated about something - one of those things is when people talk about marketing as an art. Admittedly, I'm not a marketing professional, though I've spent enough time designing Google Adwords campaigns and figuring out how to promote any number of things (from nCircle VERT to this blog to a number of businesses I've helped or cared about).
So, when I read this blog entry, I felt myself getting more than a little up-tight. It really was this quote:
But like cooking, marketing is all about mixing the right ingredients together to make something taste good. Everyone knows the ingredients, but it's up to the chef to choose and mix the right ones that will tickle people's taste buds.
While I'll admit that there's some art to marketing, there's art to everything. To be a true genius at anything, there's a creative act required - that is no more or less true of marketing. And, like most things, the art really only differentiates the truly outstanding top-0.01th percentile from the genuinely excellent 99th percentile. Anything below the 98th or so percentile is a matter of modeling the way that the brilliant people in the field have done something, and copying it.
What the guy at Pronet Advertising was saying is akin to me saying that nobody should think that they can play guitar well until they manage to create new styles and new sounds like Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan.
I'll tell you something - there are thousands of damnned excellent guitar players out there who don't create at that level. And that doesn't make them bad guitar players - it just means that they're not geniuses.
And, if I was starting a band, I'd probably grab myself a damn good guitar player rather than look for the virtuoso. Same deal with marketing consultants - at the point that you're so creative that you're "mixing ingredients to tickle people's taste buds", you're playing in the land where the food has to be more than just good tasting.
And I'd suggest that if you can't get results from marketing that isn't virtuoso, there's something else horribly wrong.