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Business insight | The art and science of marketing – Times-Standard

My two favorite courses while pursuing my studio art degree at Cal Poly Humboldt were introduction to anthropology and advanced painting (particularly a section on abstract painting). I remember an exercise in the studio where we would stop painting after a while, turn our canvases upside down, step back, assess, maybe return them to their ‘upright’ position, maybe not, and move on. We repeated this periodically with 90 degree turns as our process evolved. This exercise made me realize all the possibilities open to me that I hadn’t thought of before. It’s a brilliant tool for understanding composition, and its conceptual applications are endless.

During my anthropology course, my work was plagiarized. It was my first foray into online courses, and also a taste of the risks associated with publishing your ideas on the Internet. Despite that painful experience, a curiosity was awakened in me about the complexity of people and human behavior.

Did I know then that interest in both classes would foreshadow my current job? Not quite. Yet here I am in the world of marketing. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense. But I don’t know if I understood what marketing is then.

Part of the reason I think this is true (besides a dilution of meaning due to the rise of “influencer marketing”) is that I have simply had an incomplete general understanding of what marketing is. Because of this ambiguity and the weak definitions floating around, there are companies that are missing opportunities.

So, what is marketing? Most people initially think of marketing in the verb form; ‘the act of satisfying and retaining customers’, ‘activities that a business undertakes to promote the purchase or sale of a product or service’, and ‘the activity or activity of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.’

These are all good definitions, but I think they miss something essential. The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as “the activity, institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value.”

This definition is great because it includes what the previous one excludes. All four definitions immediately use the words ‘action’ or ‘activities’ or ‘activity’, but the fourth also includes ‘institutions’ and ‘processes’. Yes, marketing is active. It is a creative act that stimulates business. And without my background in art, I probably wouldn’t have been in marketing at all. But informed processes, an applied science of both human behavior and ethics, as well as research and analysis are what distinguishes great marketing and blazes a trail for impactful creativity.

That’s why I love what I do. Marketing is holistic and implements art and science. The balance between these components is illuminating. Marketing is not just trend-following creative advertising, but rather smart, measurable and strategic. It requires adaptability and anticipation, and when applied to business efforts, marketing can do more than just increase sales; it can open doors and shape the future.

Especially now, with an ever-changing technological landscape, there is a wealth of free tools to synthesize data and inform your marketing decisions. With the click of a button, you can create a real-time report to monitor market positioning, campaign performance and more. So take the time to discover what you don’t know yet. See your business from a different perspective, get to know your target group, explore your opportunities and keep evolving.

Jessica Carenco is the marketing manager of Mad River Brewery, a graphic designer and mother. She enjoys spending the season enjoying the sun and attending local events. You can reach her at [email protected].