What is Marketing Science
May 14, 2021 | Chris Kervinen
With Marketing Science, you’ll take steps to finding out which half of your marketing budget is wasted and which isn’t.
What is Marketing Science?
Interview with Dr. Paavo Niskala
“I make my way through a wire-covered alley and arrive to strangely humming data center. Here we find the mastermind behind many of the ingenious analytics and modeling solutions that have shaped the way our clients perceive their marketing activities and investments. But we’re not here today for the impact. We’re here to find out the truth behind the impact.”
Chris: Hello Paavo! Or should I call you Dr. Paavo? Could you summarise your role at Sellforte?
Paavo: Oh hi Chris! You can call me just Paavo, as we have many doctors here at Sellforte. I work here as a Data Scientist. In practice that means I develop our analytics software and work with customers to squeeze insights out of their data with our analytics. It involves working with both computers and people, code and business.
C: How would you describe Marketing Science in short?
P: To put it shortly, it’s all about approaching marketing through the scientific method and using it to solve challenges in marketing. With the ever-growing digital piles of data, marketing science relies more and more on the tools of data science such as different machine learning methods from Bayesian networks to random forests. Even with all the data and numbers, it’s still important to keep the business aspects in mind.
Bayesian networks à la Wikipedia
C: And how would you describe it in layman’s terms?
P: The scientific method is actually pretty simple. First you develop a hypothesis based on your observations and maybe intuition, let’s say it’s “TV is the best marketing channel to advertise Chocolate bars”. Then you gather data, sales and marketing data in this case, analyse the data, develop a model of the reality, and test your hypothesis. In the end you will learn something. You can then develop a new hypothesis and continue the cycle. The key idea is to experiment, learn new things, and build on your learnings.
Words for a marketing scientist to live by
C: What makes an approach to marketing scientific?
P: Ultimately, it’s the application of the scientific method and sticking to it. The key part is to make sure your hypothesis is testable, and especially testable with the data you have.
You should also always understand the models you are applying and developing so you can be aware of any possible biases. According to the legend, Albert Einstein famously said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. In the business world, it’s especially important to keep your model tractable.
Science is also all about collaboration: you study the findings of other people and tell others about your findings. No person is an island, not even a scientist!
C: What use cases does Marketing Science provide for marketers?
P: You’ve probably heard John Wanamaker’s famous quote about the two halves of his marketing budget. With Marketing Science, you’ll take steps to finding out which half is wasted and which isn’t.
In practice, Marketing Science can help address anything from Customer Service development to Marketing Mix Opimization and to Sales Force Optimization. The things is, Marketing Science isn’t anything new per se. The availability and amount of data and tools has just increased in the recent years, enabling more accurate and granular insights with less effort.
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