I have a head for "analytics" and love working with new technologies. I'm a serious user of data and over the years I've run thousands of marketing tests. But I've always known that marketing is more art than science, and will always be, more than anything else, a business of ideas.
That's why it's disturbing to see a new breed of marketing manager emerging: one that cares passionately about process, operations and infrastructure, but treats the creative side as an afterthought.
If we were talking about construction, it would be the difference between plumbers and architects. The former are useful, but the latter are capable of making a lasting impact.
Many of today's direct marketing managers are little more than quasi IT people. They wouldn't recognize a disruptive advertising concept if it knocked them over. They cover everything on their lengthy checklists but fail to ask a simple question: Where's the big idea?
The undifferentiated, uninspired work these managers routinely run often results in ordinary outcomes -- or worse. They need new skills. But many don't see their own shortcomings.
Do you agree, and if so, what's the solution?