There are different types of marketers like there are different kinds of painters. Some painters do fine art, beautiful masterpieces that stand the age of time. Other painters decorate your walls and skirting boards for a daily rate. They are both called painters, they both use paint, and they are both indistinguishable by their job titles.
The fine artists are those that concentrate on the the term MARKETING and treat scientific technical competence with relative disregard. Home decorators are those that focus their talents on the term DIGITAL and give little attention to storytelling or business transformation.
It’s possible to tackle digital marketing purely from a technical perspective. Using Google Adwords requires little marketing training. However when we start to analyse the spectrum of digital tools and we move toward communications like social media, email marketing and the creation of engaging content; the digital tools are much less important to the success of any campaign than having a deep understanding of say, culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport and persuasion.
It’s usually the fine artist that has studied and has greater empathy with human behaviours. The painter/decorator however can move swiftly to cover a greater area with much less training.
Paco Underhill wrote in his book Why We Buy:
“The Science of shopping is a hybrid discipline. It’s part physical science, part social science, and only part science at all, for it is also an art.”
So I’ll ask the question again: Can you be a ‘digital’ marketer and know little about marketing theory? The answer must therefore be yes. A digital marketer can get going without understanding the art of marketing. It would also be true to say that to be an expert digital ‘fine artist’ marketer, understanding the science is now an unavoidable inconvenience.