As a marketing major myself, I have never once considered the world of marketing in anyway synonymous or parallel to the sciences. In fact, part of the reason I planted myself in the marketing realm was for my sheer fear of sciences and my overwhelmingly creative mind that inhibits me from understanding words like “empirical” and prohibits me from understanding the differences between enzymes and proteins (is there a one?). I keep a one hundred foot distance from Gottwald at all times, and my eyes glaze over when reading about the “scientific method” and “epistemological anarchy”.
Therefore, it must come to no surprise that the “Marketing, Scientific Progress, and Scientific Method” reading caught my eye. I will admit, I struggled through reading the elaborate scientific process explanations for logical empiricism and falsificationism, but the last paragraph really struck a note with me, and I immediately thought back to a case study I recently did for my Principles of Marketing Class. It is stated that marketing requires a “greater commitment to theory-driven programmatic research, aimed at solving cognitively and socially significant problems” and I agree to that statement to an extent. Yes, to market a product, there needs to be extensive research behind it. You have to consider the “four P’s“; product, placement, price, and promotion. The product has to be aimed at a target market, and in order to do so effectively, you must understand thoroughly what is is they are looking for, how their generation responds to different advertising methods, what it is they would be looking to achieve from that product, etc.
I think back to Pink, a highly successful brand that Victoria’s Secret launched around 2006, that failed miserably at reaching its target market. Although the Pink brand was able to rake in billions of dollars, it did so overwhelmingly through the “tween” and “mom” markets, when they had developed the brand and invested countless hours and dollars to aiming at college females. In fact, their target market was essentially uninterested in the Pink brand, because they thought of it as something their younger sisters wore. The research done by Victoria’s Secret offered all the correct ways to target college kids, but from the wrong time period. Unlike what Anderson argues, there is no way to have an “exemplary theory” behind marketing, because everything is contextual; constantly changing. There are too many segmentations of markets, too many varying products and services, and countless changes to technology that keep the world of marketing on its toes. The way you target market a one week could change completely 5 weeks later. There may be a consistent way to test markets for most efficient results, however, there will not be any 1+1 formula that will equal success in the marketing realm, and therefore, I don’t think that marketing is a science, because it is not constant, and there is no real rhyme or reason behind the things that work. As my marketing professor says, it really all just boils down to”luck”.