To answer this title question, I need to define what art means to me. In my mind art is anything that creates an emotional connection with me. It can be visual or implied, creative or verbal. I have defined myself as creative for over twenty years because of my career in marketing and I do call myself an artist but I can't draw to save myself. I see myself as someone with great creative expression. I can design a product, deliver a message or inspire a sales team based on the connection I create. Is this artistic?
The definition by Merriam-Webster is that art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.
So a creation made with skill that can drive a reaction. Can a marketing campaign drive a reaction? Of course it can.
No one person shares the same thoughts, we are unique in the way we process things but we can react the same to art in its various forms. Some we like and others we think urgh, but another person may see your urgh as unfair because they like it. If we think of marketing as art then it starts to help you understand how it can be perceived differently based on the audience. This also explains why sometimes a marketing campaign fails. Understanding your audience is the number one priority because if your message doesn't connect with the intended then you haven't created that emotional connection that drives the outcome you seek and your campaign fails.
This also means that whilst marketing is an art it must collaborate with science. Insights (data) can make the difference between a mediocre outcome and an unexpected one. I have been building what I call campaign blueprints for a few years now using insights from an existing base to artfully design a lead generation strategy and campaign. I identify a hierarchy of value or priority based on products purchased, time to buy, buyers’ journey and so on. I then wordsmith and start to visualise this blueprint in a way that resonates with others.
Isnt this blueprint art when a sales person can see the benefits and is able to sell the message to their customer base? I would say yes. If a customer engages with the message, is this art because they connect with the purpose of the message? I would say yes.
If we start to look at marketing as an art, your message wont appeal to everyone so you need to make sure the message aligns with your target. There is a saying, don’t boil the ocean which I refer to often and helps me keep targeted on the message I am wanting to send in a campaign or sales tool. Keeping the message simple, the creative clean and not too clever also ensures you capture the audience you intended. Never over complicate the visual because it will always dilute the message.
You can never have enough insight (painting tools) to help design your campaign (piece of art). The key is making sure you don’t use too many colours and you spend time identifying the right colours that will appeal to your audience. How long did it take Da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa? Here’s another thing too, don’t overanalyse. Fail fast. You might have great insights and as a result have built an awesome campaign, but if it doesn’t hit the numbers, cease it, reassess and try another approach. Too many marketers hold on to that message and try and make it work. Don’t.
So if I summarise, the campaign method is the canvas, the words are the paint and the message is the art. Combine all these for your audience and your campaign will be successful.