Do some marketers have science in the bones?

Recently, Matthew Grant (Managing Editor at MarketingProfs) wrote a thought-provoking article entitled “Why Aren’t Most Marketers Running Tests? (It’s Not That Hard)”.  I wondered if some people just enjoy testing more than others. If so, it would probably be an interest held through life, so my hypothesis was that university degrees might predict an inclination for science. I made a list of marketers I know or have worked with.  I bucketed them by whether I’ve observed them to be “frequent testers”, and then I looked up their degrees.  Names withheld, here are the results:

Marketers who test frequently Degree Marketers who don’t test much Degree
A B.S. Business H B.A. Intl Business
B B.S. Marketing I B.S. Marketing
C B.A. Economics J B.A. English
D B.S. Finance K B.A. Marketing
E B.A. Economics L B.A. Sociology
F B.S. Financial Mgmt M B.A. Marketing
G B.S. Engineering N B.A. English & Comm.

 

Everyone whom I thought of as “a tester” had either a Bachelors of Science (5 of 7) or a Bachelor of Arts in Economics  (2 of 7).  Almost everyone I thought of a “non-tester” had a Bachelor of Arts (6 of 7).  I was surprised at how predictive the degree seems to be, at least on this small sample from my personal experience.  It’s a small sample—so try this on your friends and let me know.

Last week I wrote that B2B marketers get reliable learning from their testing only if they use The Scientific Method. (Start with a hypothesis and then run tests on the predictions.)  Is it possible that people trained in a scientific discipline are more likely to apply the scientific method?  If so, then these are the folks who might find testing to be a more productive use of time. Whatever the answer, I’m sure that both camps produce their share of excellent marketers, and I’m sure that marketing teams benefit from mixing the two together.

If you want do great testing, do you need to hire a data scientist?  Not necessarily. But I see it happening. Salesforce.com hired a engineering PhD to model patterns in customer retention and upsell.  It’s been awhile since the head of Concur marketing foreshadowed it at the Eloqua conference, but he was probably right: “You all need marketing nerds.”

Jason Garoutte

 

Jason runs product, marketing, and US operations. Prior to joining Mintigo, Jason spent 7 years helping to grow salesforce.com as VP of Sales Operations and subsequently VP of Product Marketing. Before that, he was an entrepreneur and product marketer at innovative software companies Blue Martini Software and nQuire Software. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and a B.S. in engineering from Stanford.