In the beginning, there was no light, and marketers were forced to rely on “gut feeling” when it came to assessing the success of marketing initiatives. We simply lacked the tools and information needed to scientifically conceive of and measure the effectiveness of our efforts.

Even as more effective data analytics tools started to become available, many marketers preferred to trust intuition over the data. Intuition became prized in the C-suite, and taking action based on gut feeling was valued over the hard work of crunching data and formulating rational strategies.

As recently as 2002, executive search firm Christian & Timbers found that 45 percent of executives “rely more on instinct than facts and figures to run their businesses,” according to a Harvard Business Review report. That’s a pretty alarming statistic.

Unfortunately for marketers driven by creative instinct, today’s businesses are increasing demands for marketing teams to be able to show a tangible ROI to justify their budgets. Marketers simply have to do better. Your gut feeling just isn’t good enough anymore.

Marketers didn’t always have data analytics tools available to them to enable them to quantitatively and qualitatively measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. In the past, determining marketing success was primarily an intuitive exercise.

John Wanamaker, a 19th-century merchant and early marketing pioneer, once famously exclaimed, “I know half my advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Despite a growing and acute recognition of the need for more transparency, the technology just wasn’t there.

Neil H. Borden prefaced his groundbreaking 1964 treatise, “The Concept of the Marketing Mix,” with the following statement that described the state of the art at the time:

Marketing is still an art, and the marketing manager, as head chef, must creatively marshal all his marketing activities to advance the short and long term interests of his firm.

Borden was particularly interested in ascertaining how the elements of a marketing program could “be manipulated and fitted together in a way that will give a profitable operation.” He highlighted the need to ask “what overall marketing strategy has been or might be employed to bring about a profitable operation in light of circumstances faced by management?”

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