Marketing has always been more of an art than a science. Sure, there are plenty of statistics available: advertising budgets, audience figures, market shares, research reports, survey results and sales by product, region, time period and nearly every other category imaginable. However, these statistics are largely descriptive; they tell what happened, but not why. What really matters in marketing is the insight that leads to a desirable product, an effective advertising campaign or a superior customer management strategy.

Statistics can measure the performance of new products, campaigns and strategies, and sometimes they can even stimulate the thinking that leads to a new insight. However, the famously high failure rates of new product introductions and new advertising campaigns show how little is really known about what it takes to make a marketing success. (Failure rates for new customer strategies are less well known, although probably just as bad.) If the engineering of new airplanes failed as often as the marketing of new soft drinks, few of us would be willing to fly.

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