Artists should also be scientists

Not in the traditional sense of a painter, a sculptor, a musician or a film director. But in terms of all sorts of idea creators, regardless of their area.

Biologists and neurologists and academics (among others) got it straight. Sure, you may not understand or care for their ideas, but the fact is they produce their art based on something more than a mere hunch. The hunch may start the idea, but it's the scientific method of validation that gives it strength to stand against all the pushes the status quo will relentlessly give.

On matters such as marketing, however, the art part is based on what we believe to be true, and the fact is most of what we think is true is just wrong. We don't know how every person behaves or what they really want from us. We don't know how groups behave. Sometimes we don't even know how and why we behave we do in certain situations.

This is why at least in Portugal we tend to see so many news about intentions (i.e. some new brand campaign for this summer) but so few, not to say none, about actual results (i.e. we verified that this worked and this didn't work because this and this). Why? Because the artists in charge of the campaign were based on a hunch (disguised on some shady insight) but didn't care to develop a method to actually check if it was right and in what ways.

And still people get shocked that no one has figured out what's the return on investment on this medium and that medium. No one's even trying, for all that matters. This is specially important when new platforms show up at a higher pace than we can keep up with, which makes it all the more important to experiment, test hypothesis, know what to expect, know how to get there and most importantly retain some lessons in terms of change in behavior or technical reliability or crisis management.

Otherwise, we're just throwing our ideas into the wind and hoping they will fly to where we want them to. Which is actually an unknown destination, so let's just hope it works out fine. Whatever that means.