Marketing Science deals with the fundamental principles and laws of marketing, the side of buying and the side of selling. Its goal is to develop generalisable knowledge and scientific laws, which forms the basis for evidence-based marketing. Marketing Science begins to influence the marketing profession fundamentally by de-mystyfing many marketing myths and uncovering widespread but false theories. An understanding of marketing science and its main findings is essential for the effective and efficient management of marketing activities, and a reliable forecasting of marketing results. Marketing Science uncovers the underlying patterns of customer behaviour and is based on empirical generalizations.
Empirical generalizations are recurring pattern of events that occur via a range of different conditions. They are also called natural or empirical laws and form the building blocks of scientific theory. History shows that scientific theories that are not based on empirical laws have often been disproved over time. Empirical generalizations thus questioning widespread understanding theories of growth, loyalty, purchasing patterns, positioning, social media marketing, price management, target marketing etc. which have not been adequately empirically tested.
Marketing Science in Practice
Bain & Company has partnered with Kantar Worldpanel to analyse the shopping behaviour in the Chinese FMCG market over a period of three years:
- “What Chinese shoppers really do but will never tell you” (four reports in 2012)
- “Growing brands by understanding what Chinese shoppers really do” (two reports in 2013)
- “Chinese shoppers: Evolving behaviors in a challenging environment” (two reports in 2014)
The reports provide a good understanding how to apply marketing science for your daily marketing practice. The key takeaway is that marketeers must invest in three main brand assets: Memory structures, In-store Assets and Product Portfolio. These assets are the key drivers for brand growth.
A good starting point for marketing science is the book “How brands grow – What Marketers don’t know.” by Byron Sharp. The reports from Bain & Company and Kantar Worldpanel proof the concepts introduced in this book for the Chinese FMCG market.