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To help marketing, growth, and engagement teams see their work from a new perspective, Braze has partnered with Tom Fishburne, CEO and founder of Marketoonist, for a 10-part series of marketing-themed comics. This week, hear from Braze CMO Sara Spivey on marketing and how it can be seen as both an art and a science.

To help marketing, growth, and engagement teams see their work from a new perspective, Braze has partnered with Tom Fishburne, CEO and founder of Marketoonist, for a 10-part series of marketing-themed comics.

Each week, we’ll share a Marketoon exploring a different aspect of the customer engagement landscape—and hear a thoughtful response from a Braze employee based on their own experiences and insights.

This week, we hear from Braze CMO Sara Spivey on marketing as art and science.

Timing is everything.

Yet the ease of digital messaging has marketers saying “why not?” rather than “why now?” Our friend in the yoga class here is not unique, sadly. I can give you three examples that happened to me personally in a week’s time:

  • The gate change text from a global airline ten minutes after the scheduled departure. I used the airport digital display to get to the right place in time.
    Now I am not confident.
  • The abandoned cart email just after I transacted a purchase. On the same site. From the same device. For the same product in aforementioned cart.
    Now I am irritated.
  • Same retailer as above sending me a “HUGE SALE” email 30 seconds after the abandoned-cart message.
    Now I am mad.

Pretty sure none of the brands’ marketers listed these as desired customer outcomes:

  • Not confident
  • Irritated
  • Mad

How did we get here?

For too long, marketing was too much “art” and too little “science.” We couldn’t measure success, and didn’t really know which tactics worked. We started thinking (in job-preservation mode) that maybe we should add some science to this art. So we started measuring everything. And the better we got at being data-driven, the further we got from the art. We started talking about “consumers” instead of people. We started talking about “transactions” instead of interactions.

A funny thing happened along the way: We forgot that connection is at the heart of every relationship. We lost the art of being human.

Don’t get me wrong—I work for a customer engagement platform. And I love what I do. Because when it is done well it can be a transformative experience for the person on the other end of that message. There are three keys to using the enormous power of digital marketing platforms to create real, human connection:

(1) Listen

(2) Understand

(3) Act

In our time-crunched world, it’s tempting to jump ahead to step three—which is how we lose sight of what matters most to people in the moment. Take a cue from yoga class: Be mindful in your mix of art and science. Use sophisticated marketing technology to listen to the clues your customers’ data provide so that you can better understand where they are in their world. Your actions will exceed people’s expectations when your creative timing is better aligned with their human timing.

Om shanti om!

Sara Spivey

Sara Spivey is the chief marketing officer at Braze, a customer engagement platform that delivers messaging experiences across push, email, apps, and more. Prior to joining Braze, Sara served as chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice where she oversaw global marketing programs. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, and earned an MBA from The Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.