Marketing roles have sustained considerable disruption over the last few years. These disruptions are being driven by the rapid evolution of disciplines outside of the traditional marketing disciplines. Three are particularly interesting:
- Neuroscience: how the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, or molecular biology of the brain operates. It is a wide-ranging discipline that seeks to understand how brain biology drives human behavior and cognition.
- Human science: the study of how human interaction, whether in one-on-one or community situations drives human behavior. Business ethnography uses anthropologic techniques applied to business settings to to better understand organizational and consumer dynamics.
- Data science: the processes and systems leveraged to extract insights from data. Good data science combines many forms of structured and unstructured data – both internal as well as external to an organization to drive insights into both past behavior or predict future outcomes.
Each of these build on one another. The study of the brain and behavior lays the foundation for the study of broader human interaction. Data science derives insights from data largely generated by individual and group behavior. The applications of these sciences have very real marketing applicability, as you can see from some of the sample applications above.
No, you don’t need to become a neuroscientist, business anthropologist or data scientist but it’s worthwhile to have a working knowledge of these disciplines. These books can give you some helpful grounding:
On human science:
This is such a broad category but I’d start with ethnography and check out Ann Jordan’s Business Anthropology. It delves into how anthropological techniques can provide insights into organizational and consumer behavior. I’d then move on to humans en masse. Too many books that I love in this space but consider: The US Army/Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which, although a military application, it discusses how most community projects are approached as if one is an outsider, but to win, you need insiders to like and trust you. Read Dan Pink’s, A Whole New Mind — which is the intersection of community development and neuroscience – and talks about how the creative right brain hemisphere provides the skills to be successful in business moving forward. And one of my favorites, Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing on how human interaction with marketing modes has evolved dramatically.
On data science:
Start with Data Smart — it provides all the foundational concepts to really “get” this stuff. Also read Storytelling with Data — it’s for the business professional and focuses on how to communicate effectively with data.
(Cross-posted @ AbleBrains)