Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Art vs. Results

My recent article about “How to Find and Hire a Professional Writer” is directed at copywriting and commercial writing, where the goals are to increase traffic, leads, prospects, brand perception, and sales.  The goal isn’t art.

Although we use similar techniques that artist’s use, the content that copywriters create must focus on driving results. It may in fact be quite artful, but it may not. A couple of examples:

One of my productions, “Everyday Heroes and Leaders” brings tears to the eyes of the audience quite often – especially the police, fire, and military crowd.  It has an “art” feel to it.

I believe the best commercial messaging in all media types has an emotional appeal as the primary tool of persuasion.  Logic kicks in after the emotion driven decision is made, usually to justify the emotional decision… a truism about almost all commerce.

But the goal was not art. The goal was to use the devices that artists use to change the perception of the Motorola brand in the business and government sector from a two-way radio technology company to a full-service communications company – that helps people work together.

You can see the spot on my portfolio here:

The campaign was so successful that the Business and Government Division was the only profitable Motorola division during the tech wreck before and during 9/11.

An example of less artful content is what is usually offered in direct response/direct mail sales letters. The wording still entices the emotions, but maybe not using techniques that appear to be art.

Again, the goal of the language is to drive results. The language might be artfully used; but, it doesn’t appear that way when you read it. You know they are trying to sell you something.  It’s obvious.

I’ve learned to use fictional techniques, 3-act plays, etc. in non-fiction, news, and marketing.  But I wouldn’t call what I do art.  I’m informing and selling stuff.

Mark Twain, Michael Shaara, and Somerset Maugham – that’s art.

My world is about the goals. The math is more important than the feelings and entertainment.  Clients pay me to bring them more traffic, leads, prospects, better brand perception, and sales.  If I create something that looks and feels like art or entertainment, and doesn’t do what they pay me for, they won’t be clients for long.

I hope that makes what I meant more clear. What do you think?


Filed under: Advertising, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Print, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, Video & YouTube, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Mike says:


    Thanks for your post. I can’t define art. Not sure if anyone can.

    I can however, define marketing communication. The client and I get to define it in terms of measurable goals… the reaction or behavior we are trying to create. We can set it up to be down to a decimal point of precession or just an audience/customer trend. Since it’s about measuring, therefore math, I think it’s more precise than art.

    From the looks of your Interacter site we have a similar mindset. Congratulations on your Embrace Life campaign. I saw it last month and pointed to it as an excellent example of using video with impact; and, that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to have a huge influence on an audience and market:

    After reading your post on your site about the evolution of the team and campaign, you’re absolutely right. Sometimes I’m amazed how projects come together.

    Like you, I’ve found that the team members are so important. I often tell clients that I only come up with 20% of the good ideas, and that’s true. But, I have over 1,400 contacts in my smartphone so I can put together an amazing team to make results happen. There’s a bit of art in that actually, called leadership!

    That’s why hiring the right writer is so important. If you want a news-like piece, hire a world-class journalist. If you want a sales letter, hire a top sales letter copywriter. An ad? Get the best ad copywriter you can find, etc. The key is, they can’t be art or entertainment writers. They have to show a track record of matching their work to the goals and prove it with results.

    It will be interesting to see the long-term results of Embrace Life. I like the way your have defined the measurement criteria. Keep us all posted and again, I appreciate you stopping by.


  2. interacter says:

    Very interesting read – thanks.

    I totally agree about delivering the goals for clients and this is where the important differentiation comes.

    If you produce something that looks like art but doesn’t bring in the traffic, you’ve made a mistake and misjudged either the client or the audience.

    If you make something that looks like art and gobbles up the visitor bandwidth faster than you can believe, then you’ve got the judging and the creative right.

    It’s horses for courses and your consumer research should give you a steer on what they will like, and what your client will be willing to accept.

    Check out one of my campaigns for a similar art/goal argument:

    Having said all of the above, what about this theory:

    Artists produce work to get talked about, to evoke an emotional reaction, to connect with people.
    And, ultimately, to sell so that they can put bread on their table.

    Marketers produce work to get talked about, to evoke an emotional reaction, to connect with people.
    And, ultimately, to sell so that they can put bread on their table AND on their clients’ table.

    Isn’t that an art?

    Or should one be Art and the other art?

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R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

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