Wednesday, April 8, 2015

__________ - Art or Science?

Even before screens (BS) and blogs, it was not uncommon to run across article headlines with the alluring "-Art or Science?" phrase. Article content that followed was usually a disappointment then, and, as I peruse business feeds today, not much has changed. Authors in the blogosphere continue to tack this academic challenge onto subject headlines as if the phrase is forever fresh. Oh, the banality!

Readers, steer clear. Writers, think twice. It’s easy to rationalize such a headline hit. After all, there is an art or science in just about every subject. See for yourself how desperately effortless it is to fill in the blank before Art or Science with whatever: Marketing, Sales, Accounting, IT, Website Design, Programming, Management, Dog Sitting, etc.

A cynical plot, naiveté, or writer laziness?
Like moths to flame consumers of content are mysteriously compelled to break things into conflicting parts. Writers know contradictions attract, so such a headline phrase is pure gold. If we can divide something we're on our way to conquering and understanding. Or, at least be thoroughly entertained with the conundrum. That's the theory.

Don’t get me started on a whole raft of antonymical, kissing cousin, cheap-trick headline phrases that bombard us around the clock:

… Right or Left Brain?
… Heart or Mind?
… Form or Function?
… Style or Substance?

To illustrate, let’s plug the word Marketing into our “Marketing - Art or Science?” headline. Challenging, right? It invites us to really get in and slice and dice. Here's the rub: in the space of a 400 word blog post it is virtually guaranteed that the content cannot live up to these type Academic promises. Knowing this, the calloused among us have learned to skim right past such headlines.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Deep Thoughts. Academic headlines matched to suitably in-depth content have their place: Say, among target readers who also study the meaning of life and other such theoretical dilemmas. On the other hand, a writer delivering anything less after such a headline should expect banishment to the trash heap of the Interwebs, his or her work identified with the ever expanding belt of noise encircling the Internet, and a tarnished brand. You don’t want that, do you?

Problem number 2 with "-Art or Science" or other such theoretically challenged posts: consider the result, even if the article content did by some miracle deliver on the headline’s academic promise with relevant, reasoned content. On a practical level, what possible outcome can the answer to the question have on a CMO (chief marketing officer), or other manager’s work flow today, or ever?

Managers want to be hit with management solutions, i.e. My busted budget, the website update, vendors on the wrong track, Jane home sick and I don’t know how our trade show will go on, sales folk beating me up for new product promotions and brochure documentation, etc.

Bloglanders heed this message. May this be the last blog post you read headlined by the question “-Art or Science?”!

To all blog authors young enough not to have been taught cursive writing in school: save this low hanging fruit of a headline phrase for the leisure class reader. Or, do it justice in an academic context. But, please spare those of us in the business world!

No comments:

Post a Comment