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Critical Thinking: Your Most Valuable Marketing Skill

Critical Thinking: Your Most Valuable Marketing Skill

This morning, I was reading an article in Entrepreneur Magazine. It’s all about color theory – a fascinating area of study, really; delving into the biological and behavioral responses we exhibit when we encounter a certain hue or color scheme – and the impact color theory should have upon us, as marketers.

One assertion made in the article was that the different genders have different responses to color. Women prefer blue, purple and green; men prefer blue, green, and black. Nobody loves orange.

I wonder if anyone’s told Home Depot about color theory.

The relationship between behavioral science and marketing wisdom is deliciously ambiguous. If they had to post a status on Facebook, “It’s Complicated” would definitely apply. There’s a reason for this. Science moves slowly: the process of observing, measuring, and analyzing phenomenon takes time, as does using the data derived to create and test theories. That image of a researcher working diligently in the lab for years and years at a time? Has a basis in reality.

Marketing, on the other hand, knows that time is money. While it’s easy to see that there’s value in having a theory tested to the nth degree, Marketing doesn’t require that any idea be tested 100% before it’s willing to try it out to see if sales improve as a result. Marketing values speed and is willing to take chances.

That’s fine, as long as no one winds up confusing a scientific theory with a marketing fact. According to color theory, orange should be a disastrous branding choice for Home Depot, whose target market is largely male. Yet here we are, with Home Depot dominant in their sector with branding that is overwhelmingly, unquestionably, inarguably orange.

How did that happen?

It turns out that there are many, many factors thought to influence human behavior. Every one of those factors has an associated theory, for there is no detail of existence so insignificant that it escapes the attention of academics in search of steady employment. For every color theorist that says orange is not a great branding color, there’s a Jungian who could argue that orange’s well established relationship with safety and construction evoke the builder archetype, making it the only possible brand color that makes sense for a home improvement store.

As a business owner, you get to decide what theories you’re going to allow to guide your marketing decisions. Critical thinking skills are your friend. You don’t have to accept any particular piece of promotional wisdom just because that’s what you’re told. Ask yourself if the theory makes sense; if the assertions made line up with what you’ve actually seen and experienced. Consider the background and credentials of the theory’s source. There’s a difference between the insights you hear from a highly respected expert and random internet person; you’ll want to make sure you’re weighing information appropriately.

Remember that scientific theories are exactly that: theories. The fact that a particular phenomenon can be observed in a controlled experimental environment doesn’t necessarily translate into a seamless marketing application. Remember, everybody hates orange – except for Home Depot’s legions of customers.

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office