“The time has come when advertising has in some hands reached the status of a science. It is based on fixed principles and is reasonably exact. The causes and effects have been analyzed until they are well understood.”
That’s howClaude Hopkins unfortunately began his 1923 classic,Scientific Advertising, which has had an enormous effect on not just advertising, but the marketing profession as a whole.
What Mr. Hopkins describes is neither marketing nor science. Good marketing, like good science, is about the questions you ask not the answers you give nor the knowledge you think you have.
In actuality, science is full of doubt and uncertainty. Let’s take the two most influential scientific advances of the past few centuries: Einstein’s relativity and Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
Are these theories proven? Certainly not. Do they have principles that are “fixed and exact?” Not really.
These ideas are important not because they are true without a doubt, but because they produce useful predictions. They allow us to make things that improve our society, like antibiotics, nuclear power andGPS devices.