I would like to suggest that good advertising decisions have less to do with the ‘intuition’ of any individual, and much more to do with the quality of the conversation that is allowed to take place between those who share responsibility for the outcome. Research should inform that conversation, but not replace it. The process of judgement should involve data (qualitative and quantitative), well grounded theoretical perspectives, observation, experiment, hunch (or taste, or gut-feel, or even intuition), but above all, dialogue and learning.
This would have something in common with what Schön called ‘reflection in action’. He discovered that the work of skilled professionals did not consist in having a sudden revelation, but in trying things out, talking things through, playing about, testing ideas and so allowing the ‘right’ solution to emerge. To do this as a group requires that its members practise certain habits. They need to listen well, to avoid becoming too attached to their own ideas, to accept uncertainty and to take risks. Holding the conversational space open until a consensus emerges, and staying open to data or observations that invite us to consider that we may have been mistaken, are not things that all agency or marketing people find easy to do.
But it may be that the best chance of improving the quality of advertising decisions lies in paying attention to these processes and seeking to improve them.” —Is creative and planner intuition a better predictor of effectiveness than pre-testing?