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Left Brain vs. Right Brain Marketers: Bridging the Creative-Practical Divide

A fascinating duality mirrors the age-old concept of left-brain versus right-brain thinkers. Marketers often align with the left or right-brain approach as our cognitive functions are divided between these two hemispheres. The implications of this choice can significantly influence the strategies they employ, the messages they convey, and, ultimately, the success of their campaigns.

Psychologists and personality theorists have long believed there to be differences between the right and the left side of the brain. The right side of your brain is responsible for creativity, while the left side handles the details and implementation. The left side is analytical while the right side is artistic.


Left Brain Marketers: The Pragmatic Architects

Logical, Focused, Realistic, Planned, Math-and Science-Minded, Prefers Nonfiction

Left-brain thinkers in marketing take a pragmatic and analytical approach. Their campaigns are structured, systematic, and grounded in practicality. They approach marketing with a mindset akin to building a well-constructed architectural masterpiece and for them, showcasing the product or service’s tangible value and benefits.

Key Traits of Left-Brain Marketers:

  • Practical Pitch: Left-brain marketers craft commercials that highlight the product’s utility. Their advertisements delve into the specifics of what the product offers, why it’s needed, and why it stands out from competitors. Actors might take a back seat as the product itself takes center stage.
  • Data-Driven Precision: These marketers thrive on data and metrics. They implement custom URLs for various advertising channels, allowing them to track leads and sales with surgical precision. Every aspect of their campaigns is tracked to measure ROI accurately.
  • Value-Based Focus: Left-brain marketers lean into value-driven advertising. They employ strategies such as showcasing discounts, emphasizing cost savings, and strategically placing billboards that highlight potential savings.
  • Bottom-Line Accountability: These marketers believe that the success of a marketing campaign can be measured through its direct impact on revenue. They prioritize measurable outcomes and emphasize the financial bottom line.

Right Brain Marketers: The Creative Visionaries

Emotional, Occasionally Absentminded, Dreams and Imagination, Prefers Fiction, Enjoys Creative Storytelling

Right-brain marketers are the creative visionaries on the other side of the spectrum. They approach marketing as a canvas for artistic expression, utilizing emotion, creativity, and imagination to evoke a strong response from their audience.

Key Traits of Right-Brain Marketers:

  • Narrative Masterpieces: Right-brain marketers create commercials that resemble short stories, complete with a plot, climax, and resolution. They focus on creating a memorable and emotional journey that involves the brand at every step.
  • Aesthetic Allure: These marketers utilize the power of aesthetics. They craft magazine spreads and online ads that captivate the audience with stunning visuals and evocative language. The goal is to ignite emotions rather than delve into practicality.
  • Luxury and Lifestyle: Right-brain marketers often lean towards aspirational advertising. They create digital billboards that depict a luxurious lifestyle associated with the brand. Their aim is to inspire desire and create an emotional connection.
  • Social Engagement: For right-brain marketers, social media is a playground for building brand loyalty and perception. They leverage platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to foster conversations, create a distinctive brand personality, and stand out.

Balancing Act and the Power of Integration

While the division between left-brain and right-brain marketers showcases two distinct approaches, the most effective marketing strategies often find a way to integrate the strengths of both sides. A successful campaign might involve the analytical precision of left-brain thinking and the emotional resonance of right-brain creativity.

Advice for Left-Brain Marketers:

  • Open-minded Exploration: To prevent overlooking creative processes, left-brain thinkers should venture into activities like art and music to cultivate a broader creative perspective.
  • Collaboration: Collaborating with creative minds fosters a fusion of analytical and imaginative thinking, leading to well-rounded and innovative solutions.
  • Mindful Observation: Left-brain individuals should analyze the emotional elements of successful campaigns, learning how aesthetics and emotions contribute to their effectiveness.
  • Storytelling Practice: Incorporating storytelling techniques enables left-brain thinkers to convey data-driven insights in compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.
  • Visual Learning: Integrating visual aids and infographics into presentations enhances data communication and appeals to the audience’s visual preferences.

Advice for Right-Brain Marketers:

  • Data Appreciation: By acknowledging the value of data-driven insights, right-brain creatives can enhance their work’s impact and validate their artistic decisions.
  • Goal Setting: Setting measurable objectives for creative projects and tracking key performance indicators ensures the real-world efficacy of artistic endeavors.
  • Testing and Optimization: Embracing analytics-driven testing and refinement empowers right-brain thinkers to fine-tune their creative outputs for optimal results.
  • Audience Insights: Utilizing analytical tools to understand target audiences deeply guides creative choices, ensuring resonance and connection with the intended demographic.
  • Collaborative Learning: Engaging with analytically skilled colleagues enriches right-brain thinkers’ creative processes, providing insights into data interpretation and integration.

As a marketer, understanding your innate tendencies and consciously blending the practical with the creative can lead to campaigns that capture attention, drive engagement, and, ultimately, boost your bottom line. As a marketer, the type of thinker you are guides the campaigns you design. So, what type of marketer are you?

Left-Brain versus Right-Brain Marketer Infographic
Source: Marketo

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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  1. This is indeed a great post, Douglas. And it is really interesting to note the amazing impact creativity has over marketing and how social media trends has made it all the more interesting. One thing I learned before I became a bestselling author and long before Inc Magazine voted my company as one of the fastest growing companies is implementing creativity into marketing campaigns creates a wow factor and adds more value for customers. 

    1. Daniel – you’re absolutely correct.  I’ve seen beautifully designed and well-branded companies leap past the competition!  Thanks so much for stopping by the site – we’ll need to have you on our radio show soon!

  2. This infographic yielded unexpected results for me.  I write and eat with my left hand, and do everything else with the right.  Meanwhile, the infographic’s comments around the “brain” section of the graphic definitely fit me as “right brained” creative type.  Yet, every marketing category below it paints me as a “left brained” marketer.  I’ll be pondering this one for a while.

  3. In my professional life I have been a Systems Analyst and
    Programmer, for fun I am a fine artist- one of my favorite books is Drawing on
    the Right Side of the Brain. I am now studying Marketing; this article has
    given me a new perspective on the need for a balanced approach towards

    1. @twitter-259954435:disqus I’ve noticed that many of the most talented folks I’ve worked with in the industry have a creative hobby outside their work… art, music, etc.  It’s pretty interesting to see how much that creative practice brings to a great career using both sides!

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Douglas. It connected the dots for me.

    My hypothesis: left brain outnumbers right brain folks with marketing being one of the ways to inject some left-brained presence to the mix. It makes sense given our natural urge to trust in things we can measure, something real, and which increases shareholder value. Do you know if such a statistic exists? Also, what about the correlation between personality and actions or behaviors?

What do you think?

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