Quantum Physics and Marketing

According to quantum theory, entangled particles behave as if they have an instantaneous link to their partners that spans the entire Universe.  Once regarded as a delicate and esoteric effect, quantum entanglement is proving surprisingly robust and is likely to be one of the key concepts of 21st century technology.  Theorists have also proved that, in principle at least, entanglement would allow people to win at guessing games without communicating in any conventional way in a phenomenon dubbed “quantum pseudo-telepathy.”  Theorists now think entanglement may be relatively common in nature.  Studies of biochemicals have revealed correlations in their properties that seem to be consistent with the existence of entanglement.  This has led some scientists to suspect that entanglement may have an important role to play in the functioning of the human mind.

Step One – Connect.

In physics, quantum entanglement is a property of the quantum mechanical state of a system containing two or more objects, where the objects that make up the system are linked in a way such that one cannot adequately describe the quantum state of a constituent of the system without full mention of its counterparts, even if the individual objects are spatially separated.

In marketing, the goal of many branding campaigns is to create an emotional response.  Emotions are just biochemical responses to stimuli – so a really strong ad campaign that creates an emotional response in an individual is creating a connection between the brand and the individual.

Step Two – Influence

In physics (and I am really simplifying this), entanglement means that the result of the system is indeterminate until an observation has been made.  So, for example, if you observe one object, then you immediately know the outcome of the other object without having to measure it.

In marketing, every attempt is made to utilize advertising / branding / coupons / etc. to predetermine the outcome of the consumer.  It’s the dream of every marketer to have a consumer head into a store with intent to purchase a specific product.

So connection + influence = results.

This is what people in advertising do every day – they attempt to create a connection and influence the consumer decision-making process.  Here’s a real-world application:  Consumers generally shop using memory-based effects (such as brand preference, past performance, etc.) or visual-based effects (such as product placement or in-store signage).  Many agencies attack one or the other.  An agency may specialize in branding and try to drive you to a store.  The problem is that once in store, consumers become bombarded by visual-based effects which lessens the memory-based impact.  Conversely, some agencies develop amazing in-store displays to capture attention, but as a consumer is standing in front of a display, their memory-based preference may make them hesitate at the moment of purchase.

At bloomfield knoble, we like to develop campaigns that combine elements to influence customers regardless of which effect they use.  For example, we may create a television ad to generate consumer desire, but we make sure that we have proper in-store signage to improve recall of the ad that motivated the consumer in the first place.  There’s more to it than that, but hopefully you get the general idea.  The point is that we recognize the science of behavioral decision-making and compensate (or maximize) it.

I think, as an advertising / marketing professional, that I encourage this scientific approach so I can can refute when people tell me that advertising “isn’t rocket science.”

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