Less Newton, More Planck – Bringing Marketing into the 20th Century

That wasn’t a typo, we’re still in the 19th.

Most marketing efforts are rooted in the Newtonian view of the universe. According to this view, everything is a grand machine of gears and cogs and levers. Press here and the contraption moves there, same time every time.

Then along came quantum mechanics and the Newton model was finished. In the 1920s.

Quantum theory turns Newton on its head. There is no objective reality. Cause and effect is relative. Everything is interdependent.

When Alia and I speak at conferences, the vast majority of questions we get are Newtonian: what’s the best day to send email? How can search engine optimization increase our completion rate? What’s an OK unsubscribe rate?

And lately the mother of all Newtonian questions  — how can you attribute your outbound efforts (email, direct mail, Facebook, etc.) to your returns, channel by channel, in a multichannel world.

Give up. I know you won’t, and there are data geeks out there who think it can be done. And even if they are right (doubtful), you should still give  up.

It’s not the question you want to be asking because it leads you to think your marketing challenge is an engineering problem.

When humans are involved it is never an engineering problem.