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Marketing Is Like Physics

Marketing is like Physics
Marketing is like Physics
Marketing is like Physics

I was inspired to write this article while listening to Lawrence Krauss explain the history of physics from Plato to the Large Hadron Collider.

Krauss began by talking about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and how advances in science are uncovering reality, like an unchained prisoner exploring outside the cave for the first time. Measurement techniques are changing in physics and marketing! My takeaway for marketers – when it’s not possible to measure directly through current means, then innovate and measure indirectly. Carry out experiments to test your model. Observe the effects of your campaign particles directly or through other means.

Copernican view of the Customer

I encourage you to read about Nicolaus Copernicus if you are not familiar with his contributions to science and his struggles along the way.

Some companies are steeped in tradition (just like some Churches) and have refused to get on the Cluetrain. Some marketers find themselves in the same position as Copernicus. Customers do not revolve around brands, brands revolve around customers. You are not the center of your customer’s galaxy. Customers are at the center of your galaxy, and there are lots of other brands that are revolving around them too so be careful not to fall out of orbit or be relegated to a lesser standing like Pluto.


If your role is focused on data analysis and you’re working in a marketing department that is ruled by traditional views, then your situation is like Copernicus dealing with the Catholic church.

I don’t envy your situation.

You need to be delicate and diplomatic on how you present your insights.


The John Wanamaker quote “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” is not accurate today. That is to say it shouldn’t be accurate. Marketing professionals can now see in higher resolution and are able to experiment and optimize their models for reality. The resolution of these tools is getting better. Marketing is like Physics.

The promise of Big Data to Marketers is not unlike the promise of the Large Hadron Collider to Physicists.
Big Data is a paradigm shift in business, but we are still a few years from it being a widespread phenomenon because of the challenges involved in infrastructure and analysis.
By the way, the LHC produces over 25 petabytes per year.

Big Data is to Marketing what the Higgs Boson is to Physics.
Big Data is the god particle.