Few things are as fascinating as Quantum Physics. It is the branch of science that most challenges our imagination and capacity for abstraction. The Quantum Physics is the science of the little things and explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy in the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. In contrast, Classical Physics only explains matter and energy on a familiar scale for human experience, including the behavior of astronomical bodies like the moon.
The Quantum Physics describes nature as absurd. Richard Feynman
The aspects that the Quantum Physics brings are counter intuitive and may seem paradoxical – things are and are not, the principle of uncertainty, dependence of the observer, etc. But these concepts of the Quantum Physics are very provocative to make analogies and think differently about other subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with the subatomic world – such as the analysis of social, market, philosophical and even religious phenomena.
A key point of Quantum Theory is that it is essentially probabilistic. It tells us about probabilities, about the possibilities of a certain event happening at a given moment, but not about when the event in question will certainly occur.
Once in a meeting with a marketing director, he asked me: – ‘What are the likely customers who can leave the company?’ And I immediately replied: – ‘ALL OF THEM!’… And he looked at me without understanding…
Albert Einstein argued that the strong presence of probability in Quantum Theory made it an incomplete theory and substitutable theory for a better theory, devoid of probabilistic predictions and, therefore, deterministic. He coined this opinion in one of his most famous quotes: “God does not play dice with the Universe”.
The Einstein’s posture was based on which the role assigned to probability in the Quantum Physics is very different from the role it plays in the Classical Physics. In this, probability is considered as a measure of ignorance in the subject, due to lack of data and information of the system submitted to the study. We could then speak of a subjective value of probability. But, in the Quantum Theory, the probability has an essential objective value, and does not depend on the amount of knowledge of the subject but, in a certain way, determines it.
God does not play dice with the Universe. Albert Einstein
… And… it was then … When I explained to the marketing director: – Actually, there is this possibility of all customers leaving the company. And, yes, some of them have more chances then others. And this probability is dynamic and dependent on factors such as seasonality, prices, advertising, etc. And the ideal would be to measure, to follow and predicting these probabilities as objective properties of the clients. And I’m sorry to say you’re going to have to play dice, which means you’ll have to think in probability, since the clients are … QUANTUM!
The world is increasingly indefinite, parallel and dynamic, where clients fluctuate between rational and irrational behavior: they have, at the same time, banking accounts in different banks; insurances in different insurance companies; they simultaneously use different mobile network operators, and social networking communication allows them to transmit to each other and at the speed of light information on promotions, complaints etc. Today is increasingly difficult to determine by which channel the client saw the commercial – quantum clients watch TV at the same time as they navigate the mobile and the tablet. And it is in this world that marketing analysis will have to go into… a world that will require to be seen by the prism of probabilities.
… Again… I’m sorry to say you’re going to have to play dice, which means thinking in terms of probabilities, since clients are quantum.
There is this Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment that became very famous by trying to bring, in an ingenious way, to the macro world these probabilistic concepts of the Quantum Theory. We could say our quantum client is indeed a Schrödinger’s Cat: He is both dead and alive, at the same time!
In definitions of modern marketing it is often placed that it has evolved into individual relationship where it is necessary to understand the smaller parts of the system and no longer needs of large masses of customers. I would say that it is not much so, and that quantum clients are, at the same time, masses and fractions that fulfill another of the hauntings of Quantic Physics: The Wave-Corpuscle Duality, which consists of the ability of physic and subatomic beings to behave or have both particle and wave properties. When it comes to Marketing, some analyses are seen only from afar, seeing people in an aggregated way, interacting with “waves”; and in others, clients should be real individual particles.
Today we live in the age of the Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, but the real revolution will be learning to think probabilistically – Probabilistic Intelligence.
We could think of other analogies of marketing with Quantum Physics. Have you ever thought about the gravitational field, parallel universes, or the black hole? – Who is encouraged?