The fundamentals are still the same, however channels, behaviors, and formats have changed, is changing, and will continue to change.
With the digital revolution, evolution, and transformation we are now facing a myriad of opportunities, and by the look of it they will not diminish in the future.
For many years, marketeer of all sorts have been making strategies and produced content with precise models of buyers' journeys, personas, and sales funnels.
Models where a single and defined customer is moving from one phase to another in a predictable and ordered way.
Much in the same way as scientists presented the planetary model of the atom, with a nucleus surrounded by electrons that moved in a controlled and predictable pattern.
From planetary to quantum
But, we have moved on from the planetary model to accepting the quantum theory, where the electrons are present in a sort of a cloud rather than following circles or ellipses, a “blob” where it is impossible to tell the exact position of the electron at a given time, the electron might even behave as if it is present at two different places, simultaneously...
In the same way we are finding it harder to predict exact customer behavior, where and when demand will occur, and how to capture signals that we can nurture into leads. The demand can occur anywhere at any time in any form.
Decision-makers (or networks of decision-makers) and influencers come and go in the buyers´ journey, projects are postponed, re-opened, re-scheduled, getting new stakeholders, and so on. If you have a business model with long sales cycles this behavior is even more clear.
And it means that marketeer will have to deliver on long-term and short-term goals in an unpredictable, unstructured and highly volatile arena.
Everywhere, at the same time and always on
With the quantum marketing model the need for content will emerge at random times, in random channels, and it has to attract various types of personas.
And if we follow the quantum physics analogy and assume that the electron in the atom is a wave rather than a particle (still in debate within the quantum science world) and that the only thing we can see are snapshots – we need to consider that to use hyper-targeting, hyper-creatives or hyper-timing might not work.
Instead, we will need our content to appeal to and be found by a wider target group, we will need messages that resonate with more people (both in writing and in the images we use) and also the content needs to be available at all times.
Complex? Well, yes. Doable? For sure.
Broad, probabilistic thinking
To answer the demands that quantum marketing puts on your content production and the way you publish it, you will have to address targeting, creatives, and timing differently.
“You manage predictability with precision. But you manage unpredictability with probabilities. You consider all potential scenarios and designs for all eventualities,” Peter Weinberg, Global Lead, Market Development*)
- Quantum targeting - In general quantum targeting will mean a broader target group, covering the entire network of decision-makers and influencers. With the aim to make the target group viable on a long-term basis and capture the buyers of tomorrow.
- Quantum creative - And again broader is the keyword. Peter Weinberg*) suggests that Disney could be an inspiration. I would think that this is the challenge that will be, in a sense, the hardest to meet. How to create something that is broad enough but at the same time captures the attention of your target group. One obvious pitfall would be that the creatives get so general it turns out boring and uninteresting.
- Quantum timing - To me, this is the easiest to comply with. How so? By being always on. Simple as that. Well, that is if you make sure that the always on include content that is non-time-sensitive and long-lasting.
The beauty of much of marketing activities of today is that almost everything can be measured. This gives us tools to keep track of what works and what does not, the ability to scale quickly or fail fast, and loads of data that we can analyse and use for insights. This will help us being data-driven-marketeers in a quantum marketing arena :)
To conclude (from a BBC Inside Science podcast episode) with quantum physicist Sean Caroll: “It (quantum physics) is understandable but we haven't quite understood it yet”.
We know what quantum physics looks like, we know what it does, but we do not know how it works precisely.
So, I hope for the same with quantum marketing: that by managing the unpredicted with probabilities we will get results, even with all uncertain components in the equation.
Time will tell.