TED Talk Tuesday: What Physics Taught Me About Marketing

By Tinuiti Team

One of the stigmas about marketers is that they do the fluff work. It’s like the ole liberal science vs. engineering degree debate, where the perception is that the former is just trying to “find him/herself” while the latter is actually working towards a stable career. This couldn’t be more wrong, and what we find is that many of the foundations of science are also grounded in marketing theory.

Dan Cobley, a marketing director at Google, discusses the surprising similarities between 2 seemingly unrelated disciplines. Key takeaways at the bottom.

Dan Cobley: What Physics Taught Me About Marketing

Key Takeaways:

Rebranding, or really any marketing shift, is philosophically the same as Newton’s law: Acceleration = Force/Mass. This means that smaller (or separated brands) are more agile and more easily maneuverable than major brands looking for a marketing overhaul. No surprises there really.

Heisenberg’s (no not that Heisenberg) Uncertainty Principle says we can’t measure a particle in its natural state accurately because the act of measuring/observing changes it. Same goes for extracting data from an audience. No one is going to admit they only brush their teeth once a day when asking them about using your toothbrush. Enter analytics to the rescue.

The Scientific Method says we can’t prove a a hypothesis through observation, we can only disprove it. From a marketing standpoint, think about the many brands/people who have built up impressive reputations over many years, only to have those reputations tarnished by one incident. Cobley gives BP, Toyota, and Tiger Woods as examples. Lance Armstrong and Enron also come to mind.

Point is, marketing doesn’t have to be this nebulous, abstract thing that involves a lot of guesswork. After all…

In case you missed our previous TED Talk Tuesdays, check them out below:


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