Social Media and Quantum Mechanics

Social media marketing has more in common with quantum mechanics than with more “traditional” methods of marketing which poses a significant problem for both CMO’s and business owners who desperately want social media marketing to be all about lead generation and sales.

Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of the behavior and interactions of energy and matter.  The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states – in laymen’s terms – that the act of measurement actually changes the properties of the process being measured.  Similarily, trying to “measure” the elements of your social media marketing campaigns will ultimately change the very nature and effectiveness of the campaign.

According to Geoffrey Colon at Ogilvy’s Fresh Influence blog, predicts that one of the top trends in social media for the upcoming year is that social media marketing must begin to demonstrate measurable ROI.  One in three CMOs are demanding to see measureable results in their investment in social media where it counts – the bottom line. Expect the number of CMO’s crying out for meaningful metrics to increase as the “shiny new bauble” nature of social media begins to fade.

Business owners and CMO’s desperately want social media to be about SALES or at the very least – LEADS which can be coverted into SALES – both of which are easily measured.  Unfortunately – social media marketing shares many common properties with another marketing intangible – BRANDING.

The reason it’s hard to measure the success of your social media marketing campaign is simple – buyers – a.k.a. customers – aren’t interested in being “converted” into sales and their interaction with your company changes when they begin to feel the pressure measurement applies.

Is it unreasonable to expect your company’s participation in social media to have a positive impact upon the bottom line?   Definitely not.  However, when I read that social media must show measureable ROI – it makes me think the “experiment” is already over.  After all, when was the last time you heard a CMO announce that the new logo design needed to show a positive ROI on the bottom line?

Whether it’s social media or branding, both have more in common with quantum mechanics than with traditional means of marketing.  When you begin focusing upon measurement instead of engagement – it’s the beginning of the end.


  1. I am starting to think about the demand for showing results with their investment in social media. This article is a good read.