Physics and Ideation: Customer Entanglement

I think the word ‘entanglement’ may be the best single word description of marketing at its best – no matter what your specialty.

The word ‘entangle’ intrigues me. In physics it describes a mysterious connection that exists beyond visible physical contact. Imagine its meaning in marketing: Mutual Long Term Influence Even At Great Distance!

  • We wish to increase customer entanglement.
  • We need to be entangled with our co-workers.
  • We entangle ourselves in the community around us.
  • This is much more than a simple person-to-person or company-to-person relationship. It is mutual influence, dependence, respect, listening, griping, praising, changing, helping, learning.

    Entanglement is the ultimate feedback loop.  In physics – when you measure one entangled particle that somehow determines the state of the other. (Simplified, I know –  if you can say it better please do!) In marketing it is multiple, multiple-way connections. Whether in person, over the net, via tweets, during a sale, review, complaint or fix. Each touchpoint effects both company and customer. 

    Entanglement Can Humanize Your Brand. 

    I have to admit, I was attracted to Louisa Guilder’s physics history book at first, not because I’m a physics nut but because Entanglement was in the title. The fact that the scientific path surrounding the topic provided inspiration for ways creativity can be increased in an organization was a bonus. 

    The arguments around entanglement in physics show wise scientists working in an imperfect system trying to push ideas forward. Folks are stubborn, generious, inquisitive. Blind alleys and wrong arguments are many. But conversations continue and progress is made in part because the system encourages entanglement among the scientists. They review each other’s work, compete, build on it, tear it down, ignore it, all the time influencing the path each other takes.  

    So – Marketers Entangle.

    We entangle customers with customers, companies with customers, workers with customers, workers with workers, companies with companies… creating a giant invisible web that drives creativity and business in ways no org chart could ever imagine. 

    Believers in Social media feel this in their bones, just as physicists sometimes feel a theory is right, just waiting for the math to catch up. Its usefulness grows as companies become more and more comfortable with ‘human conversations’ instead of ‘perfect conversations.’ Early adopters are already benefiting. It is the next generation of entanglement.

    Where have you become entangled today?

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    6 Responses to Physics and Ideation: Customer Entanglement

    1. Bill Welter says:

      Interesting concept and application. My only concern, using an older communication metaphor, is that noise in the system may overcome the real communication. Just because we can use social media doesn’t mean we should use it all the time and for meaningless broadcasts. The quality of the communication is important and should not take back seat to ease-induced noise.

    2. Hi Bill,

      Noise in the system is a huge problem. Costs money as well as time. As always need to be consistently balancing the usefulness of each method in relation to the specific brand and product. The nice thing is with immediate feedback is that organizations get additional perspectives on what they are trying to do. That doesn’t mean management needs to make changes called for in every blog post (now, more than ever, companies need visionary leaders that can set a consistent course), or that every consumer is going to be reached with a conversation. In the end the new tools used well will improve loyalty and used poorly will turn folks off. Hard learning curve, but one most companies probably need to be on.

    3. salvador bali says:

      In physics – when you measure one entangled particle that somehow determines the state of the other
      Simplified, I know – if you can say it better please do

      frogman, only a small edit:
      when you measure one entangled particle that simultaneously determines the state of the other.

      ‘simultaneous’ conveniently contains the entire disagreement with Relativity.

      and i took out the ‘somehow’, because that is exactly “entanglement”, its not a somehow, it’s a how.

      i’d like to look at how ‘entanglement’ differentiates from ‘network’.

    4. Good catch Salvador, simultaneous is the whole point isn’t it. I’ve been thinking about how to show the difference between what I mean by entanglement and what folks usually consider a network. I don’t consider them synonyms in this context although network is an important component in entanglement. I think your question leads to my next post. Thanks!

    5. salvador bali says:


      “entanglement” was schroedinger’s word, and he just casually tossed it off, i think he didnt take it seriously, and it is a fine word for the phenomenon.
      …however, the word IS conceivable, it can have meaning. and the “force” at issue, is essentially inconceivable, which is why they say no one can “understand” the quantum physics.

      so in your context here, i’d suggest entanglement be “undefinable” as part of its definition. but then it could be described for example by how it is unlike a network, or what things are possible under entanglement, which are not possible in a network,
      or are there improvements to be applied to network? redundant nodes. but that’s getting into the quantum cryptography, and my hair’s on fire already.

    6. Great insight Salvador. This really ties the difficulties marketers have in understanding influence and behavior in more closely with Guilder’s book than I had anticipated. Just as the mainstream seemed to ignore the entanglement issue, marketing is forced to set aside influencers they have difficulty measuring or predicting until tools catch up. Maybe a policy of entanglement would accept this lack of control and in fact encourage it with the goal of increasing the attractive force overall.

      Sorry about the hair 🙂

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