A Unified Field Theory of Marketing

I don’t know if I am able to write a short blog entry. But I’m going to try it today. This is just a tease with a couple of thoughts.

First, thank you! I’ve been watching the readership for this blog increase and it’s been gratifying! Whoever you are, thanks for trying and then sticking with this blog and reading what I have to say. Second, where are you? I’m all about interaction and responses, but there are still very few comments on the blog entries. Please, come out of hiding and make this more interactive. I’d love to hear from you and will be happy to respond to your thoughts. Am I gonna have to hold some sort of contest or something to get people out of the comfort of lurkertopia? Hey, I’m a marketer, what can I say?

A couple of random thoughts first. I am still reeling from Larry Harvey’s extended and extensive response to my blog postings about the changes to Burning Man this year. But I do wonder about the ideological side of what Larry is saying. I think Larry and I could have a very interesting discussion about, for instance, what a brand is and does. Does Burning Man act as a brand for “burners”? Do they get some sort of identity function from the logo and the term? Well, why else are they buying the t-shirts and baseball hats with the Burning Man logo on it? I think it’s a far cry from saying that a symbol has meaning to people to saying that it is used to manipulate and exploit them. It *can* be, certainly, but whether it has to be…I don’t think so. There is so much in Larry’s letter to unpack. I think I’ll leave that for another day.

Second, the Harry Potter book. I read it. I loved it. It was a culmination to the Septology that left me totally satisfied. I won’t spoil it for anyone (although who hasn’t already finished it….come on, hurry up). But I will say that my sons and I were fighting over the book for three days, and then we discussed it for the next week, and how we’re in a Harry Potter happy place. J. K. Rowling has written the Lord of the Rings for our time. Amazing accomplishment. Gush, gush, gush.

Oh, the Consumer Tribes book is out and available now across the world. Amazon.com is shipping them. For those of you who may have tried to order a copy but been turned off by the system, it should now be accepting orders. If you want to have a look at the book (I’ve written about it here and excerpted some of my stuff from it already here), there are links on those pages.

I also have been wanting to write an academic-style review of the Fantastic Four movie…Rise of the Silver Surfer. But I think I’ll leave that for a future installment.Hey, you out there…anything you would like me to write about? Anything you think I’m way off base on? Anything I’ve missed?

Okay, now for the unified field theory of marketing. It seems to me that our field has been searching for universal, generalizable theories for a long time. It would be great, some say, some in high places to be particular, to be able to predict and control consumer behavior. That’s a natural offshoot of marketings affiliations with Economics and Psychology. Nice hard sciences. Consumers are like chemicals, you add the right substances to them and they give off the right materials…money, to be exactly. The only problem with this is that once you bring anthropology and sociology and (gasp) postmodern and humanistic perspectives on consumer behavior, things get a lot more complicated. But I’ve been working and thinking about this idea a lot. I had a lot of insights about it in my thesis dissertation that were in a foundational form, that need to be brought to the fore. In the next little while, I’m going to try to develop some ideas to answer this question: what, reasonably, can we model and predict about consumers behavior that also attends to the incredible complexity of consumer’s lived experiences in the contemporary world? What should a defensible science of consumer behavior look like that stays attuned to the holistic consumer experience? Big question. Stay tuned, amigas and amigos. There’s lots more fun in store.

Add Comment