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The Physics of Marketing – Kepler’s Laws

KeplerGerman mathematician Johannes Kepler lived from 1571 – 1630.  He is described by many as the central figure in the scientific revolution for his work in astronomy and physics – two disciplines that were considered to be very different from one another in his time.  An independent thinker, he was very influential on shifting world views from the ancient to the modern.  To give context to the time in which he lived, I will mention that his mother was actually imprisoned for witchcraft for 14 months – accused of making another woman ill by collaborating with a demon to poison her with an evil brew. (No, I don’t know if his mom invented Jaeger)   Keppler was a true believer in the scientific method, and one who looked for patterns in everything.  He initially believed that planets orbited the sun in circular motions – basing his ideas on Geometry.  In attempting to verify this theory, he learned that his entire philosophy was flawed.  However, what he did do is to establish how all the planets in our solar system, and any object that orbits another, actually moves.

Kepler’s Laws:

  1. Planetary orbits are elliptical with the Sun at one focus.
  2. A planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times as it orbits the sun
  3. The orbital periods scale with ellipse size, such that the period squared is proportional to the semi-major axis length cubed.


What does this mean to modern marketing?

For me, I am noodling how to apply the theories themselves to Marketing.  I may lean on a physicist out there to get the ball rolling with respect to how these laws can specifically be applied.  Perhaps something along the lines of consumer behavior, seasonal patterns of demand, distribution, the product life cycle or speed to market?  I will continue to think on that one.  Feel free to jump in and start the discussion.

Certainly, there is much for Marketing professionals to learn from Kepler the man and the way in which he made his discoveries.  He was eternally curious about the truth.  He constructed hypotheses, tested, measured, analyzed, modified, and repeated.  He was well versed in mathematics and used geometry as the basis for his initial hypotheses.  At some point, he realized that his model was flawed.  He needed to change his view.  Some of his assumptions just did not make sense.  Rather than deny that fact, Kepler embraced the unknown.  He sought out the truth.  He took risks rather than trying to continuing on in the safety of the familiar.  The end result was a breakthrough.  Is this not the same way we should approach things like product development, direct sales, or customer service?

What do you think?  What is your hypothesis?  Is there something to be learned from Kepler’s Laws?  What is it and why is it important?  Tell us.  I promise, no witch trials.

Johannes Kepler – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia