A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Due to nature or mathematics, a set can show a repeating pattern at every scale. No matter how close or how far you get, the pattern is still there. A fractal pattern can be self-similar where the pattern at every scale is identical, or the pattern can change slightly at each level.
A tree is the most common and simple example of a fractal. Starting with the trunk, the tree has a pattern of branches sprouting out from a source and then each consecutive new branch sprouts more. No matter what level you look at on the tree, you see the same pattern. The fractal idea starts at the level of the universe. In fractal cosmology, there is a theory that the universe’s mass distribution at every level has a fractal pattern. In the fractal-holographic universe, there is unification between the macro and micro scale of physics. Scaling way down to earth, we see fractals in social systems, nature, our own biology down to a molecular system, and marketing.
Natural and mathematical systems tend to lend themselves to marketing. We have posted before on the chaos theory in marketing. Fractals also have a place in marketing. The modern definition of fractal marketing is a process by which a brand promotes a message, typically with digital media, and it is scattered by potential consumers in a fractal pattern. Digital media is the perfect landscape for this. As one example of many possibilities, picture a Facebook post to one consumer. They then share the post with all their friends, and then all those friends share it with their friends, and so on and so on. Do you see the fractal? Fractal marketing will not typically be self-similar. The most successful campaigns make the message customizable by each level of consumer. Content that has functionality built into it so that users can create new viral content based on the original idea will spread.
There are many successful examples of fractal marketing. Ever heard of elfyourself.com? Elf Yourself was a holiday campaign put on by OfficeMax. Consumers could submit a picture of themselves, and it would be turned into a talking, dancing elf. Similar successful campaigns that followed include Scrooge Yourself and Simpsonize Me.
Marketing is a field of ideas perpetuated by man, so it is only natural that it perpetuates in patterns found in nature and mathematics. Fractal mathematics is at the base of chaos theory, which means it can be uncontrollable. Fractal marketing should be approached with caution and guidance. This is a marketing branch (no pun intended) where marketing professionals are crucial guides. From coming up with the right content, making it adaptable, finding the starting point, the medium, methods of control, and where it fits in the larger scale marketing strategy, all need to be answered before moving forward. Warren Douglas can answer all of those questions.