Being successful in business is all about strategy, and for a company to be successful, it must have a great marketing strategy. Think of your marketing strategy like a game of chess. In order to be competitive and to have the competitive advantage, you need to be thinking two or three steps ahead, if not more. In other words, you need a plan of attack.
I’m sure by now you are wondering what are the common principles between chess and marketing? And in what way can these principles benefit the strategic planning process of marketing? Well, let’s see..
The last few months I have been learning how to play chess and there are so many benefits that can help each professional not only marketers. Many of the principles of chess are quite similar to what I have done in marketing for the past 10 years. This is basically just to share my points of view on how chess can become a source of wisdom for people who work in marketing or business, especially about strategy.
You probably wondering how do I link marketing with chess right?
First of all, like in Marketing and in Chess you need to have a Goal. In a game of chess, there are two opponents and one winner (unless it’s a draw). The goal of any chess game is to checkmate the other King, as the goal of a marketer is to establish their brand as No.1 in the market, correct?
Let’s see how chess and marketing can be linked to each other. The chess board represents the market. Each player has sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights and eight pawns. Each type of the six pieces moves differently abide by various rules on the chess board similarly to the market.
- The King is the Brand which each player tries to protect at any cost.
- The Queen is the Strategic Marketer with the big picture, planning the different moves, evaluating the possible scenarios in the market and outcomes, the next steps / directions. In this case it requires a lot of patience, a deep knowledge of the buyer requirements, market, competitors and mostly critical thinking.
- The Rooks, Bishops and Knights represent the different Marketing Channels used by the marketer to create visibility, with each channel having its limitations like on a chess board.
- The Pawns represent the Value Proposition, communicated via the marketing and sales collaterals. For example these can be the website, brochure, eBooks, webinar, case studies and videos. A great marketer realizes a well-played pawn (value proposition) can turn the tables if used correctly.
So how do we claim the throne in Strategic Marketing? How do we stay ahead by a few steps and win the game?
There is always the advantage of the first mover. In chess the Whites have the advantage, However, the opponent playing the catch up must develop the ability of his/her current position and plan the next move. This can be done either by taking calculated risks or whether the move provides a temporary or a long-term advantage.
Of course, as a marketer, this means knowing where you are and where you want to go, which is basically your end goal. As a marketer and as a chess player it all comes down to the below:
- Self-Assessment: By identifying the advantage and disadvantages or weakness, we understand how those benefits relate to one another.
- Market Assessment: This is the ability to address the needs of buyers / market and prioritize the features of the products/services and price accordingly by understating the impact of the economic and political environment on the brand.
- Competitor Assessment: Observe and know the opponent’s weakness and when to strike.
- Marketing Channel Assessment: Check what is working and why across the different channels.
- Content Assessment: Evaluate the current sales and marketing content and assess whether it is relevant, actionable, targetable, trackable and reusable for various channels and buyers helping the marketer stand out and build trust. By understanding the current positioning, it helps to create a realistic marketing plan.
Along the journey to success for both the chess player and the marketer there are plenty of choices we can make without any rules. Of course, there are the formal rules that can make in chess and what in marketing, for example, through a website or metrics can measure. We have to be alert and proactive in adapting and refining to changes as we move forward. By making the first moves we have the confidence to experiment and see what produces big results.
It takes a lifetime to master this. In both chess and marketing, if you ever stop learning you would quickly find yourself at a loss compared to competitors. In order to raise the bar, you can benchmark with the best. One of the best ways to get better at business and chess is to play with a better player. You will never elevate your skill set if you decide to play those less skilled than you on a consistent basis. As a marketer we need to be creative, enterprising with a go getter attitude. Self-learning is essential, but working with people at the next level is how you raise the bar and you reach the throne to success.
Lastly, don’t forget to confuse your opponent. If you want success you can play with people’s emotions. Make your opponent to think with their emotions instead of reasoning and make them act on their impulse. Make irrational moves that it can confuse the player who anticipates you.
Therefore, claiming the Throne in Strategic Marketing is like Checkmating your Opponent’s King. But because it is a difficult task it is important to be aware of the principles and fundamentals of both games.