The Marketer's Gambit: How Chess Rules Can Help Your Marketing Strategy


Playing chess is back in vogue now, thanks to the Netflix show The Queen's Gambit. If you want to win at marketing, you can take some basic chess principles and apply them to your own plans for 2021:

Choose Your Gambit

A gambit in chess is an opening technique where you sacrifice a pawn or another piece to gain an advantage. So what's your gambit? It's something your offer your potential customers to get them to exchange something of value with you.

It could be a discount offered on first orders or a free piece of expert content in exchange for contact information. Just make sure the value of what you are giving away is equal or less than what you are getting in return.

Protect The King

Your brand can be considered your king, protect it at all costs or the game is over. Your brand's style guide details how the brand should (and should not) be showcased. The brand should be represented consistently to improve recall and maximize efficacy.

You also need to protect the brand reputation, so make sure you are monitoring for mentions across review sites and social media, as well as surveying your customer satisfaction on a regular basis.

Use All Your Weapons

Chess has a variety of different pieces - pawns, rooks, bishops, knights and the king and queen - each with different moves and abilities. Just like you will need to use all your pieces to win a game of chess, you should also use a variety of marketing tools to achieve your goals.

Omnichannel marketing has been shown to deliver better results than single channel efforts. Combining print and digital tactics is key to a winning marketing strategy. Read how to set up your first omnichannel campaign.

Have a plan

In chess, you can't just think about your next move, you have to think three moves ahead. So should your marketing not be short-sighted. A good marketing plan covers more than just the tactics for the next month or quarter, but rather the long game of 1-3 years. What can you set up now that won't have an immediate impact, but could benefit you down the road?

When it comes to cost savings in buying print and promotional products, higher quantities will also get you a lower price per piece. If you can buy enough product to last you through the year or multiple events/campaigns you will be saving budget dollars that can be spent elsewhere.

Keep an Eye on the competition

It's true in marketing and chess that you don't just have to think about your own plays, you have to consider your opponent's as well. Keep tabs on the marketing of your competition and see how they are positioning themselves against you. They could point out potential weaknesses of your business that you are unaware of.

People also tend to fall into the same patterns in work and in chess. Perhaps there are patterns have your competitors fallen into that you could take advantage of.

Ready, marketers? Let's play!

About the author

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Maeghan Nicholson

Maeghan Nicholson

Maeghan is the Director of Marketing at Suttle-Straus. A journalist at heart, she has used her writing skills to develop corporate thought leadership campaigns designed to make business-to-business connections. In her role, she manages all aspects of marketing and advertising, from website updates and content creation to conferences and events.
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Topics: Brand Management, Best Practices