How Digital Marketing is Like a Game of Chess

How Digital Marketing is Like a Game of Chess
August 8, 2016 Zi Qian Lim

So I was asked to write a blog post about digital marketing. I’m not very good at writing and my essays back during my school days were pretty bad. So what can I write about digital marketing? Well, I was playing a game of chess online a few days ago and thought to myself, I’ll write up something about digital marketing and chess.

Chess is a strategy game; we all know that. And marketing, really, is just another strategy game. The level of chess players ranges from novices, who just play any move they can think of; to masters, who think and consider their moves a few steps ahead before making their next move. Similarly, in marketing, there are marketers who just base their marketing campaigns on an idea they had come up with on the go, and there are other marketers who have a clear goal in mind and plan their campaigns a few steps ahead.

The aim of a chess game is to capture an opponent’s king. The aim of marketing is to capture leads or the customer’s heart. Chess pieces in a chess game are our assets; customer data and marketing tools are our assets in marketing. We need to make good use of our assets in order to achieve great results. Similar to chess, you can’t reach checkmate in one move. We always have to plan our attacks and lead our target into a position where we can follow up with our finishing moves. We sometimes have to sacrifice some of our assets along the way as part of our strategy. We target our customers with information about our brand. Using our customer data, we can personalise our communications so that our customers feel engaged and can relate to our brand. We run promotions and give discounted prices to win customer loyalty, and ultimately winning their heart.

The similarity between digital marketing and chess goes beyond what I’ve mentioned above. Think about computer chess programs such as Deep Blue, Rebel, and Fritz. They are chess AI that rival and even beat the chess masters. If you attended our Datarati 7th birthday or saw the video of the night, our CEO, Will Scully-Power, mentioned in his speech that we’re going to crack something the digital marketing world has yet to crack. We are also looking at artificial intelligence marketing. Like computer chess, it’s an engine that will think and analyse on its own. It analyses marketing assets and its opponents’ assets and behavior, and then plans and moves accordingly. Artificial intelligence marketing uses our customer data, actively listening to their customer behaviour, and the engine will then predict our customer’s next moves and engage with them accordingly.

Once again, like chess, there is no fixed form and gameplay of digital marketing. We can either play the game blindly, or we play it with proper planning, or even better, we have a computer to play it for us.