Wednesday, 19 August 2009

If marketing were a game of chess, is the Internet a pawn, a rook or a queen?

Let’s say marketing is like a game of chess. To get your marketing right, you have an army of pieces: you have a queen, a couple of rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights and some pawns. I'll explain you what these pieces mean.

The queen is your strongest piece. She can move around quickly, she can go almost anywhere, she get’s things done. Depending on what business you’re in or what company you are, your queen can mean different things. For some companies, the queen is Television Advertising. For a car-company television drives traffic to the dealerships. We know that. In our case, television can be seen as our marketing queen. For other companies, the queen can be the Pricing. Ryanair comes in mind. For McDonald’s, their marketing queen is probably Location. Obviously your Product can be your marketing queen. It’s the marketing tool that makes you strong, that differentiates you. It’s how you make your sale. To get an idea of what the marketing queen in your company is, have a look at the marketing budget, it will give you a pretty good indication.

A piece like the knight can be very useful. It can jump over other pieces and attacks in a not conventional line (the ‘7’ form – a move the queen can’t make). This sounds to me a bit like organizing an event for your company. You market your company in a non-conventional way, and it can get your message where other marketing tools can’t get. The problem with the knight is that it moves rather slow, and you need a different mindset to use it right. An event is normally for a pretty limited audience, and it tends to work on a longer time-scale.

Pieces like the bishop and the rook can mean different things in your marketing strategy: promotions, print advertising, packaging. What do they stand for in your marketing mix?

Pawns aren’t very powerful pieces. They can move just one way, and they are very vulnerable. But when the pawns reach the other side of the board, they get promoted and they turn into any other more powerful piece.
Internet was once a pawn. In a decade or so, it crossed the chess-board all the way to the other side. Internet isn’t a pawn anymore. Depending on which company you are, internet has turned into your marketing queen (your main tool), or it has become a rook (direct result for money with AdWords) or a knight (some surprising virals and actions in social media). For some companies, the pawn called ‘internet’ is still crossing the board. I’m sure that pawn will get to the other side and will get promoted to a more important piece.

And the king? I think the client is the king, and you want to get the king. When you have the king, the sale is made, the service is sold. The client is king, and he’s even more king on the web.

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