We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King”, but if we take a step back and look at the marketing landscape as if it were a chessboard does that same statement still hold true? I’d argue that it doesn’t. Marketing, like chess, is a very strategic and intellectual sport. Those that perform at the highest level of both understand that losses will occur and risks must be taken, but each of those is calculated with the end goal in mind. The people in those respective groups will also tell you that one ill-advised move could ultimately cost you the game. In order to fully understand the analogous relationship between marketing and chess let’s break them down.
In chess, the most important piece of the game is of course the King. The intention of each and every game is to capture the opponent’s king, while also maintaining the safety of your own. In the marketing world, the king is your market share. Every growing business is constantly in search of new ways to grow their own share by either acquiring completely new territory or seizing market share from their competitors. This applies to each and every business that exists in today’s world. Competitions, in both chess and marketing, can go on for extended periods, respectively, but once your king is cornered your run is over. Luckily for us, there are soldiers that each king has been given in order to protect them from sure defeat.
The king may be the most important piece of the game, but the Queen is by far the most dangerous. This is where content comes into play. Content is the piece of your marketing strategy with the most versatility and agility. Just how the queen can move to more squares than any other piece on the board and is pretty much omnidirectional, so too is your content. Your branding, positioning, frequency, and pricing can all be tweaked to make your content as potent and effective as possible. Similar to chess, a lack of strong content doesn’t flat out mean defeat, but it does mean that you’ve made victory much harder to accomplish.
As all good marketers know, your content can be amazing, but a lack of engagement or accurate metrics affects how far said content can penetrate into your audience. In chess, there are two pieces that serve the same purpose. The Rook, which travels vertically or horizontally in a sweeping motion, and the Bishop, that travels diagonally on either black or white squares, are the soldiers needed to do some of the dirty work so that the Queen can work more effectively. Engagement is your rook, it’s very useful deep into the game and can elevate your market penetration surprisingly quickly. This includes all types of engagement: networking, direct marketing, advertising, and public relations. Each type has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, but regardless of which one you choose if it has a high level of effectiveness then you’re that much more dangerous. Analytics or Metrics are your bishop, they’re often forgotten about but ultimately they are irreplaceable. Knowing how your marketing strategy is being received allows your team to work more efficiently and expend effort wisely. This holds true whether you’re looking at metrics for your website, landing pages, advertisements, foot traffic, or social media. It’s similar to sharpening your sword.
The final piece from the back-row of the chessboard is the Knight. It’s the only piece on the board that can jump over any other piece and moves in an ‘L’ shape. In the marketing world, this would be your research. A surplus or lack of research can completely change the game. The marketers who do the most research and reading are often ahead of the game and have the ability to leap over what their competitors are currently doing in the market. If your business doesn’t really do the necessary research and learning then it’s only a matter of time before a competitor hands you an ‘L’ and moves that much closer to capturing a piece of your market.
Last, but not least, we have our pawns. They are the foot soldiers and can only move forward, one step at a time, and have no ability to move backwards. There are many things in the marketing world that serve as pawns: SEO, brand ambassadors, hashtags, email marketing, blog articles, industry partnerships, events, webinars, contests/giveaways, referral programs, print collateral, and more. They may not seem that important and they aren’t always, but don’t forget that in chess any pawn has the potential for “promotion”. That’s when a pawn reaches the end of the board and can become any piece that you want. All of these marketing pawns hold that same potential. At any moment, those marketing tactics could provide a surprising spark to your business’ marketing strategy.
In closing, every single piece of your marketing has a role to play and although some may be more important than others they all are necessary to devise and enact a successful strategy to capture new or existing market share. Just as chess has the Italian Defense, the Sicilian Defense, and the Queen’s Gambit, your marketing strategy could be one that catches on and is used by other businesses for years to come.
If you’re looking for the help of a team of marketing Grandmasters, then look no further than The Kool Source. Our team has years of experience across different aspects of marketing and can help plan a digital marketing strategy that will help get your business visible, found, & paid!