Dec 04

Be Bobby Fisher Instead of the One Hit Wonder in Your Marketing Campaigns

marketing chess movesMarketing is like a chess game. You need to set things up first before you can get your big wins.

That’s why I genuinely don’t focus on numbers until numbers are needed. I focus on what the late and great Elvis would say, “Taking Care of Business.”

The question we as marketers should not always be “What can I do to get more customers or traffic?” This is an instant gratification response. It feels great to log into Analytics and see that spike, but it isn’t necessarily going to last. The question should be “What messaging should we put across to make our company more sustainable and therefore profitable in the future?”

Think about it: if I put out one message that gets me 500 customers, great. That’s 500 customers I didn’t have before. BUT, if I put out a message that gets me the passionate lead architect or designer I needed to make my product great, that person has the potential of getting me thousands if not millions of customers with a fraction of the work. My message in a small, obscure community could get me one big investor who helps save my company. Who cares if only five people saw one particular message?

Each marketing message shouldn’t be about bringing in masses. It can be used to bring in employees, investors, partners, company cheerleaders who essentially do the selling for you, or press fanboys. You’re just communicating. As in chess, a big bold move too soon can make you vulnerable to attack from your enemy. Setting up the pieces first means you are in a better position to let numbers drive themselves.

  • carl

    I just finished reading a post you wrote about Hugh MacLeod. I was curious if you found your “niche” yet or if you are still struggling.
    .-= carl´s last blog ..Internet Marketing Tip The Daily Plan =-.

  • Michelle


    I’m a Senior Manager at Rackspace and do our partner marketing. I market to geeks building for the Rackspace Cloud. That’s pretty niche.

  • thom singer

    Michelle- I like this post because it is a reminder that the strategy is long term. We live in a society where everyone thinks there is a magic bullet to immediate success. “Guru’s” feed off this desire and sell people all kinds of “plans” that fail. Life, much like chess… you cannot win on a single move.

  • Mark W Schumann

    Michelle, I’m a big fan of Mark Silver’s three-journey model of marketing. I’m not sure how well it applies to what you’re doing at Rackspace, because Silver is more in the touchy-feely-transformational space, but the basic concept is this.

    First Journey: Stranger finds out about your business and becomes a “prospector.”

    Second Journey: Prospector decides he/she really needs your product or service and becomes a client.

    Third Journey: Client experiences the wonder of all that you do and becomes a Raving Fan, setting off a chain of referrals for new business.

    Your advice against “one-hit” campaigns rings true for me, because people rarely jump from Stranger to Client status, or from Prospector to Raving Fan. They have to know you before committing time and money! Whether it’s Making Your Software Project Not Suck (which I do) or providing managed hosting.

    Thanks for this blog post. It will give me more to think about. Of course it doesn’t just apply to web-based marketing.
    .-= Mark W Schumann´s last blog ..The silver’s all around you =-.

  • Greg

    You probably meant “Bobby Fischer.”