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Growth Marketing is like a chess game

12 Apr, 2021 Marketing
Growth Marketing is like a chess game

The game of chess is made up of goals, strategy and continuous learning: just like Growth Marketing. I'll explain this curious analogy in this article.

Growth Marketing: checkmate!

I like to think of Growth Marketing as a process that combines actual marketing with product development, with a view to obtaining growth in terms of profit in the shortest possible time, satisfying the needs of a market and limiting the waste of resources.

Nothing magical or, even worse, illegal. Rather a reasoned and at the same time creative approach to solve problems and aim for the goal: growth.

This process is very similar to a chess game: it is no surprise that this metaphor helps many people understand methods, tools and purposes of this often misunderstood Growth Marketing.

In fact, there are many points of contact between the knight and bishop roles in chess and a straightforward mindset that is capable of shaping and adapting to the context and the competitor moves in the market. In this article I have identified the many points of contact, and I have focused on the foundations of this discipline which, if it wasn’t clear yet, is my biggest passion as well as my job.

A single goal

When you sit in front of the chessboard, there is only one sentence you hope to pronounce: checkmate!

When you start working on a Growth Marketing process, there is only one path to take: that of growth.

In both cases there is a macro-goal, which never changes along the way: every single pawn is moved to reach that final goal, victory in this case. In the Growth Marketing process we have a sequence of activities and phases that converge towards a common point: the laws of marketing meet the product's continuous development to make the company grow and prosper.

Analysis and strategies

Before moving the bishop, the chess player analyzes the situation, depicts future scenarios and, only then, makes his/her move.

This is also the zero point and the most important element in Growth Marketing: the analysis and the data-driven approach. Only through the control and monitoring of objective data can we make informed choices and ask ourselves new questions.

External and internal data, coming from experiments that allow us to identify the metric to always keep under control, the main one, but also the things that work, those that perhaps would be better to get rid of and those that are missing.

A good data analysis allows you to cut costs, optimize processes and, of course, innovate. In short, putting the right tactics in play.

Ever-changing scenario

With each move, the board changes face. With each experiment, the entire process changes.

The situation we find ourselves in, both in a chess match and in Growth Marketing, is far from being static. You can’t expect to pursue the same strategy if the whole context has changed.

Here, the readiness that the player must have when facing the opponent's actions is the same that brings the Growth Marketing Specialist into play together with the Growth Team.

It is important, above all, that the approach to these changes is always creative and involves experts in different fields, ready to see the "match" from a different perspective.

Anticipate your opponent’s moves

In chess we can only visualize what will happen next and evaluate the best tactic before acting. In Growth Marketing there’s room for experiments, in order to calculate the possible consequences of our actions.

The rapid experimentation methodology does just that: there must be many ideas tested on the market in order to identify the one that can generate exponential growth. And the faster the various experiments and tests fail, the sooner you can figure out what actually works.

Certainly you don’t jump out of a plane with no parachute on, right? First you need to collect data, evaluate a number of factors and use tools that can help you prioritize some tests rather than others.

Learning by playing (and failing)

The greatest chess players are the ones who have played a lot and learned from their mistakes. Thus, in the Growth Marketing mindset, failure is just one step towards the final goal.

Learning, as a result of rapid experimentation, is one of the focal points of the Growth Marketing process: the moment we take note of our mistakes and successes usually matches with a boost in know-how and experience.

Many are the cases of bankruptcies that have given rise to very successful businesses. A little truth that every Growth Marketing Specialist experiences firsthand, which should enter the mindset of many professionals in my opinion.

One move at a time

When you move the first pawn, the macro-goal is clear, but in the meantime you aim at the next move, therefore at a micro-goal. What we see in front of us is a path that will lead us, in the future, to reach the final goal.

I will certainly not aim for the King on the first move!

Same goes for Growth Marketing: it is inconceivable to increase the number of our clients and see a sudden growth of the company from the first experiment.

It takes patience, vision, creativity, discipline. In the meantime, we can still enjoy the beauty of the trail, right?

As you can see, every Growth Marketing Specialist may feel like a chess player in a way: in front of him/her the chessboard, the market and its unexpected events, and ahead of him/her the opponent, the competitor. And then many moves, ideas and alternatives, which will lead him/her to overthrow the king eventually.

Towards growth, always. 

Mirko Maiorano

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