Marketers, Go for the Gold

This summer’s Olympic Games reminded me how much I enjoy competition, not just the physical aspect, but also the strategy involved in any game. If you have taken an Economics course, you might be familiar with the term Prisoner’s Dilemma. In the context of game theory, it is a situation in which two players each have two options whose outcome depends on the choice made by the other. This is often framed in the context of prisoners deciding whether to confess to a crime.

I like to think of it in the context of marketing and specifically the evolution of marketing over time. The two players in this game are the consumer and the marketer. In a retail scenario, the consumer has two choices: to purchase or not to purchase. The marketer also has two choices: to market to the consumer or not to market to the consumer. If you believe in the power of good marketing to drive consumer conversions (and since you’re reading this post, you probably do), then you know the consumer choice certainly can, and often does, depend on the choices made by the marketer.

The inverse is also true, as all good marketers leverage consumer choice in their decision to deliver that next email or purchase that next impression. The big data era has disrupted the balance of information being used to make the respective decisions that once existed. The consumer still has a lot of information at their disposal, everything from personal beliefs or finances to previous consumer reviews, online forums, or social media. But it is nothing compared to the information most modern marketers have to make their decision. Not only do they have access to every interaction the consumer has had with their brand, but also those of consumers with similar personas –  and the related outcome of those interactions.

The explosion of digital channels has allowed marketers to draw from their interactions with consumers who have not yet converted, in addition to those that have. I don’t think there has ever been a better time for marketers to “go for the gold.”

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