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If you ever played turn-based strategy games (SimCity or Civilization) you might notice lots of similarities between playing this game and building your digital marketing machine. Let me explain what I mean:

  • First, these games have game objects – military units, buildings, resources, etc
  • Second, those objects interact in a simple system. An example of such system could be building that takes resources to produce a military unit. This system requires an interesting choice from player, e.g. what unit to build
  • Third, there are many simple systems that work together to solve large complex tasks. In Civilization that tasks are Exploration, Warfare, Diplomacy and Trade
  • And ultimately, fourth – there are different game strategies, literally tens of them. Game strategy is the plan how you win the game. In Civilization you can play Despotic Conquest or Democratic Ostrich or some another strategy or even combined one (e.g. Conquest in the early days of Civilization and Democracy in a later days or vice versa)

How is that applied to Digital Marketing? 

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Let me copypaste the summary you made from our discussion:

“The beauty of this for me is that you can decompose the whole marketing machine to a number of simple systems – each these systems would have very clear measure of success. And it brings us to 2 important aspects of digital marketing:

1. measurability
2. iterations & testing

Both of them you can do within a simple system. Then you also collect metrics @ large task level. Metrics for acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue

Out of those metrics you can see which of many systems performes poor, drill down to metrics of that specific system, do iterations and improve. So metrics are necessary to compare the success of various systems and identify which of them has the most influence on poor performance of the whole marketing machine."

Here iteration is similar to what we can do in a strategic game, i.e. restart with minor or major changes in an object (or the way of action). After that we can see how the whole system iterates, so that we can claim which variabe led to success or failure – that’s the measurement issue.

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