By Published On: June 3, 2014

A winning strategy…or predictable behavior?

Strategy is the core foundation of all marketing. Or at least it should be. A recent study made me wonder, how do we protect ourselves and our clients from becoming predictable in our strategy? The surprise here is that the study did not involve marketing at all. The study was about how predictable people are when playing Rock-Paper-Scissors.

There is actually a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament held yearly. Who knew. At this tournament, with probably the best RPS players in the world, a mathematician studied 72 players partaking in thousands of games. He discovered something interesting that could ensure you win the next game you play.

Apparently, when a player wins a round they are overwhelming more likely to use the same strategy in the next round. A rock won, most likely they will use a rock next. The loser will switch strategies. Not too surprising, except, they will likely switch to the next item in the sequence. Scissors lost so you can bet their next choice will be rock. It actually has a name, ‘persistent cyclic flows’ and is a result, according to the study, of a ‘conditional response’ as the RPS sequence is hard wired into our brains. So, in essence, these top rated RPS players were all pretty much using the same strategy. More surprising, they probably didn’t know.

So, aside from helping you win your next match, what could this mean to us? It means we have to be wary of predictability. It means that we occasionally invite a different person to our meetings, we take a second look at our strategy, we look for opportunities to try something unexpected, we test and we measure.

The last few years all marketers have been tasked with making sure every dollar counts and that’s understandable. But sometimes, being overly-accountable might seem to require being overly-safe, and that could mean lost opportunities. At d.trio, we hold to our promise of sound strategy and you can expect to also see at least one surprising option for consideration.

-Maureen

About the Author: cat-tonic

cat-tonic
Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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