Market Like Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer is arguably the greatest chess player who ever lived.

According to Wikipedia, “As a teenager, Fischer became famous as a chess prodigy. In 1972, he became the first, and so far the only, American to win the official World Chess Championship“.

When I was a teenager, I became infatuated with the game of chess largely because of Bobby Fischer.

One of the first things I learned was that it's necessary to think many moves ahead if you stand a chance of winning the game. You must anticipate the consequences of your moves, and the consequences of your opponent's potential moves.

This requires a lot of thinking. And so it is with your business.

What I'm going to encourage you to do is not too tough, though… I'm going to ask you to think only one move ahead.

By thinking one move ahead, I believe you can win the game of business. Here's what I mean…

Think about your most successful competitor. I mean really think about them; go look at their website, examine the e-mails they've been sending out to their opt-in list, and analyze their promotions over the course of the past year.

I actually want you to be very specific about this. You'll see why.

What is the next significant holiday coming up on the calendar? As I write this, the next big Holiday in the US will be Halloween. Of course, Halloween-themed marketing has already begun in most industries, so for this exercise we need to jump to the next significant holiday (the reason will become apparent in just a moment).

The next significant holiday (after Halloween) is Thanksgiving. So while everyone else is thinking about how they're going to market during the Thanksgiving holiday, thinking one move ahead leads us to consider Christmas.

Now look at those marketing materials from your competitor (in fact look at the marketing materials from all your significant competitors). What did they do to use Christmas as a touchpoint in their marketing last year?

Put on your thinking cap. Is there a way you can use, but modify and improve upon that idea this year?

The trick is that you have now done is thinking well in advance of Christmas -while your competitors are still thinking about Thanksgiving. This gives you the opportunity to get your promotional marketing materials into the hands of your prospects and customers long before your competitors do.

Now the fact is, the Thanksgiving holiday is actually bundled up (at least in the United States) in the triumvirate of holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day come as a three pack for us here. Marketing departments often plan their activities for these three holidays well in advance, as a kind of “three pack”.

So most companies already know what they're going to be doing promotionally for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day holidays. But our little thought experiment has at least shown you how this process of “thinking one move ahead” works.

Now Think One More Move Ahead

It should be simple for you to see that the next significant holiday after New Year's is in fact Valentine's Day.

My suggestion for you is: start thinking about your Valentine's Day promotion now.

Craft it carefully and strategically.

Put together superior marketing materials, copy, audio, video and what ever else you plan to use in your campaign. And launch that sucker on January 2. Your competitors won't know what hit them.

And while they're scrambling to figure out how to counteract your Valentine's Day promotion, you'll be busy assembling your promotion for St. Patrick's Day… and Easter… and Mother's Day.

Not Just For Holidays

You can apply the same principle to trends within your particular market segment.

Are most of your competitors only just now beginning to use audio on their web pages?

Or, are the people you compete with only just now discovering the power of blogs?

Time for you to think one move ahead: move onto video, video blogging, and social media. Establish a footprint long before your competitors do, and you will be nearly unassailable… all because you simply thought one move ahead.

And you don't even have to be Bobby Fischer.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • As always, you don't fell to impress. It's funny you brought this up, as I am working on a project along a VERY similar vein. I think it's very important to be proactive and forward thinking, especially in this economic environment. As you said, there is so many ways you can apply this principle; what cross marketing opportunities are available that make sense and have yet to be exploited by your competition? How can your business model be tweeked to give you a competitive advantage over others in your industry? Just so many ways to use this concept, but as with anything else the key is to DO something and not get stuck in contemplation mode. Great post, Ray!

  • Ray, Thank you for an inspiring post. I have followed you for some time now and recognize your stature a top leading guru in internet marketing, Your information has been an important part of my IM education although I (at 63 am still floundering). Your attitude and manner in sharing your information is what i find helpful over so many other gurus.

    Your reference tof Bobby Fisher and chess immediately caught my attention because I too was profoundly influenced by him. Playing the game was not my specialty, but I was inspired to make a very unique and interesting chessboard. I sold them for a few years in the mid 70's, riding the wave of the popularity of chess. The wave diminished and so did my sales.

    I stutter stepped a few times over the next few decades, trying to marked it again, without much success. The internet opens a new world of opportunity as does the arrival of the Christmas season. You will be receiving The Great Chessboard (and matching pieces) in the mail soon.

    I ask only for your impression and opinion of it. Enjoy The Great Chessboard.

    Ed Skurka 65 Gough Ave, West Warwick, RI 02893 401-828-1625

    Skype: Ed.publicspeakingadvocate

    • I am speechless and excited to see this gift! Thank you for your generosity.

      Ray Edwards