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