Digital Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From Poker

There are many things that people can learn from poker. Aside from the obvious perks of winning a game, the process of playing it teaches you a lot about calculating risk, reading people, and decision-making. Author and former professional poker player Annie Duke is one example of someone who has mastered the art of decision-making, not just in high-stakes poker but also in everyday life outside of the game. The former professional poker player has gone on to become a decision strategist for individuals and brands, putting the skills she picked up from the game to good use. These lessons are also applicable to the professional world, especially in marketing. Here are four of the lessons you can learn from poker that can be used in the digital marketing world:

1. Understand your competition thoroughly

Having more knowledge of your competitors means gaining the leverage to make more profitable decisions. In poker, this is called “probe betting,” and it involves making small, speculative bets to gain information through the reactions of other players. This may involve finding someone’s tells or calling out their bluff. The same thing happens in digital marketing when you use small amounts of your resources to test a strategy (AB testing) before making a bigger investment. Testing your strategy across multiple stages of the sales funnel will provide you with more knowledge to make better decisions. When you identify the winning strategies over time, that’s when you double down on what works.

2. Speak the language of your focus demographic

Using the right words and terms in digital marketing is essential to capturing your target audience’s attention. This is especially evident in search engine optimization (SEO), which is responsible for placing your content at the top of search results lists so it is seen first. This is very similar to poker, which uses plenty of specified jargon and terms to play the game. You can’t sit at a poker game without first knowing poker terms like the big blind, fold, raise, and all-in, among others. Similarly, speaking the language of your focus demographic will make digital marketing processes and operations run more smoothly. This way, you’re letting them know that you understand them and their needs; you’re also communicating through ways that they understand.

3. Everything should be data-driven

Just like poker, everything in digital marketing today has to be data-driven. Poker players no longer make their decisions during the game based solely on instinct; so much of it is based on analytical skills that have been sharpened with time and practice. Modern poker players study the results of their games and crunch the numbers to find out what drove them to victory or defeat, and they apply these lessons and tactics in the next game. Digital marketers need to think the same way. The top digital consulting services in the world will often focus on metrics and data since they are becoming increasingly important for content marketers, even if they have mostly editorial backgrounds. Their job now is to translate the impact of content into tangible results. Instinct may be valuable in either position, but data will trump intuition every single time.

4. Focus on long-term value rather than short-term wins

Apart from calculating the expected risk for every move, poker players also judge every decision they make based on the expected value. If a player places a bet that is meant to win in the long-term, its expected value is positive; the opposite is true when it’s negative. Making consistently positive decisions will increase the likelihood of being more profitable in the long run. Content marketers can approach their strategies the same way. Short-term goals that produce good results might be nice to have now despite their negative expected value. It impresses the client and makes a good impression. However, while it’s more difficult, it’s much more profitable to get your clients’ buy-in on a positive expected value framework that will make a more positive impact in the long run. Sell strategies rather than quick wins. It may be best to veer away from instant gratification in favor of long-term gains, this applies to both digital marketing and poker.

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