Advertising Lessons to Learn from Poker

One of the most common misconceptions about advertising is that luck plays the most significant role in whether a campaign is successful or not. Sure, no campaign ever has a 100 percent chance of succeeding from the get-go, but there’s a lot more to making advertising work than good fortune. Just as an ace poker player knows that to win, they need to make the best decisions that position them for success, the same applies to any advertising campaign.

Taking this analogy further, we can see quite a few things in common between those revolutionary advertising campaigns and top poker players: neither of them makes obvious plays, they rarely choose the safe route, and they both adapt (and change) strategy as the circumstances require. So, what lessons in advertising can we learn from looking at a poker game?

Knowledge and Experience Bring Home the Big Wins

We live in a world obsessed with instant gratification, and the advertising industry is full of hot talent who have scored quick wins with products appealing to the “Insta” generation. While these “wins” may appease clients and audiences alike, for now, long-term success comes from building long-term relationships. Winning big takes a series of good decisions, played out over time, and the ability to learn from marketing mistakes.

An established professional poker player knows the rules of this disciplineinsideout, and they also know that building a long-term career takes a lot more than a few quick wins here and there. The same is true for advertising. The process is a grind, no doubt about it. However, the goal of any campaign should be to develop lasting, long-term relationships with an audience rather than those quick wins, which will never be fruitful or sustainable.

Managing a Bankroll Can Yield Maximum Results

How a poker player chooses to manage their bankroll determines how much money they could potentially earn. No pro worth their salt would go all-in on a speculative wager, but they do know when to push and spend more on a decent hand. The strategy balances on extremes: place higher wagers on the decisions with proven success rates and smaller ones on carefully assessed new avenues.

By implementing this approach to budget management, you’ll allocate more toward those high-ROI opportunities that ultimately yield better results. The goal of modern advertising is to make more money by spending less, so focus in on those strategies that you know will provide maximum ROI.

Know Your Competition to Avoid Playing the ‘Fish’

The “fish” in a poker game is that player who is always getting outplayed, usually because they walk into games without researching their competitors or deploy the necessary strategy to beat them. Established professionals do love the excitement of facing new players across the felt, but they would never do so without first studying their opponents: learning their tactics, style and most importantly, weaknesses. Competitor research is one of the oldest marketing methods, and for good reason because it works.

It’s all too easy in advertising to take a naive approach and forget about the competition, but you should make a point of finding out exactly what it is they’re doing right. Research their methods and strategy thoroughly, including the content that they create and where they get coverage. You may not be able to do much with this information this time around, but when it comes to facing them again, next time, you’ll be much better prepared.