Applying Squid Game’s Winning Strategies To Digital Marketing
Updated on: 26 October 2021
Even if you aren’t a fan of K-dramas, you would likely have heard of this show, Squid Game, within the past few weeks. This popular series has catapulted to the top of Netflix’s streaming chart, becoming the most-watched drama on the streaming platform.
The premise of the show may seem innocuous enough. Play a series of nostalgic childhood games, and the winner stands to win a prize of 45.6 billion won, which is around SGD$50 million. However, let’s just say that things escalate quickly once the competition begins.
As the games go on, fans have speculated that there may be tricks to winning the games themselves. After all, just like any competition, there are specific strategies one can apply to give themselves the advantage over their competitors. While digital marketing may not be a game, it also requires a solid plan to succeed.
Let us take a look at the various methods employed by the multiple contestants to overcome the different stages and how these schemes can be applied to the realm of digital marketing. If you wish to avoid spoilers, make sure to watch the show before reading our article.
Red light, green light: don’t rush to your goal
The first game, ‘Red Light, Green Light’, has the highest body count out of the entire contest, killing over half of the 456 contestants. This is primarily due to the participants finding out the true nature of Squid Game and panicking when the gatling gun begins firing at them. The players’ fears triggered their flight instincts, causing them to move without thinking, leading to their demise.
However, if you can calm yourself down and think rationally, this game is relatively simple to complete, even with the added pressure of a ticking clock. Through careful observation, you will realise that the doll repeats the same sentence before saying the term ‘red light’. Realising this critical information allows you to stop in time before the doll turns around. Despite the ticking clock, contestants have sufficient time to reach the finish line if they do not panic. In fact, taking a slow and steady approach is the key to reaching the finish line.
Similar to the game of ‘Red Light, Green Light’, you should not rush to execute your digital marketing campaign. If you want to achieve your marketing goals, you need to put in a steady amount of effort to conduct proper research on your target audience and the best way to reach them.
While it is essential to start with a bang, the rush to reach your marketing goals may cause you to stumble, leading to failure. Similar to Player 324’s mistake, where he found himself stumbling as he was unable to stop in time mid-sprint in a bid to get to the finish line as quickly as possible, you might find yourself losing something valuable in your mad dash to attain your marketing goals.
Dalgona challenge: improvisation can be an effective tool in digital marketing
The second game, referred to as the dalgona challenge, involves cutting out the carved symbols on the honeycomb candy with a needle. However, the candy is brittle and breaks easily. So it is easier to succeed if the contestants have chosen a shape with fewer angles.
But that does not mean players that have chosen a challenging design don’t stand a fighting chance. While each participant is given a needle, there is no rule that states the players have to use the tool provided. They are only required to obtain the carved symbol without breaking their candy. Hence, some players improvised, such as Ali (Player 199), who carefully removed the symbol from the dalgona with his hands, Gi-hun (Player 456), who licked his honeycomb candy, and Mi-nyeo (Player 212), who used a lighter to heat the needle for easier carving.
Likewise, in digital marketing, there is no guarantee that the current course of action will succeed. Like Gi-hun, digital marketers sometimes need to adapt to the situation and switch their tactics when the initial approach fails.
However, this does not mean you can just wing it. In the field of digital marketing, improvisation still requires a degree of preparation, fluency, and knowledge. Most importantly, you need to know when to deviate from the original plan to achieve better results. The ability to change course on the fly is crucial to achieving your marketing goals.
Tug-of-war: you need to plan accordingly and not just rely on one tactic
While a game of tug-of-war generally relies on brute strength, Squid Game has demonstrated that there are various ways to win beyond the most commonly known tactic.
In digital marketing terms, we can think of Team 5 as the digital marketer who relies on getting as much content out to consumers as possible without a proper marketing strategy and Team 4 as the one with a sound methodology in mind.
As any good digital marketer worth their salt can tell you, a solid marketing plan is more than just posting regular updates on social media daily. You need to interact with your audience, post with purpose and consistency, and keep your message on brand. Additionally, you need to understand which platforms to utilise to reach your intended target audience.
As the adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Without a proper digital marketing plan in place, you will not achieve your marketing goals. Furthermore, you need to test your strategies extensively to see what works and what does not to make the necessary adjustments. Similar to how Sang-woo came out with Team 4’s winning strategy when their initial tactic was failing.
Glass stepping stones: learn from the mistakes of others
While the glass stepping stone game may seem like a contest based on luck rather than skill, there are still vital elements to glean from how the participants approach this game. Since the players are allowed to choose the sequence order, it might have made more sense to observe the game’s rules first rather than rush in head-first as Player 096 did by asking Gi-hun for the first vest.
Similar to how those at the back were studying which glass panels to step on by observing the participants ahead of them, it is wise for you to research and learn from the successes and failures of your peers in the digital marketing field.
Through your research, you can learn which approach works and which does not. This can act as a guideline to help you market your products and services to ensure they stand out from the crowd. For example, through market research, you can gain a solid understanding of your competitors’ pricing strategies, thereby giving you a better idea of the pricing for your products. Moreover, studying how they approach their marketing campaigns allows you to analyse and develop your own initiatives to counter their plans.
Incorporating strategies learned from fiction
While it might seem odd to incorporate strategies from fiction to digital marketing, the creative process involved in developing media usually goes through five stages before they are brought to life – preparation, incubation, illumination, evaluation, and verification. This process can be applied to digital marketing as well, thereby driving quality traffic to your website.
However, to properly incorporate such strategies into your digital marketing plan, you might be required to read and analyse the plot and the characters’ actions in detail. Not all fiction stories are superficial, and you might find yourself gleaning deeper meanings or viewing the story differently upon further re-watch. Through this in-depth research, you might just develop the right strategy to keep up with, or even move ahead, of your competitors in the ever-changing and constantly evolving world of digital marketing. That is what makes digital marketing so exciting, just like the shows you watch.