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3Marketing strategy

Games Can Make You a better Strategist

Martin Reeves, Georg Wittenburg 2015, “Games Can Make You A better strategist”, Harvard Business Review SEPTEMBER 07, 2015

The Articles Main Idea

The article talks about how gaming can give a strategic edge to the executives by engaging employees and marking their performance. According to Martin & Georg (2015), Companies have a greater need to learn new ways of responding to the dynamic and complex environment. Strategic games have evolved in the last two decades, and the next generation might be able to solve a real business case. Books enhance intellectual knowledge, but they are not interactive. Live pilots are realistic but risky and expensive. Coaching approaches enhance personal development but in the end, they are hard to scale. On the other hand, Games at a low cost create interactive, experimental and great understanding in a business environment. The article explains five benefits realized when using Strategic games and they include;

First, the strategic games are not expensive and provide real-time feedback. The executive can learn quickly due to the instant feedback. According to Martin and Georg (2015), a manager is kept in a “flow” zone as the game is quickly adaptable to individual skills. A player can make a strategic decision and expects to receive feedback experienced in the past without the risk of being bankrupt.

Secondly, strategic games help managers to interactively incorporate ideas. Through visual reality, gaming is better than spoken, or written words as managers can analyze the environment and in turn, make an executive decision through judgment calls. Training with others helps in theoretic skills. A player or the company can anticipate on the competitor’s moves and act on them.

Additionally, strategic games help managers to make a structured analysis of their actions. The managers can reflect on their activities thus understanding the reason for a victory or defeat. This way, managers can retrace their actions and that of the competitor. In the end, the players can make score comparison and the way to have a better performance. The analysis helps players to know the right approach to approach.

Moreover, gaming analysis helps in testing different scenarios. Games act like vaccinations where people become immune to the particular disease. Therefore, the players enhance the future occurrence by simulating scenarios. Then they come up with ways of dealing with these particular scenarios. The games act as an amplifying way to the future reality. Through the collaboration of players and the exchange of resources, managers and firms can adjust their strategies constantly.

The article then explains the final advantage of gaming stating that it is easy to roll out games to many managers. The gaming is originally from military spare where the defense sector enrolls many troops. The games are programmed once with minimal incremental cost. Therefore, unlike the coaching approach, games do not restrict the number of participants. The games help to build strategy skills in a dynamic environment at a minimum cost.

Point of agreement/disagreement

One area of agreement with the gaming strategy is the ability to predict the reality. The managers can use strategic games to gain the competitive advantages; this means managers can do competitor orientation by analyzing the competitor’s moves and the possible ways of gaining the competitive advantage. The managers use the strategic gaming to train employees without a limit, unlike the coaching approach. The game approach is cheap. Therefore, managers can do a market orientation focusing on the long term ideas (Edery, 2009)

However, for a company to succeed, it needs to consider other strategies before deciding on the best strategy in the environment. Strategic gaming only works when a competitor acts on how a firm or the manager expected them to act. Therefore, for a firm to succeed, it needs to analyze and decide the best strategy instead of trying many strategies as games while the executives act as the prayer. When acting as a player, it means the managers and the firm focus its attention on only beating the competition using better skills instead of considering other strategies such as adaptively, shaping, classical, visionary and renewal. Each and every market faces different environments depending on the current problems. The executives know the firm situation and can be able to decide on the best strategy without testing all the strategies. From the concept of marketing, some environments are classical meaning that managers can predict but have to analyze and plan on ways to overcome the situation. Adaptive environments entail a continuous experimentation. This is because the strategy cannot work on unpredictability and rapid change Porter, 2004).

Additionally, when it comes to visionary settings, businesses conquer a market by being the first to make a new market or in other cases be able to disrupt the existing markets. On the other hand, shaping involves orchestrating actions of the competitors. When firms face the harsh conditions of renewing in the environment, they need save and free up resources to ensure its survival in the environment. Also, there are other factors worth considering in gaining competitive edge such as focusing on customer satisfaction and loyalty, have a bargaining power over the suppliers in the industry and rewarding employees to motivate them work. Therefore, strategic games take the time to experiment; gaming is a solution but not always the best solution in some circumstances (Gamble & Thompson, 2013)

Key learning from the reading

From this article, I have learned that strategic game is a good method of dealing with the dynamic and complex environment. The strategy is interactive and focuses on the reality. Games create experimental and tailored understanding. Strategic game is a cheaper strategic compared to many approaches where and does not limit the number of people being trained, unlike coaching. The strategy gives instant feedback, and so the executives can learn faster than in the real world. A smart game can match individual skills based on the user actions. When playing the game, players can learn the theoretic skills as it is easier to know the market reality virtually. In addition, games enable the executives to reflect on their activities. By doing this, they can learn what they did right and wrong. Therefore, it is easy to test different scenarios using strategic games and know the expected response (Grant, 2013).

Implication for marketing strategy and the achievement of competitive advantage

The article highlighted the Implication of getting the best strategy to beat is important to learn the intended actions of the competitors and the getting quick feedback or keeping track of the performance level. Also, the article focuses on the implication of the greater new ways to respond to the dynamic and complex environment. When a firm executes the best strategy to deal with the environment, the firm will be able to beat the competition. Businesses can build strong competitive advantages by learning competitor’s action and coming up with a better way of succeeding. A business should virtualize and for interactive ways to solve the current problems. First, a company should build a strategy that focuses on buyer’s power. A company should have many powerful buyers so as the buyers may not dictate the prices of a product. This means that the marketing strategy should attract good terms or good products so as to get many buyers. Secondly, businesses should have many suppliers that offer unique services. Also, a firm should be flexible on the ability to find a substitute, by gaining the bargaining power over the suppliers, firms will get supplies at a lower cost. Thirdly, firms get the threat of substitution where customers may find better products or different ways of doing things. Companies should focus on products that are hard to substitute (Porter, 2004).

Moreover, companies should concentrate on being more capable than the competitors. If there are many threats or if there are more capable competitors in the market, companies face the risk of been wiped out in the market. Therefore, companies should be able to use strategic marketing like games to be able to beat the competition. Finally, firms should focus on the threat of new entry; the power is essential in entering a market as cost, economic scale and capability of the technologies affect new entry. Firms should provide protection for their technologies and durable barriers to gain the competitive advantages. Therefore, I would recommend executives to come up with the best strategies to solve company problems (Porter, 2004).


Edery, D. (2009). Changing the Game: How Video Games are Transforming the Future of Business. Upper Saddle River, N.J., FT Press.

Gamble, j., & Thompson, a. a. (2013). Essentials of strategic management: the quest for competitive advantage. New York, NY, McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Grant, R. M. (2013). Competitive strategy. London, Henry Stewart Talks. //

Heffernan, M. (2014). A bigger prize: how we can do better than the competition.

Martin Reeves, Georg Wittenburg 2015, Games Can Make You A better strategist, Harvard Business Review SEPTEMBER 07, 2015

Porter, M. E. (2004). Competitive strategy: techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York, NY [u.a.], Free Press.