Flanking Warfare Example: Battlefield 2 Ad Server


The ROI Hunters had a very spirited discussion the other day about our differing marketing philosophies. The other agency focuses their marketing energies on consumer or product disciplines. While we treat marketing as warfare with the intent of defeating a competitor on the battle field (the mind of the consumer), rendering them incapable of waging war, or simply destroying their will to wage war.

The Challenge

We were asked to come up with an example, which we thought would best illustrate one of the four strategic areas of marketing warfare: Defense Marketing, Offense Marketing, Flanking Marketing, and Guerrilla Marketing.

Flanking Warfare Rules

“Pursuit is a second act of victory, in many cases more important then the first.” Karl von Clausewitz

Taken from “Marketing Warfare” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

  • A good flanking move must be made into an uncontested area.
  • Tactical surprise ought to be an important element of the plan.
  • The pursuit is as critical as the attack itself.
    • This example first started out in my mind as a Guerrilla Warfare example, but I couldn’t justify the expense of setting up the infrastructure and be willing to drop the investment in a moment’s notice.

Uncontested Area

We chose a space which we believe is uncontested: Ad Services for First Person Shooter Gaming Systems. Specifically we are focusing on a very popular on-line game Battlefield 2. There are many maps which include space in which ads could be posted for players to see.

The ad services code would be added into the game to show up bill boards, walls, or boarded up windows. The ads would be geo-specific so that local advertisers to the players who have registered accounts providing all the information for geo-targeting.

Tactical Surprise

We also chose BF2 because it is also several versions out from the lime light of the newer releases of current games. The code could be introduced in a patch to the existing millions of BF2 players and thousands of game servers. The code would be designed to be modular so that other game interfaced would be build from the core used by all First Person Shooter games.

Pursuit is Critical

The team would be prepared before the introduction of the new code to the BF2 gaming system to branch out to other popular gaming systems. This is key to the planning of this project. We would not plan after we realized the success, but rather we would have our resources in place to take advantage of the successful flanking attack. We would make the competitors think twice before trying to enter this now contested space.

Flanking vs. Guerrilla Marketing

You choose which tactic based on your position in the market compared to your potential or current competitors, the resources you have available to you, and your ability to pursue and dominate a new market or successful campaign. In this example, I assumed that the software development, contractual agreements, and investment in time and money was too great to assume a guerrilla attack. But if I were a multi-billion dollar company I might see this little adventure as a guerrilla campaign.

This was a fun brainstorming exercise. Good Hunting.

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