What Is the Game Theory in Marketing?


Martha Robinson

Game theory is a powerful tool that can be used in marketing to analyze and predict consumer behavior. In this article, we’ll explore what game theory is and how it can be applied to marketing strategies.

What Is Game Theory?

Game theory is a branch of mathematics that studies decision-making in situations where two or more individuals are involved. It examines the interactions between these individuals, their preferences, and their strategies.

In game theory, a “game” is any situation where there are multiple players who have to make decisions based on the actions of others. These games can be cooperative or competitive, and the outcome depends on the actions of all players involved.

Applying Game Theory to Marketing

Marketing involves understanding consumer behavior and developing strategies to influence that behavior. Game theory can help marketers understand how consumers make decisions and how they respond to different marketing tactics.

One way game theory can be applied to marketing is through analyzing pricing strategies. Companies can use game theory models to determine the optimal price for their products based on competitor prices and consumer demand.

Nash Equilibrium

One important concept in game theory is the Nash equilibrium, which is a state where no player wants to change their strategy given what other players are doing. In other words, it’s a situation where each player’s strategy is optimal given the other players’ strategies.

Marketers can use Nash equilibrium models to predict consumer behavior in response to different marketing campaigns. For example, if one company introduces a new product at a lower price point than its competitors, other companies may respond by lowering their prices as well in order to remain competitive.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Another important concept in game theory is the prisoner’s dilemma, which involves two players who must decide whether or not to cooperate with each other. If both players cooperate, they both receive a moderate reward.

However, if one player defects while the other cooperates, the defector receives a larger reward while the cooperator receives nothing. If both players defect, they both receive a small reward.

Marketers can use the prisoner’s dilemma to analyze consumer behavior in situations where there are two or more choices available. For example, if a customer is deciding between two products, they may choose to purchase the product that has a better reputation even if it’s more expensive.


Game theory provides marketers with valuable insights into consumer behavior and decision-making. By understanding game theory concepts such as Nash equilibrium and the prisoner’s dilemma, marketers can develop effective strategies to influence consumer behavior and stay ahead of their competitors.