In 2013, Grand Theft Auto V sold 12 million units in its first day making $800 million in sales. It was the highest revenue ever generated by an entertainment product in just 24 hours. This year video game advertising revenue worldwide reached $4.91 billion. It is predicted to grow to $6.91 billion in 2019.
From its humble beginnings in the 1950’s, the gaming industry has evolved to one of the most profitable entertainment businesses in the world.
What does this mean for marketers?
Digital marketing and gaming lessons
The gaming industry is one of the biggest digital marketing spenders. Many gaming companies and developers spend more marketing their games than developing them. Marketers should pay attention for one important reason: the most popular games often attract the largest audiences.
Games with strong fan bases reach millions of dedicated followers who will blindly support the game wherever it leads. Farmville, for example, boasts more than 70 million players every month. And while game fads, like Candy Crush or Pokemon GO fade in popularity as fast fast they arrive, there are successful games that grow and develop with their fan bases like The Sims, Final Fantasy, and Call of Duty.
The gaming industry offers a good example of how a successful fan community can drive a product success forward. All the more reason to focus on customers, rather than sales. Here’s a look at 3 marketing strategies we can learn from the gaming industry.
1. Powerful branding
Brands matter. In the video game industry brands are critical. Developers know the name of a game can affect how it is received in the market. When you market a product, or video game, create a brand and/or product name that’s easy to remember and understand. It should also be easy to pronounce, spell, and search on the web.
Business owners miss the mark when they try to be too clever in naming products and services. While this approach can create mystery and curiosity, in many cases it just creates confusion.
2. Think mobile-first
Mobile has taken the gaming world by storm. In fast, mobile games are projected to surpass PC and console revenue. Mobile gaming has increased popularity due to portability and convenience.
The reach of a larger audience and engagement attributed to mobile is often ignored by businesses. As smartphone penetration rises, the mobile market will also. Popular multi-player mobile games like Clash of Clans, Mobile Legends, and Mini Militia have created an immersive, addictive and social atmosphere for gamers to enjoy. Consider how you can create a frictionless mobile user experience than delivers the same kind of engagement.
3. Tell a good story
Everyone loves a good story. The linchpin of a good video game is the narrative. “A story-focused video game, like any form of creative expression, is an act of communication. The goal of a game designer is to communicate an experience and theme to the player.”
In the same way, a good marketer has to communicate an experience to their ideal customers. “It doesn’t matter how good your story is. What matters first is how good your storytelling is, and that’s defined by what medium you’re telling that story in, whether it’s a book, movie, or game.” However, big narrative (or product/service) ambitions can have great stories, but bad storytelling.
If you are unsure of where to begin with your story, start with the following question: What is the purpose behind everything you do in business (i.e. your “why”)? This is the foundation of any great story that resonates with customers.
This article has been edited.
Armela Escalona is a freelance writer and content marketer. Her work has been published in various blogs, magazines, and online new sites. She writes about business, startups, and technology. Connect with @ArmelaE on Twitter.
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