Crafting Your Video Game Marketing Strategy
by Game Marketing Genie, on 14-Dec-2018 14:53:03
One thing all businesses have in common is the need for a strategic and ever-evolving marketing plan and that is especially true in game marketing. No matter how great a game you have created, if it is unfamiliar to the public, it is not going to generate the revenue you want to see. It is vital for businesses to stay on top of trends and customer expectations.
First, a successful marketing strategy will focus on potential customers. Second, it will utilize the proper platforms to get the word out about what is being sold. Finally, brand differentiation can help make the product or service popular and memorable.
Are you ready to formulate a marketing strategy that will maximize sales and brand recognition?
Here is what you need to ask:
1. Where Are You Now?
When forming a marketing strategy, ask yourself, where are we now? Consider what’s working and what is outdated. Evaluate your brand and customer satisfaction.
Constant evaluation and review of your strategy is necessary for the improvement of sales. Customer preferences change over time. For example, many people shop online because it is convenient. They are more likely to spend money if they can conveniently download a game or have it shipped. The smoother the purchase, the more likely they are to make it. GameStop still exists, but its role is becoming more limited.
If the number of retailers is limited or if your product is buried towards the bottom in the online shops and no one sees it on the first page or two when they search for games, they may never even have the opportunity to purchase it.
Customer demographics can also change, so don’t get stuck with a limited user base when there is room to expand. For example, women are increasingly playing video games. In fact, nearly 25 percent of people over 65 years old describe themselves as playing sometimes or often.
You need to get your game out front and, more importantly, in front of the customer.
Money In and Money Out
Marketing is not free and marketing campaigns are some of the top business expenses. Although you do not want to skimp on what is spent on advertising, you also don’t want to spend everything you make on promoting a game.
A few key questions to ask when evaluating the current marketing strategy are:
- How much profit does/did it generate?
- Are the sales up since putting this campaign into motion?
- Are customers responding?
- Is the brand becoming more well-known?
The Gamer is Always Right
Looking through customer reviews, putting out surveys and looking into how many people would recommend your game to their friends are great ways to collect opinions.
As important as profit is, customer approval is key. They are one of your best assets in marketing and when they talk about or share media that highlights your game, that’s free advertising you can’t afford to lose.
Core survey questions to ask:
- How did you hear about the company?
- Where else have you seen this game?
- Would you recommend it to others?
- Was it easy to obtain?
- What is the game experience like for you?
- What would you like to see in future releases?
For Guild Wars 2, they asked on their own gaming forum to get honest feedback about a video intended for marketing purposes.
Online product reviews are a great place to get a measure of how your game is doing. Another excellent source of in-depth information is gaming communities. Also, check in with retailers to see what percentage of returns and complaints they are receiving – check for any praise as well!
If game sales are centralized and have not expanded, it may be time to revamp the marketing strategy. Look into other avenues of game disbursement as well as retailers who can put it on their sales platforms.
It may be worth looking into adapting your game to various platforms. For example, in 2017, the mobile gaming industry generated $50.4 billion in global revenue. Getting a chunk of that couldn’t hurt!
2. Where do You Want to Be?
After figuring out the status of your current marketing plan, it is time to decide exactly where you want it to be. Before you change up what is going on, set goals for what you are selling.
Most likely, you want to be the best, most recognized and most recommended. Start with a vision statement and let that guide your game marketing strategy. When creating this vision, consider customer needs, the future outlook and any predicted changes to the gaming market.
Set goals for your company. What is it you want to be known for? Think about what you want customers to say when they talk about the big picture. Reliability, amazing game play and good player support are key aspects to look at. To make this more specific, aim to get only four or five-star ratings from customers.
Brand recognition is key. You will want people to recognize your logo. Expanding to different areas and reaching other demographics is another solid goal. You will want to take over as much of the game market as you can reach.
Something like decreasing expenses by 10% and increasing sales by 20% annually is very specific. Even increasing growth by 50% by the fifth year in business is something to work toward. Just remember that the game market can change quickly so you’ll have to keep up to meet those goals.
Now you are ready to judge the success of your strategy with key performance indicators.
There are a few things that can tell you if your game marketing strategy is making an impact on potential buyers and leaving a good impression on those who have already purchased. These include social media shares and likes, increases in revenue and probably most importantly - the number of active and return players.
Set a time limit, otherwise, there will be no drive to get things done. Additionally, you not only need long-term game-changing goals but your team also needs small goals to stay focused and motivated. Create milestones and celebrate each achievement.
3. How Can You Get There?
Once the goals have been set and the target customer defined, follow these rules of marketing to get your plan into motion:
Your product delivery is huge. Customers like an attractive well-packaged product. If it is getting shipped, you want to make sure it is safely packaged. Everything from your website and brand to your advertising and packaging should stand out.
Dragon Age Inquisition went all out with a collector’s version. It came with a chest case complete with a steel book containing the game, ornamental war pieces, coins, a badge, ink and quill set, a world map and a lockpick set.
Both your brand and game should be eye-catching and familiar. If there are a lot of similar games in your niche, make sure yours has a unique selling point and a strong design that makes people want everything to do with it.
Pricing is big aspect to consider for many customers. If it isn’t affordable, it will be a passing thought. You also need it to be priced to make a profit. Find a balance between pricing for the customer and pricing for the business. Look at the current market and adjust accordingly.
Where can people buy your game? What is the distribution channel? Position your product where it will actually sell. Look at marketing research and see where customers in your niche are buying their games.
Also, decide where the best venues are to provide more information to potential buyers. Or you can go beyond traditional advertising, like when Grand Theft Auto 5 had full murals done on buildings in New York and Los Angeles.
How will you get the word out about what’s for sale? Consider platforms such as general and niche-specific social media, YouTube, Twitch, media influencers and forums as well as television, radio and billboards.
Next Games had a YouTube influencer, LeLePons create a promotional video for their Walking Dead game. That one video alone has well over 13 million views, and they also reached out to 17 other influencers to make additional videos on the platform as well.
As for the more traditional approach, the Call of Duty: Black Ops “There’s A Soldier In All Of Us” TV advertisement was a huge success that helped to introduce people who may have been less familiar with the game.
The best way to catch the eyes of potential customers is doing something different. Little Big Planet set up a series of mini-billboards on the sides of walkways that had lots of foot traffic. Even people who were unfamiliar with the game noticed their persistent and creative technique.
Make sure that your customer-facing team members are trained in how to interact with the user base. They will need to stick with the brand’s unique style while offering information and assistance.
Ensure every employee has proper training and knowledge. Communicate to them exactly what you expect of them and make sure they know how valuable they are to the team. And of course, employees should all be familiar with the products your brand is offering.
Having a solid and engaged team is huge. Three key skills you will want your people to have are:
- Communication: Being able to talk to customers, team members, suppliers and service providers
- Collaboration: Motivating each other and combining ideas
- Acknowledgment: Paying attention to both strengths and weaknesses to continue improving
When it comes to hiring, make sure you have motivated, enthusiastic people on your side from the start.
Identify Missing Links
If your customers have a good buying experience from start to finish, they are more likely to share that experience with friends. Likewise, if the experience was difficult and frustrating, they will tell them to avoid the company.
Make sure the website UI is user-friendly and accessible on all devices. Finally, make sure when they receive their purchase they are satisfied. Your customer and tech support teams are going to be a huge part of this.
Your first strategy may not be perfect from the start. Consider A/B testing to find out what type of advertising works best for your market and then adjust to the method that draws in more players to your game.
Last but not least: Do not copy what everyone else is doing too closely - be unique!
Strategizing for the Future
Formulating a strategy is not something that should be undertaken lightly. As you've seen above, some aspects can be altered to better fit what you are doing, while others will need to take priority to shape how your strategy develops. This is the basis of a strong marketing strategy and lays the groundwork for an even stronger advantage in the gaming market.
Want to know more?
Game Marketing Genie will take away any uncertainties you have with forming a strategy. We know how daunting the task can be. Our team of specialists has been assembled from the best that the industry has to offer and our experience is second to none. Don’t believe us? Let’s have a chat!
Click here for more information on our Strategy and Consultation expertise.