I am in the middle of preparing my presentation for the Social Gaming Summit next week in Berlin, and wanted to pass on the highlights. Back in November, I wrote about the need to move beyond performance marketing, and I do not see a reason to repeat myself here (or to cut and paste), but the overall theme was that as the cost of performance increased, social game companies needed to develop robust marketing strategies so they could acquire players at a reasonable cost. I went on to discuss why you should create a full launch plan to ensure a successful launch. So I repeated myself a little but now I will go into some of the new elements I will be discussing next week.
Know thy customer
The first major issue is to know your customer when you start development, not several weeks after launch. It is amazing how many game companies neglect to think clearly about who they are building a game for. They may know if the game targets men or women but rarely understand what age group, socio-economic status, tastes and interests the game resonates with the most. These are all important elements to creating a true marketing strategy that targets and converts the people who will enjoy (and monetize) in your game.
What is the value?
The second important element to create an effective marketing strategy is to understand the value your game will provide to consumers and articulate that in a positioning statement. You have to understand why people will play and return to your games rather than the other hundreds of thousands of apps or Facebook games. This insight then should be translated into a positioning statement of where your product sits in the market.
I touched on this before, but one of my greatest frustrations is that social game companies are incredibly shallow social media marketers. Although some social game companies spend millions a month on Facebook or mobile performance ads, other than being masters of performance marketing they do very little to drive traffic on those platforms. It is crazy that companies like Chrysler and GE are more sophisticated social media marketers than our brethren who make all their money on social media. You need to spend more time developing your plan to create and leverage a Facebook community (whether or not you are publishing on Facebook), creating engagement by using Twitter, engage your highest value players with Tumblr and see what opportunities exist on Pinterest, Instragram, etc.
Do not forget videos
Creating effective videos is another great tool for generating users. The dream is for the video to go viral (my post on increasing your odds of creating a viral video) but there are many other ways you can leverage a video. By including it in your press strategy, bloggers and other sites can embed the video to create a more compelling story or post about your game. The video can also be used within your game’s community for players to learn about new features (or ways to spend their money).
These are a few elements that are important in creating a comprehensive, robust marketing strategy. I plan on posting my presentation on Slideshare after the Social Gaming Summit but the main takeaway is that marketing should be something you look at holistically and spend the time to develop an effective plan to gain users.