By having a market value of over $25 billion, the game industry already became bigger than the music and the film industry. Brands should see the game industry as an industry to invest in. However, many companies are unaware of the opportunities, and how to market within this industry. The way to market your brand in the game industry differs than we are used to and this is something brands should take into account.
Gamers are media literate
Brands should keep in mind that making advertisements with or for the game industry is totally different from making advertisements for TV, for instance. The communication is distinct as gamers are media literate and cynical about conventional marketing techniques. Their characteristic of being proactive and seeing themselves as different, influences the way you should approach them.
A postmodern marketing approach
According to the article: “IMC and postmodernity: an odd couple?” written by Lars Thøger Christensen, Simon Torp & A. Fuat Firat, the way how we market should be different in the post-modern world. This is connected to gaming, which arose in the post-modern world. As a result, it is not strange that companies should approach the gaming audience differently. Marketers of today need to realize that their products and messages have their own meaning and the receivers of those messages are not passive targets, but creative partners in production of experiences and identities and they can add value as well.
An example which portrays this in the industry is Coca Cola. With more than 350.000 thousand followers on their @CokeeSports Twitter they have created an eSports community around a soda drink brand. Coke has been a sponsor of League of Legends and is building a good reputation in eSports. This is post-modern marketing: creating a community by letting people being part of a brand. Furthermore, according to the marketing professor Cova, this is what the postmodern consumer prefers: having relationships with other consumers and not necessarily only with the brand itself.
Research your target audience
Marketers should dive deep into the world of eSports to know what kind of advertisement fits the target audience, as there is not one specific target audience for eSports. According to a report made by GMR Marketing, there are three distinct groups of eSports consumers: the watcher, players and the ones who watch and play. These groups have all different opinions about brand involvement, which you should take into account when making the advertisement. For instance, players are the most receptive when it comes to brand involvement, as 59% appreciates it when a brand tries to reach out through the gaming world, compared to 33% of the watch target audience. Their report also states that 42% of the gamers appreciate it when brands try to reach out through the gaming world, however, it has to be done properly. Anything that is overly branded or corporate is a turn-off. .
The characteristics of the gamers and watchers are also important to know. Seo Yuri states in his article that playing or watching a game is not only the consumption of leisure or work, but it really has a symbolic expression of fairness, respect to others, self-improvement and competiveness. These are values you should keep in mind as a marketer, as these values are meaningful in the eSports world.
When approaching eSports, marketers should have done lots of research about the target audience they want to reach but also the values of this group. Moreover, marketers should keep in mind that conventional marketing techniques are not working any longer and they should create a campaign where the viewer collaborates with the brand. Coke is an example which portrays that you can market your brand, while also being an (eSports) community for the viewer. This is a brand that other companies can take as an example.