Thursday, March 12, 2015

Content Marketing To Gamers - Hasn't Really Changed in 20+ Years

As part of my new job position, I'm subjected to e-mails from different PR and Marketing firms that are meant to boost my knowledge of the field I have entered into. Some of them are good and provide meaningful content. Others are just plain silly: 5 Reasons Why Darth Vader Made a Great Leader. Without the Emperor, he would be nothing, let's keep that in mind, shall we?

I've noticed a trend in these e-mails that are gearing themselves more and more towards gamers and the gaming audience. I think the old foagies up top are finally realizing that their work-force of late 20's, early 30-somethings all grew up in an age of technology. We like our games.

I'm trying to not scrunch my nose when I see these articles. I'm really not. I know they are meant to present information in a new format that should entice the readers to stick around for the full piece. But this needs to be shared for how bad it is - mostly because there are still people that think of the old ways of marketing video games that they can't break out of it. And that's sad. We're stuck in the 1980's and can't get out.4 Facts About Content Marketing to Gamers (And Why You Should Care).

First off, the writer, Brooks Huber, can't count. There are only 3 points in the article; not 4. Brooke Huber doesn't have a profile with the website, but according to the article, he has spent years int he industry as a game journalist. I found his LinkedIn profile and, while he's been very mobile and rarely sticks around past a year at a job, he's dabbled in some gaming as an editor, but mostly centers himself around community and PR work.

Essentially, Huber is trying to get across to his fellow PR reps that gamers are not in this one-size-fits-all box. And he's right, because we're not. The average gamer is not an 8 year old boy, nor is it a 30 year old, overweight man sitting in his parents basement. Everyone is a gamer. Games are not just Call of Duty, but Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and everything in between. But a lot of people still feel that the stereotype is the truth. Just asking around my office, I'm met with shock and awe that I consider myself a gamer. The IT associate didn't question it, but he's also of my generation. Anyone older then 30 seemed completely perplexed that I play video games. I'm a girl! I'm not a little boy! Why would you waste your time on that? It's amazing that even after all this time we're still in this mindset.

Which leads to Huber's second point: spend lots of marketing money on video games. Um...duh? Don't they already do that? In 2009, an EA employee noted that the company spends up to 75% of a game's budget on marketing. When you have a product at a cost of $100 million, that is a lot of money. Marketers and PR people KNOW that games will sell. People are willing to justify the cost because games are a longer-lasting entertainment medium by comparison to movies or television. $59.99 on a game is cheaper then taking a family of 4 out to a 2 hour movie. Parents who buy their kids games are the source of funds. Adults with steady jobs are too. Marketers know this. It's not a question of spending the money. They'll do it. What Huber should have proposed is redirecting marketing into new areas of interest. So much of the advertisement around games centers on young adult, white males in the 18-34 bracket. They need to expand it to include women, different ethnic groups, things like that. Money isn't the issue, Huber.

Third, and final point, 'do it well.' Do what well? I can only assume Huber means advertise appropriately. He points to Mercedes deal with Mario Kart 8, and Mountain Dew on all things gaming, but at the same time gamers don't want to be inundated with advertising. We can see advertising exploits. Well, so can everyone else. We know if Diet Coke has helped sponsor a tv show or a news broadcast. We can tell if Taco Bell is the mainstay of a movie (see Demolition Man). And do we care? Not really. It's not like Master Chief is saying Mountain Dew is the best drink ever. It's there, in it's bright green can, settled onto the walls and at the grocery stores. It's not that big of a deal. Advertising is not a direct plea to people to buy stuffy - it's all subliminal, subversive even. Given how big the gaming industry is right now, advertisers are "doing it well."

Huber, if you would like to impart wisdom to your co-workers, you may want to start from scratch and bring in content that is ground breaking. 2/3 of your 4 points are just sad rehashes of the stuff we've known for years. Let's talk about how to improve advertising for gamers (article from me to come...)


  1. Everyone is a gamer. So true.
    ... but the good gamers are women over 30.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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