What marketers should learn from the video game industry


No one can deny the ingenuity of the world’s top video game developers. Whether we identify as gamers or not, what we’re seeing is an unparalleled unfolding of a successful industry. In the past decades, this pocket of the entertainment sector has been nothing but progressive despite the very specific niche it targets.

Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, goes as far as saying that “video games are ingrained in our culture.” The same organization reports that in the United States alone, 155 million are regular gamers and four of five households own a gaming console. Research firm Gartner confirms this astounding growth, forecasting that global sales will reach $111.1 billion as 2015 ends.


These figures aren’t surprising, given the industry’s successful targeted marketing strategies. When desktops replaced TVs, the video game industry was there. When social media took us all by storm, developers responded with social games. And as technology brings us to the age of virtual reality, you can bet that top gaming specialists will be just around the corner.

What made this feat possible, aside from the creation of captivating stimuli and well-polished technical skills, is the smart utilization of company branding techniques that work. Here are the lessons you should learn from the gaming industry.

Names matter.

When it comes to creating a brand buzz, gaming companies do it best. To name a few popular ones, we have NBA2K15, Call of Duty, Plants vs Zombies, Dark Souls II, Diablo III, and Destiny, among others. Notice anything similar among these names? They’re uncomplicated, straightforward, and memorable. It seems like an easy principle to follow when naming your own products, right?

Unfortunately, businesses still fall into the trap of overthinking their names or taglines. They try to sound witty and mysterious in the hope of raising consumers’ interest. Oftentimes, however, this generates the opposite effect.

Letting your products speak for themselves is the most effective form of branding. You don’t need to sound overly impressive, but your products have to deliver what it promises.

Who got there first?

In the business industry, the first to come up with a unique product is considered the industry mover. Companies who come in second will just be forgotten, if not completely ignored. Incidentally, this is why big brands take patent wars very seriously.

Experts in the gaming industry know this fact very well, and they abide by it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find copycats in the video game industry. Sure, there are games that fall into the same category and others might have striking commonalities, but they survive for one reason: when we disregard their similarities with other products, we’ll find that they’re offering something incredibly unique—something the other doesn’t.

This way, the company branding they’ve built doesn’t fall apart. Strictly speaking, you may not really be the “first,” but if you found a way to position yourself at a unique spot, there’s a great, if not a better, chance that customers will follow your lead.

There are truly inspiring and surprising lessons that the video game industry can teach us about targeted marketing. Watch out for the second part of this feature to learn more about brand positioning from top game developers!



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