Marketing Lessons From Video Game Companies

By Madison Taylor
December 4, 2014

Ever since Nintendo practically pulled video game consoles from the brink of obscurity with the success of its NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) console, the video game industry has experienced a boon of success. Since then, we’ve seen the rise (and sometimes fall) of new systems introduced by Atari, Sega, Philips, Sony, Microsoft, and several others. As it stands now, the video game industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry that has no end in sight.

What many people don’t realize is that the success of these consoles has not only come from their graphical capabilities, fantastically developed characters, and fun gaming experiences, but from the marketing done by their respective companies. The same is true for game manufacturers, which quickly learned that in order to be successful, you needed to take the marketing bull by the horns, so to speak. In fact, their success can be linked to three very specific marketing strategies that every marketer and business should pay attention to and attempt to utilize whenever possible:

Strategy #1: Stay Ahead of the Curve

Many people don’t realize that a big reason why some of the most successful video game companies have prospered in recent years is because not only have they utilized the newest marketing techniques available to them, they’ve embraced these techniques right away. When social media was first starting out, the most forward-thinking video game companies jumped on the bandwagon immediately. They saw the potential of this new type of marketing and made it an integral part of their overall strategy. All businesses can take a page out of their playbook by realizing that it’s important to at least stay current with new social media, because you never know where the next Facebook or Twitter is going to come from.

Strategy #2: Connect with Customers

It’s no secret in the world of marketing that it’s important to connect with customers if you hope to really push your product or service into the stratosphere. Video game developers, however, have found themselves in a unique position because the vast majority of people who work in their industry also use their products. Can you imagine someone working for Nintendo, Sony, Rockstar, Square, or any other video game developer who doesn’t go home and play their company’s video games along with many others? Although it may be difficult to reach this level of pervasiveness in your specific business space, you can go a long way to connecting with your customers if you demonstrate that your employees really do believe in what they’re attempting to sell.

Strategy #3: Allow Users to Advertise for You

In recent years, video game companies have discovered an unusual way for their customer base to advertise products for them in the form of Twitch and other such venues. These outlets allow gamers to post or stream their daily or weekly video game playing sessions, whether it’s just them having fun, sharing strategies, or presenting their review of a new game. While this may not be a viable option within every industry, it demonstrates the power of influence that exists between consumers. If possible, you can take the testimonies or other online presentations of these customers and use them in your marketing campaigns, providing you with a powerful and inexpensive form of marketing. This may involve some intuitive strategies, but if the video game industry can do it, so can many other businesses.

Video games aren’t going away anytime soon and with a little hard work and the right type of strategies, neither will your company. By taking a page out of the video game developers’ handbook and finding a way to use these techniques in your own marketing efforts, your business has a greater chance of success.