The Do’s and Don’ts of Esports Marketing
Although video games have been around for 40 years at this point, its popularity has only exploded into the general public within the past decade. With the rise of online gaming and competitive gaming tournaments, “esports” has become the biggest thing in the gaming world. People from different parts of the world gather together to watch live streams of their favourite teams competing against each other for huge prizes, much like fans of a physical sport like basketball and football would.
The reason why competitive gaming has become such a massive market is because of its accessibility. All you need to become a high-tier player is a computer, internet access, and of course, your skills. Once you have proven yourself, you’re put on the same ground as the best players in the world. You don’t need to be taller, stronger, or faster than any other players, as it all comes down to strategy and execution.
This precise nature of esports draws in a certain type of fan that gravitates towards honesty, fairness, and camaraderie. These are the three most important elements when you’re planning to launch a marketing campaign targeted at the gaming community. With that said, here are a few do’s and don’ts that you should remember when launching an esports marketing campaign:
Do: Commit to the same audience
Plan to set up a long-term relationship with the gamer audience, as that’s the best way to establish future success. Video games are often compared to subscription-based products. When someone likes a game, they will keep buying it so long as the company keeps producing high-quality content for them to enjoy. Therefore, if you’re looking to promote your brand and product to the gaming audience, make sure that you’re in it for the long haul.
Do: Influencer Marketing
The gaming fan base is incredibly loyal to their favourite Twitch streamers and YouTubers, so consider using influencer marketing to your advantage. This type of marketing will help your brand be represented in a positive light to the gaming community, which will help to increase your chance of success.
Don’t: Use the gamer stereotype
Many companies who try to appeal to this audience think that they’re being funny when they make fun of the gamer stereotype. In reality, however, they’re working against their own cause. It may be funny when somebody in the gaming community pokes fun at themselves for being a self-proclaimed nerd or living in their parents’ basement, but it’s not as funny when a multi-million dollar company does it. This is a trap that you must not fall into as it can cause the entire gaming community to turn against you and your brand. You need to show a level of respect, just as you would with any other target group. Remember – you’re trying to promote a product and a brand to them, so it’s important to make sure that you learn about their preferences before launching a campaign.
Don’t: Generalize gamers
The term “gamer” is a broad generalization, much like “athlete” and “music fan”. Not every gamer is alike, as the term doesn’t specify what type of game they play or how skilled they are at it. A marketing campaign that may work for experienced Dota 2 players may not have the same effect on Overwatch players, so there’s no single marketing formula that will work for all “gamers.” You have to change your marketing plan based on the target group you’re trying to appeal to. That’s the only way to ensure the success of your esports marketing campaign.
Don’t: Try too hard
Esports marketing requires a specific tone of communication that’s not very commonly seen in any other domain. If you don’t know what you’re doing, your campaign can come off as cheesy and patronizing, which is the last thing you want to do. If you want to see what lousy video game marketing looks like, check out the Mighty Number 9 trailer — Master Class. That is the perfect example of how NOT to promote your product to the gaming audience. The tone is condescending and the overall campaign just feels out of place.
Still not sure how to navigate the esports world to get your product or brand seen by this growing market? We’re an esports marketing agency that has access to considerable exposure in the esports industry. If you’re looking to get into the esports world but aren’t sure how to navigate it effectively, get in touch and we’ll help connect you.