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As you might imagine, if you’ve ever met me in person – I am not a gamer. Not that I am trying to stereotype what a gamer or non-gamer should look and act like; I am just not a gamer.

In fact, when my husband hibernates in his man cave to play video games and leaves me in the living room to watch TV alone (which really doesn’t happen all that often), I seethe at the thought of video games.

BUT when I was talking with many of my gaming co-workers about great marketing, I couldn’t deny the creativity and innovation that video game industry uses when marketing their product.

While many marketing campaigns or “stunts” by gaming companies are seen as controversial, there is still the principle that any press is good press; and this has proven to be true time and time again for these companies.
Possibly one of the most famous and controversial campaigns was for Dante’s Inferno, a Visceral Game. I will give you a brief rundown.

This game is based on Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Divine Comedy and before the campaign was even launched, Visceral did their research to find that while 86-percent of survey respondents had heard of this epic poem only 19-percent actually knew what it was. So the marketing strategy focused on educating gamers on Dante’s story. From staged protesting religious zealots, to a night-of-lust giveaway at a gamers conference, to bloody Christmas ornament deliveries, the company engaged bloggers and gamers everywhere through this guerrilla and viral marketing campaign.

Another example of a successful marketing campaign for a game was for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Activision Blizzard used a massive marketing budget of $200 million to promote its most anticipated game of 2009.

In 2007, Nintendo – with the release of its popular Wii console – spent $57 million in advertising, verses the $13 million they spent the year before.

You are probably saying to yourself – no wonder why their marketing is so successful; they have the budget. While this is true, there are also creative ways that you, too, can make people excited (and even fanatical) about your product or service.

Part of the reason why these campaigns are so successful is because they generally offer people one or both of the following – something free, or an opportunity to literally be part of the experience.

Everyone loves something for free. It doesn’t matter if they need or want it, or whether it’s something they would have spent their money on in the first place – winning something at no cost will make consumers excited and loyal.

People also love to be a part of something greater than themselves. These game campaigns put fans into the game even before the product is released, making it a real-life event they can experience. When businesses involve customers IN the business and make them feel like they are a part of something it also creates loyalty and excitement. Gamers are also made to feel as though they are influencing the end product and it will therefore reflect them and their needs.

I recently experienced this at a local business near Omaha in Papillion. This restaurant put out a call on all their social media outlets that they were looking for volunteers and the comments came flooding in. People were jumping at the opportunity to be a part of something, PLUS were given free food and drinks as compensation. Being one of the volunteers myself, it created a loyalty and brand awareness among the group and an excitement for the product we volunteered to package.

So take a tip from the gaming market and be innovative, thought-provoking and interactive in your marketing tactics. Maybe even push the envelop just a little for some more attention. Any press is good press – apparently.

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