The parallels between content marketing and the video game industry are fascinating when scrutinized with an impassioned eye.
Both mediums employ dizzying storytelling, engage their audience at the highest levels of immersion, and provide mighty and pronounced visuals. Video game products and social media use multiple channels, offer users something of value, and employ both social and mobile platforms to extend their influence and augmentation.
1. Tell Stories
The best video games tell stories. Resident Evil, for example, tells the story of an evil corporation with no business ethics that turns the population of a local town into lumbering zombies. Marketing is also a medium of storytelling. How about the story of the student that has to complete a term paper in one night and must suffice on only a few hours of sleep? How is a story like this resolved using marketing in advertising? With Red Bull, of course!
2. Go Social and Go Mobile
Video game companies now realize they can’t just sell games on consoles and PCs. Tablets, phones, and social media sites need digital entertainment, too, and the industry has quickly risen to the occasion by providing interactive entertainment on all platforms. Along the same lines, no major brand can ignore the fact that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube should all be utilized to ensure maximum reach.
3. Employ Powerful Visuals
To say the best video games are on equal footing with the best works of international cinema is no exaggeration. Marketers also want their content to have arresting visuals. Marketing visuals, much like video games graphics, can lure consumers in—even when the content isn’t always the best.
4. Develop and Engage Communities
The gaming community is fanatically engaged. You want to have your own brand enthusiasts that preach the good word about your products and services, as well? Make like the geeky gamers, and engage those fanatical brand ambassadors at every turn.
5. Use Multiple Channels
Some gamers will not touch an Xbox. Other would not be caught dead using a PlayStation 4 (or 2 or 3, for that matter). Video game players are extreme brand loyalists. Content marketing is similar in that you have to use blogs, YouTube, and webinars so you can appeal to each consumer’s personal tastes. Find out where your audience is and make a date to cross-pollinate.
6. Use the Right Tools
In any first-person shooter, your character can only carry so many items in a single load-out. As a player, you learn that to survive the game’s most intense situations, you sometimes need to swap out powerful items for more ideal weapons to achieve success. Both items are valuable, but one item will possess a better value in a given gaming situation.
Video games have become the juggernaut of the marketing world. Their crossover appeal may not always translate to success when it comes to movies, but when they do, they can make it big. The decade-long run of Resident Evil films (2002-2012), for example, made almost a billion dollars ($916 million, approximately) and has prompted a sixth film to be put into production for 2017. It’s tentative title—The Final Chapter—indicates this might be the final installment, but if it generates the kind of money its predecessors have, expect a reboot or a prequel some time in the 2020s.
For the video game industry, however, theatrical success is less important than theatrical production. Sure, it’s nice when a game is made successfully into a film, but if it gets made into a film at all, it’s success has already been acknowledged by people other than gamers.
And for that, you can thank the brilliant marketers who made it happen.