Why marketing is the true ‘game of games’: Could a video game be in your future plans?


What connects the ever-increasing rash of zombie-based, end/beginning of civilisations series, history of now, robotic lifestyles, and topic-related movies? They all seem to pose the question: does media drive culture, or culture drive media?

I ask this question in part based on this story, as well as my recent readings, which include Pendulum, by Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew, Prosper, by Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart, and Tribes, by Seth Godin.

What I see is a new need to engage the next few generations, not only with the current predictable field of marketing, but also with a highly defined strategy that includes AI, VR, experiential marketing, and even brand-based video games.

Why video games?

Brand-based video games are designed to support a target market. They provide avatars, characters, locations, objectives, challenges, antagonists, and conflict, as well as the resolution of conflict, telling the brand’s story not in a 15 or 30 second commercial but across the life of the targeted audience, at a speed and end result that the consumer in part drives, across long-term dialogue and engagement.

Included with this brand-based trans media strategy, as dubbed by Jeff Gomez of Starlight Entertainment – whose email to me sparked this article – is a defined brand objective combining the very best of all the interactive and haptic based media into a defined proprietary device: the branded and brand-owned video game.

A video game based on a brand’s needs provides the best of many worlds; the world of culture-driven media and the world of media-driven culture.

Does marketing need a video game to engage the next few generations of consumers and businesses?

Think about your brand as a storyline, and consider all the different paths of media you can take to get that storyline ‘out there’. Then, think of all the different levels that the consumer can experience while on the buying adventure. Why not provide the opportunity to your clients and customers to select the targeted line they feel best fits their life – their past and present, their desires, their response, and their ability to close the sale?

The game rules are simple: follow your part, your story, to the end result – a sale or interaction – and keep the communication open via ongoing updates, dialogue, and interactive engagement. Allow for a change of storyline and personal additions to the narrative, or if you prefer, ‘na-your-tive’. In planning your game, ask yourself what a lead character must go through to achieve an objective. Actions must reflect gameplay and unique features. Reward the use of tractable and measurable unique strategies to achieve the end game.

Rewards, levels, expansions, and contractions are part of the next stage of simplification of marketing, placing as many of the media and tracking devices into one tool, a foundational tool that becomes the ‘I’ of marketing: the marketing video game.

Is a marketing-based video game in your future?

What better way to tell your story than via a branded video game – a truly responsive marketing tool. Games can be played at home, on the road, or at stores, with retail locations as part of the background across most, if not all, media.

Your game needs to determine who is playing and track the interaction of the consumers and the impact of that interaction on your story. Which incentives are provided to allow the consumer to move up or down a level? How is the information presented to the consumer? What skill sets can be taught, allowing the consumers to be kept in the loop and aware of their current position and future rewards – based on your brand?

Furthermore, how will the distinct chapters or sections of the game creatively and visually roll out the story’s progress and increase challenge, while effectively and simply leading to a defined end point? Your branded game needs to measure the rise and fall of events, provide interactions, and drive elements. It should offer crucial or critical information, plot twists, rising stakes, events – game-based and real world-based such as experiential marketing – leading to the climax, the sale. Consider updating the ongoing sales process and even using the game foundations as a device to enhance the engagement and relationship between the brand and the consumer.

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