Category Archive: Marketing

Marketing To Your Tribe

Sitting on a plane, being able to write on my blog… technology is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

I’m flying back from Chicago (by way of Charleston, SC) to Nashville. I had the opportunity to speak on Gamification at two very awesome (and very different) events: Digital Summit Chicago and Type-A Parent & Lifestyle Blogging Conference. One for marketers and brands, another for the influencers that we rely on for those brands’ recommendations.

I use conferences as a chance to look inward – almost as much as I use them for networking and outward growth. It’s always great to take in a few sessions and refresh myself on what’s up and coming in the digital landscape.

With the new site design finished and settled, I’m finally getting a chance around the hustle and bustle of work to figure out what it is I really want to do with it. 

There’s so many things to choose from:

  • Web Design and Development
  • Marketing and Digital Strategy
  • Ministry (Specifically, KidsMin)
  • Gaming and Game Streaming

I’ll admit: the last one has me struggling just a little bit. The idea of streaming games – probably to Twitch – is exciting and fun for me. I’ve been an avid gamer for as long as I can remember. And with my background in multimedia (a lot of my college life was spent in front of a MacBook editing video) I’ve been resurfacing that passion in the form of live videos on Facebook and YouTube.

Thoughts on Twitch and More

This week I sat down and really thought about where I was investing my time, and where my ‘tribe’ is hanging out. I’m a marketing guy; my people hang out on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They make videos, posts, pictures, and share them to better their own brand (or someone else’s).

Twitch is the outlier network for me. As I sat down this week to think about thinks, I started realizing that Twitch, as a marketing avenue, has some serious issues – a few things that doesn’t sit right with the ‘marketing’ side of me. 

Twitch Marks The Spot

Twitch is what I call a destination social network. It’s niche; it does one thing and it does that thing really well. People go to the site to watch other people play video games and (during that stream) interact with the streamer and their community. And Twitch does have that part of it on lockdown – you won’t find a better platform for someone wanting to exclusively stream games and build a brand for themselves.

That said, Twitch is not a site you go to for ‘content discovery’. Large streamers with active viewers always rise to the top, but for new/upcoming streamers it’s very hard to stand out amongst the crowds.

There are a few things you can do to search for streams to watch –  mainly by game. But that’s flawed. Twitch encourages people to stream multiple games (to be a ‘variety’ streamer). Why then is the ability to find new streamers limited to the game they’re currently playing? It’s a backwards answer to the question they’re asking.

Breaking Out Of The Silo

Twitch makes it near impossible to grow a community on Twitch alone. Streamers, then, turn to other existing options: Discord, Facebook, Twitter, and even other multimedia platforms like YouTube and Instagram. 

Those other networks are variety networks. Even though it may only serve one or two purposes (Instagram, for example), the subject matter is varied. I can see all sorts of different subject matters looking at Instagram. 

People looking to continue their community ‘off-stream’ can do so relatively easily on those networks. People are (usually) already on other networks, and so extending the connection from Twitch to Instagram is an easy ask.

It’s absolutely not that simple in the other direction.

Since Twitch is a destination site for gaming, it’s a very hard sell for me to ask people who aren’t already on Twitch to go there just for the purpose of watching/following/interacting. Chances are, for the most part, if someone is going to watch a streamer, they are already doing it.

YOU MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS!

Which brings me to another pain point: ‘resources’ on Twitch are scarce. Someone on Twitch is there because they are watching a streamer already, usually. Time is a very precious commodity, then; since there are only so many hours in the day, every streamer is fighting over the same ‘pool’ of viewing minutes. 

And since there are few outside / fresh resources are coming in, that scarcity makes it hard for new and upcoming streamers to break out without exponentially larger amounts of work. Any existing member of Twitch that switches to another stream is taking viewing minutes away from another streamer.

I Actually Still Like Twitch… No, Really!

I know that a lot of this post seems like I’m hating on Twitch, but that’s not the case. I love Twitch – chances are if I’m working I have one monitor open to one of the streamers that I follow. It’s a great ‘passive’ medium for me. It’s very similar to Podcasts, in that regard; it’s something that I consume while I’m doing something else (and if I hear something that catches my attention, I’ll even interact!)

My issue comes in the fact that – from a marketing standpoint – Twitch has a few things that are incomplete, lacking, or even missing altogether. And I think if we really want to bring game streaming to the mainstream (and I do, because I enjoy watching AND streaming) then Twitch needs to become something that is a community in and of itself.

So, What About Mitch?

I’m still going to stream on Twitch, but my schedule there is going to severely back off. Like I said, I still love the idea of streaming there, but I want to use it as more of a ‘special occasion’ or ‘one a week’ thing. Why? Because that’s not where my tribe is. 

My tribe is marketing people, developers, designers… people that I want to have community with doing all sorts of things. Playing video games and chatting about marketing stuff? Sure, why not? I know a few other people who do that (on Facebook Live) and are very successful.

Now, this is what works for me. If you want games to be the Alpha and Omega of everything you do online, then you will find Twitch is going to do everything you need.

I’ll continue to go on Twitch. I’ll continue to stream on Twitch, but right now for people who want to use games as a part of an overall strategy (versus the major/only part), it’s just not the marketing network it needs to be.

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Achievers & Gamification: “I Wanna Be The Very Best”

Achievers in games want one thing out of their experience: to be the absolute best in whatever the game has in store. Whether it’s winning the top prize or beating the baddest boss, these players want to climb to the top of the pyramid of success.  Prestige, and the thrill of the achievement, are what drives these players to keep playing and to keep winning.

The achiever style of play is the one most targeted by MMOs, that thrive on a linear, achievement based progression. The more you play, the higher level you get. The higher level you get, the more perks (items, equipment, special prizes) you can get and show off.

Achievers are “completionists” – they strive to collect, catch, and earn every title or item they can to add to their collection.  If you have a prize to win or an achievement to earn, they will earn it.

Ash Ketchum in geek culture is the quintessential Achiever. Ash wants to catch every Pokemon, earn every badge, and win the “Elite Four” challenge.

Things that Appeal to Achievers

  • Points: Currency appeals to all types of players, but since it’s a “self measuring” metric Achievers tend to gravitate toward points/currency. Giving free items to collectors is good, but giving rare items (see below) to large point totals is better.
  • Prestige: While an Achiever may not be motivated by competing against other people, they see the biggest challenge as their own limits. If an Achiever takes down an achievement, promote that heavily.
  • Collections: Like Ash Ketchum, you wanna “catch em all” if you’re an Achiever. Make a log book for anything that you have a large amount of variance in (stamps, stickers, etc). Reward people that fill out all the pages or entries.
  • Rare Items: We’re not talking treasure, necessarily, but giving an Achiever something to remember the occasion by is always nice. Badges are a great modern example of this, but even ribbons or pins work for places with more of a physical presence.  If you’re running a points system, make sure to include rare “points-only” prizes – achievers will flock to those more because of their rarity.
  • Unofficial Challenges: Achievers will set obscure goals for themselves, and if you know it happens it may be worth promoting. In FFXIV, for example, groups will run instances with 8 “Tanks” – a deviation from the standard party makeup. Maybe you’re a music store owner, and someone’s bought every Vinyl created in 1975 (their birth-year). That’s not sanctioned, but it’s a cool piece of trivia to promote.

Links to Resources on Achievers:

Personality Types

 

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Bartle’s Taxonomy: Understanding The “Players” In Gamification

We’ve learned that Gamification is the act of taking gaming principles and applying them to real world situations in order to modify behavior.  But before we jump in with both feet, there’s a few things we have to consider.  Let’s look at a few sample “players” – a term used to define the users we will be interacting with.  We’ll do so in the context of an MMO – since most of these will be based on real players I know in Final Fantasy XIV.

Player 1: Sai Rainfire. Her goal is to develop her skill rotation to where she does more damage. That means researching rotations, talking to other players to see how they use their skills, and practicing on the targeting dummies.

Player 2: Billy Batson. He loves taking screenshots and sharing them on his Tumblr. He collects “glamour items” which serve no purpose but to change the appearance of his character. He’s also spent in play slot games online developing a “photo studio” in his player house.

Player 3: Lucina Alastairi (me!). My goal is to clear the latest and greatest content. To do that, I need better gear. To get better gear, I have to run the same content over and over to gain more in-game currency and tokens. (Luckily the content is fun!)

Player 4: Pent Whitecard. He loves exploration. He collects maps that show hidden treasure chests and links to the “Aquapolis” – a treasure dungeon – and collects them to do several at a time.

Player 5: Lily Foxclaw. Enjoys running new players through content, with a focus on teaching them the different mechanics in order to clear (beat once) or farm (run multiple times) the content successfully.

Player 6: Rowan Sinclair: Leader of a free company (guild). Loves the social aspect of having friends to run content with, and organizing events and/or parties to do content together.

Player 7: Colette Pascal: Is the quintessential crafter. Loves taking materials and crafting them into high-quality items to wear or sell on the market board for a profit.

All of these players are playing the same game, but have drastically different endgames. And while it may seem hard to group such a diverse playerbase, as it turns out they share a lot of common traits.

Is it possible, then, to take the common attributes of all of the players and group them together?

Richard Bartle seemed to think so. Bartle ran a MUD (multi-user dungeon) and interviewed his players to ask them what they wanted out of the game.  Once he had gathered enough data, he grouped them based on two criteria:

  • Action vs Interaction: is someone creating new experiences, or are they simply utilizing experiences that are already in the construct?
  • Players vs World: Is a user interacting with the construct itself, or the other players in it?

With these axes, he charted his players into four groups, known as Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types

Achievers (Actions with the World)

The achiever sees personal goal setting as the number-one endgame. Whether it’s going after the highest prize, the toughest dungeon, or the rarest item these players will stop at nothing to achieve their goal.

Explorers (Interacting with the World)

Explorers seek to understand and chart out the construct / world around them. They create guides, they optimize their skill rotations and builds, and they squeeze every ounce of success they can out of the construct. They never break the rules; they simply utilize every rule there is to maximize their playing.

Socialites (Interacting with Players)

To be honest, a socialite couldn’t care less about what game they are playing. They see the game as a means to “chill” with other players.  You’ll see them running dungeons, but value the experience and company more than the rewards.

Killers (Acting with/against Players)

The killer, like the achiever, wants to be the best. But instead of being personally driven, they are driven by leaderboards and scorecards. Killers, in the game setting, focus on Player-vs-Player events, and will stop at nothing to ensure that their records go unchallenged.

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We’ll dive into each of these player types in depth, but you can begin to see that “shotgun campaigns” rarely work when it comes to gamification. Research, knowing your player-base, and acting accordingly are the best methods to ensure that you’ll reach your audience – and that they’ll respond!

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Gamification: How to Level Up Your Marketing Campaign

I’ve never shied away from the fact that I’m a huge fan of gaming. Most nights, once the rest of the family has gone to bed, you’ll see me traversing the lands of Eorzea as my alter ego Lucina. Beating bosses, collecting loot, and enjoying the company of the other players I work with – there’s more than a few reasons why I keep coming back night after night.

Games have the potential to be addicting.  The constant feeling of “just one more level” is always nagging at the back of your mind. The best games have been engineered to hook players, give them just enough success to keep them hooked, and reward them based on actions and feedback. If you are looking for a new marketing strategy, then check out this online reputation management software.

And it goes beyond that. Video games spur culture, if you can believe it. Art, music, and all manner of film and cinema can trace their roots and stories back to gaming.Even sites where you can buy views also use games to sell more and reward customers for their purchases

What is Gamification?

But, the popularity of games can be traced back to an underlying formula: Get them hooked, keep them hooked, and keep the rewards flowing (but not TOO fast). And there are certain best practices that you can keep in mind to make people raving fans of your product, too!  But before we get any further, let’s lay the groundwork and ensure we’re all talking about the same thing.

Gamification is the act of taking gaming principles and applying them to real world situations in order to modify behavior.  This goes beyond enacting rewards challenges, as you have to ensure that your “quests” and rewards are appropriate for your audience, the subject matter, and many other variables.

We’re going to go over these more in depth as we progress in this series, but there’s a few main things you need to know:

  • There is more than one kind of “player” – certain players are motivated by certain end-goals, and your job is to ensure that all of them have something they can get out of it.
  • People _love_ to check their progress, and some even want to see how they stack up with other people. Just realize that not everyone will, and that’s ok too!
  • There’s a special “curve” you need to lead players along. You can’t give too much too soon, and you can’t hold out on the rewards until too late.
  • There are many types of ways to engage players – and chances are you will have multiple types even in one single campaign – don’t try to single something out, because it may not make sense alone.

Over the next few posts, we’ll determine what kind of players there are and how some of the various campaign types work to “scratch the itch” of that player. We’ll also go into the various types of gamification and see some real-world successes – and failures – of the various kinds.

So, whether you’re like me and see the value in video game principles, or are checking in for the first time, it’s time to Level Up your marketing and get to gamifying!

 

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