The Power of Esports Marketing
Discover How Esports Marketing Strategies Can Elevate Your Company
Game on with millions of Millennials, Generation Z members, and influencers rocketing into the future of media and sports.
Esports is a relatively new industry built around tournament-based video games, such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and others often played in arenas (of varying sizes) and streamed online on Twitch.com.
Overview of the Current Scope of the Esports Industry
The question remains, though: How can your company and brand get involved and see a solid return on investment? An Esports marketing strategy could implement some of the following:
- Products & Technology: Gamers love branded apparel (like self-tying shoes), hardware (such as a keyboard sneezeguard), peripherals (for example a star wars branded keyboard) (like a touch-sensitive light-up mousepad.)
- Events - from hosting local competitions and esports tournaments to industry events such as conferences, conventions, and tradeshows - there’s plenty of opportunity to meet, build, and offer value to the community at large.
- Sponsorship - there’s a phrase in the nightlife industry, “the easiest way to get into a party is to pay for it.” There are many of those “pay to play” opportunities from Team Sponsorship (even at the High School and College level now, that’s how much this has grown) to show sponsorships and getting your logo on the flyer, websites, media wall, twitch stream and more by sponsoring events (like those referenced above.)
- Game Development (“publishers”) - there are more ways to fund and source game development than ever including Patreon as a funding option and outsourced development using channels like upwork or college programs where you can find local and often inexpensive talent.
- Players - you may or may not know this but people who stream on Twitch and get subscribers are PAID a monthly fee by those subscribers. Supporting players is a real avenue for engagement that is much appreciated in this ecosystem. Brands even have the opportunity to work directly with via the Twitch Bounty Board program where you can pay for specific things like shout outs during their broadcast, product demos, and a LOT more.
- Coaching - that’s right, there are video game coaches, and if you’re feeling entrepreneurial then this is a rapidly growing segment.
- This industry is growing fast and there are blue skies of room to support from labor such as Commentators and Tournament Organizers, to technology providers for streaming equipment, and even specialized Performance artists such as Cosplay Artists, Musicians, DJs, Dancers, and so on.
How Does a Brand Push “Start” on their Esports Marketing Strategy?
If you aren’t already immersed in this industry, there is definitely a learning curve. Once you get involved, though, it is quite an exciting ride!
If your company is a nonendemic (not naturally integrated) brand, a targeting exercise can help you determine where your target market and the demographics in the esports industry intersect. The most significant segment currently is males between the ages of thirteen and thirty-five. This group is tech savvy and has higher spending patterns than the average consumer in this age range. For example, they are willing to spend more money on consumables in the esports arena (virtual and physical).
If you still are not quite sure how to find a fit and get appropriately involved with the esports community and launch an Esports Marketing campaign, here are a few points to walk through:
- Choose a game. The audiences for different games are completely different.
- Look at the influencers. Participants are on Twitch (and often Twitter) more than Facebook or email.
- Decide how you want to work within the gaming community. Will you become connected to the clothing, food, drinks, flights, or a different sector of esports?
- Make sure you fit into the culture. A lot of trolls exist in this arena, and if the fit isn’t there, they will know, and your brand’s placement might be rejected.
- Start helping. The industry’s participants are actively looking for support and leaders to help grow and to organize the sport they love. This is partly because the industry is growing at such a rapid rate (15 percent annually).
- Marketing works, but take a different approach. Most esports consumers don’t watch television or listen to the radio. They are also likely to use ad blockers (software that blocks ads from search engines). Participants, however, are still using their choice of social media and are definitely online via Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
How Can You Reach Esports Players and Viewers?
- Social Media – on top of Twitter, Instagram and (to a MUCH lesser extent Facebook) the esports community LOVE Discord which is a bit like a combination of Slack and Facebook Messenger. Also, Reddit and most of all TWITCH!
- Native Advertising on Social Platforms – on top of advertising in the above
- Out of Home (OOH) Advertising. This involves creative and interactive displays where the target market is. Think about the signage in GameStops, for example or showing on screens in esports arenas.
- Inbound Marketing. Invest in blogs and amplified social posts that lead back to the website, collect information, and take participants down the marketing funnel.
- Experiential Marketing. Esports is an experienced-based product, so it makes sense the players and viewers respond well to experiential “brand activations.” Imagine an obstacle course in the middle of the forest for a Pokémon GO event—this happened—or a professional parkour team performing for a game release outside of a conference. (This also actually happened https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2is9omLsjE.) These experiences are appealing to the user and the industry culture. Introduce and share your brand with esports players and fans in a way that connects with their active interests. Imagination is the name of the game, so think outside the traditional marketing box.
This is a major opportunity for endemic and non endemic brands to connect with the esports community and use an integrated Esports marketing strategy to reach the elusive Gen Z members, as well as some techy Millennials. It is a fairly new market that is just starting to ramp up, and now is the time to jump in and to capitalize as a first mover or integrated brand. You could even potentially become a legacy brand within this booming industry.
If you are interested in reaching this market with your company, reach out to us today. Spiral Marketing can quickly get you started gaining traction in the esports industry.