Alternative Sales Strategies for Digital Stores: Marketing Events

Wrapping up our look at some of the new sales strategies that developers have is an unusual category. 

SteamSummer

Marketing events are unique situations where a store or a developer tries something new to capture the attention and sales of the consumers.  And while there haven’t been too many of these, the ones that have happened are interesting enough to discuss.

Making a Scene:

Marketing events in the Game Industry are where a developer or a store goes that extra mile to get people interested in their products. This is far beyond just a discount on your game as the event is designed to engage your customers and makes them more interested than just having a 50 percent off sale.

The work that goes into these is obviously the largest of the topics we’ve talked about in this series. But the payoff of engaging your customers this way cannot be understated. A good promotion will get them to tell their friends about it who may not have been interested before and this can create a snow ball effect of visibility to help sell your game or renew its shelf life.

Because of the amount of work, examples of marketing events are rare compared to just having a seasonal sale. But there are a few that we can discuss here.

Overkill Software’s Crime Fest:

Overkill Software who made the Payday series have been doing a promotion since the start of summer for an event they’ve dubbed “Crime-Fest” which honors three years of working on the franchise. The event is based around getting people to subscribe to the Payday 2 steam group which they use for all notifications of updates and sales. The developers have given out free content in the past for anyone who is a member with new weapons and masks and the crime-fest promotion takes that one step further.

CrimeFest

Overkill Software’s Crimefest event has raised the visibility of Payday 2 while renewing the multiplayer fanbase.

If the number of people who are a member of the group hit certain thresholds, it would unlock new content that would become free once it’s released.  The rewards varied with new weapons, masks, free DLC and even some gameplay changes. All this was the preamble for the actual event that started on October 18th and according to them will run for eleven days.

The event has created a feedback loop of getting people interested in it and Payday 2 to join the group while increasing awareness and sales of the game and DLC which has increased the number of people playing. As of the time of this post, crimefest is going on with reveals of new characters coming to the game, reworks of the game mechanics and more all spread throughout the remainder of October.

Next we have a store that turned a sale into both a contest and competition for its fans.

GOG’s Flash Sale:

Last year, GOG.com took the concept of a flash sale even further with involving the community. How it worked was that a limited number of game keys for one game would go up on sale for a massive discount. As people bought the game, the number of keys would go down until they ran out and then the next game would go up.

GogSummer

GOG.com has consistently changed their marketing strategies over the years to raise awareness.

No one outside of GOG.com knew what games were coming or their discounts but GOG also snuck in free games which were immediately scooped up by the fan base. The promotion was meant to last for a week but the sheer popularity of it caused GOG’s original allotment of keys to run out within a day and they had to quickly expand the contest for the remainder of the week.

The number of sales from the original event was so great, that GOG decided to have a second event a few months later for success.

Our last example is the one that started it all — the Steam Summer Sale.

Steam Sales:

We’ve talked at length about Steam and its impact on the game industry and today is no different. The original Steam Summer Sale was unheard of at the time and was the driving force to show just how much sales can impact a game’s success.

Over the years, Valve has turned the summer sale into a major event — with contests, daily votes, special rewards and more for the avid fan. Every day of the summer sale, featured something to keep people invested and coming back which meant sales for the consumers and profit for the developers.

With the popularity behind these kinds of events, it’s easy to see what the advantages are.

Advantages:

Simply put, marketing events are one of the best ways to raise awareness and visibility for your game/store. The better the event, the more people will follow it and tell their friends about it, further raising its awareness.

GOGsalescreen

A good marketing event will lead to increased visibility of your store and more sales.

Marketing events are the perfect times to make important announcements or have sales on your titles as this is the time where all the consumers will be looking at the event and by association your product to decide what to buy. Multiplayer games are a big deal for marketing events as their consumer base is tied to the game’s multiplayer mode. A good enough event can renew the base of players and rejuvenate the multiplayer content of your title.

Similar to loyalty programs, marketing events only have one real problem for the developer/store.

Disadvantages:

As we talked about with setting up loyalty programs, the logistics involved are more demanding than your simple promotion. And with marketing events, there is a lot to deal with. You’re not going to be creating a marketing event in a few days or a week.

These types of events can take weeks or even months to plan out properly, more so if you are a store or a developer collaborating with a storefront. You need to make sure that everything is in place, all promised content is there and that all the additional work in terms of setting up promotions is ready to go.

Overkill with the Crimefest promotion originally announced it in June of this year and probably began planning for it several months in advance of that to get ready for it now. While a marketing event is a great thing, no one wants to see one fail due to poor planning.

Raising Visibility:

The important point to take away from this series of post is that these different tactics have the same purpose — raising the visibility of your game/store. The video game market has become flooded with titles from all areas and development studios and a new game doesn’t have a long time on the front page of any store.

Using these tactics correctly can get your game noticed and can renew its visibility to consumers without having to spend a lot of money on marketing.

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