Understanding value through perception
Creating value is the defining essence of your business
Most people understand Marketing as a conduit to generate sales, whereas it should be understood as a communication platform. Marketing needs to be practiced as a means to engage and understand those who make your company, who support your game - and most important of all, to inherently create value in these conversations and interactions.
While sales might be a result to healthy business practices, it should never be something that would hinder you from growth. It is important to withstand costs, and generate revenue, but it is far more important to ground yourself and create opportunities instead. Not every chance of exposure will automatically result in a sale, but you can gain supporters might become leads in the future. Brand awareness cultivates a culture that will not only assist with profitability, but enables network growths that will passively work for you over time.
The key is to understand who you are, and try to convey value before sales. A solid business plan, or at least a clear guideline, needs to define everything: from how much you can spend, and what you should spend it on; to your strengths and weakness as a team, highlight what defines you as a brand. Either casual gaming or perhaps cultivating an MMO-like experience, whichever it is, value comes from developer’s efforts, and it should understand what the gamers want. Communication is necessary when it comes to establishing expectations, just as much as you expect any marketing strategy to generate results.
Value can be understood in multiple ways, the one thing to keep present is that there is no way to explore consumer behavior without a direct reference to personal values. Value is that one determining factor that will influence purchase choices, it can provoke or ruin its chances entirely. The way to identify and measure this is by opening up to consumer perception theory, learning about gamers self- perception and market price perception. How both concepts come together as something that is meant to provide quality to their lives.
Companies don’t define what value means, it is their audience who does. Every consumer is ultimately drawn to efforts that address their needs and wants; there is no direct understanding of costs in the gaming industry, but what expectations they build upon what they want from what they eventually get. It is important to highlight that, while there is value in the actual gaming experience, this conversation is aimed at optimizing business efforts. This isn’t about how to improve game development, but how to create value through business development.
Value can be broken down in two larger realms, one being the utilitarian value, which comes from solving a problem via product or service; or hedonic value, the instant gratification that is provoked by experiences. One is entirely practical, whereas the other one is emotional in nature. Being influenced by both internal and external variables, they go along with understanding they satisfy a particular need which is defined by the demographics present in your audience.
Gaming represents a vast industry that can produce incredibly stories, educational tools, casual distraction, and plenty of experiences in the realm of entertainment. Ideally, you want your marketing to stay consistent to the essence of your project – if your game is a casual short experience, do not present it as an epic Final Fantasy inspired homage. Captivating advertisement will never make up for disappointing experiences, creating false windows of expectation can only reflect buyer’s remorse, resulting in losing credibility from people who already trusted you enough to invest in you.
In order to be able to create perceived value is to listen to those who listen to you. Find out who they are, what they do, translate this information in action, then try to produce content that will represent who you are, and at the same time, provide content that will be perceived as valuable. Think of it like having a best friend, there are things you have in common, and with time, you develop your own world of jokes, activities, interests and experiences. It never happens overnight, it sure takes time, patience, and being present for your community.
Creating these environments is fundamental to growing a network, understanding these dynamics is what will create chances of building trust. Nowadays, being seen or heard of is not enough, most people tend to gravitate towards things they already know; meaning, building trust is no longer a branding attribute, but an actual variable that makes the difference between a sale or not. If you have yet to cultivate trust, you should invest yourself in finding out ways how to add value to the people that matter.