© Jay Mistry 2022

There’s nothing like having a controller in your hands and getting lost in an adventure. People who don’t play video games might see them as a waste of time; an anchor to the couch. I like to think of it as interactive art, and there are things I learned from video games that you can apply to marketing.

1. Involvement:

Video games, like all games, require a player. A game’s life span is determined by a player’s involvement. This is a crucial part of any marketing campaign that you run. If your audience is involved, you have their attention and that’s the best time to convert them. You can see what unique ideas and concepts video games have to retain a player’s attention.

Three questions you can ask when looking for ideas to involve your customers are: What makes the game fun? Why does the player keep coming back? How can we integrate it into something like social media, a website, or a sales process?

An example of a company that involves someone in a sales process is Porsche. When you buy a car directly from a Porsche dealership they have your vehicle in the front waiting for you completely covered in a sheet. But first, they take you into the office to sign the final paperwork.

When all is in order, they bring you to your covered vehicle, gather a crowd of employees and you get to unveil your new shiny Porsche as if you were unveiling your bride on your wedding day. Everyone claps. Everyone cheers. Photos get taken. The only thing missing is the empty cans tied to the bumper.

2. Story:

What made video game franchises so successful and set them apart from their predecessors was that they had characters and stories. When you look at any marketing campaign for a video game you’ll notice it looks and feels like a movie trailer. These franchises have continued to release titles over the years all because they decided to tell a story.

What you should take from this is that stories sell. They allow the audience to identify with characters and their beliefs or goals.

It is the reason why the Mac vs PC Apple campaign was so successful. Stories, beliefs, and goals elicit emotions and let people identify with one another, and you want your customers to emotionally identify with you. “What’s your story?”

3. Environmental Design:

Video Games make extremely intentional visual design choices. They need to be able to communicate through the environment to the players. Things like: Which objects are interactable, where to go next, and how they might approach challenges. This is done through consistent and repetitive use of colour, shape, and sometimes even sound. This form of repetition creates immersion. It gives players an experience which – again – can be used to involve customers.

How are you immersing your customers with your brand? Identify the interactive bits in your business and repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Let’s look at Disneyland as an example. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. When you walk through the gates you’ve left reality behind and enter the magical world of Disney. You’re surrounded by Mickey Mouse, princesses, castles, rides, and everything else Disney. They’ve made it so you feel completely immersed in the brand they’ve created, making the outside world a distant memory.

4. Unspoken Details:

A lot can be said with what isn’t explicitly spoken aloud. It’s tricky to pull off, but there are a few games that pull it off masterfully. It involves providing very little to absolutely no instructions and allows the players to come to conclusions themselves with clues around the environment. It takes advantage of intrigue and mystery to lure you down the rabbit hole.

You can apply this bread crumb tactic in a campaign to lead customers to a gravity well or sales funnel.

Our partner Roy H. Williams uses this technique to create a rabbit hole in the Monday Morning Memo.

Try looking outside your industry.

These are just some of the things I learned from video games. Sometimes unrelated hobbies and interests can be useful. It enables you to offer a unique perspective and gives you the power to appear completely different from the person next to you in a conversation.

So don’t be shy about sharing your interests; they’re what will separate you from your competition. By utilizing the things you enjoy your competitors will be unable to copy you or your success. Because they won’t have the secret I just told you.

So let’s talk, “What are your interests?”

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