You’ve done the research, you’ve read up on the benefits of an Advergame campaign and how a partnership with Gamify can add another arrow to your quiver, but now comes the challenge. How do you convey those ideas to your client in a way that will win them over on the concept of gamified marketing?
I think the discipline of experiential marketing such as Advergaming is different from a lot of other disciplines, particularly some of the more traditional ones like print, outdoor and television, because these mediums have well established standards that leave little room for innovative expansion in the context of marketing.
When you talk about a print ad, you can explain this emotional feeling you’ll get from it, the tactical reasons why this copy line is right, some of the places you’ll put that ad and how it’ll resonate with that particular audience. But at the end of the day when you’re talking about all of that, your client knows exactly what it looks like and where it is. It’s going to be inside of a popular magazine on page four, just after you flip through the latest celebrity drama piece.
With Advergames you have to establish what the parameters will be of the campaign, in order to give the portrayed idea a frame that the client can identify. Grounding the campaign in something real that your client can understand is the most important part of selling any experiential idea.
As leaders in the field of gamification marketing, we’ve garnered the attention of multiple marketing agencies that have expressed interest in getting to know more about our product offering, the benefits of gamification and what a campaign timeline will roll out. From all those that have shown interest and enquired further, almost 90% of those marketing agencies express their concerns and challenges that lay ahead when convincing their clients that an Advergame component to a marketing campaign is not only an innovative marketing approach but also a greatly beneficial one.
After an overwhelming amount of repeat cases, we have decided to put together this article that will tackle key points in the process and preparation of pitching a branded video game to clients.
1. Start with the “Why”
It can be easy to get caught up in describing the potential details of an advergame. How fun the gameplay will be, how nice the visuals will be, what kind of rewards will be attached etc. But before you get too far ahead of yourself talking about what could be, you need to talk about what was and make sure you define the “Why” behind your choice to opt for an advergame in the first place.
Make sure to address your client’s pain points when it come to former marketing campaigns through questions. Ask them questions that get them to think about their own challenges before delivering the “Answer” to their problems.
If you can explain to clients how an advergame is the solution to all of their marketing concerns then they’ll be all ears for whatever details and information you wish to pass on to them after that.
If you’re able to justify your decision for a gamified marketing initiative upfront, then you’ll be free to expand upon all the aspects of the campaign you’re actually passionate about. Bottomline, if you don’t answer the “Why”, then don’t expect to have your clients eagerly jump onboard with your idea.
2. Know your data
Your presentation with your clients will naturally include figures like the intended number of unique players, campaign budget, campaign duration, estimated data capture etc. Try to avoid unrealistic projections, especially when discussing the scope of user engagement. Before you claim that you can definitely secure the data from 45% of unique players, you must prove that your advergame is capable of enticing at least one user to enter their details.
Just as important as the numbers you cite in your pitch are the numbers you have ready in your mind. Your client will probably ask hard questions about the figures you present. Receiving questions from your client can be a positive sign, as it means that they are interested enough to enquire further. But it also means that you have to think on your feet. As you plan your pitch, consider how you might answer these questions: “How much does it cost you to acquire one user when scaling the campaign? How big was the budget on your previous campaign? and what was the outcome? How will a gamified marketing campaign fare next to the clients previous marketing efforts?”.
While the nerves associated with delivering a pitch may always be present, choosing the right approach, supporting that approach with the right data, and practicing as often as possible can help you win over clients. These strategies can make a good pitch great, and a great pitch can redefine the future of your client relationships.
3. Connect your idea to your client’s brand
It’s amazing how often marketers, being the creative workers that they are seem to come up with imaginative, unique ideas without actually thinking about the client’s brand and how it will fit within the context of an advergame pitch. They present the work with little regard for how well it actually matches the client’s visual style and brand voice. The simple truth is that not all great ideas are great fits for any client.
Consider a cybersecurity company that prides itself on being no-nonsense, cover-all-the-bases, serious experts. They won’t be happy with a light and fluffy game, they’ll want more of an educational and informative quiz style game that would hopefully prompt users into wanting to update their own cybersecurity. Another example of wasted opportunity would be in presenting a brand that focuses on personality, an advergame that is loaded with slick 3D animation, yet it never shows a person’s face or anything else that a player could connect with.
As any good marketer knows, it’s vital you consider your audience when pitching an idea. Show them how your idea honours their work. Make it clear that it captures their company’s tone, history, and style. This helps your bold new plan seem less like a departure. It now looks like a natural extension of what your client is already saying and doing. In fact, bonus points if you can point to a past campaign of your client’s that links to your idea.
4. Support your idea by linking it to good ideas and case studies that have come before
This point can seem like compromising your creative vision. After all, what’s less imaginative than pushing an idea based on something another company is already doing? My advice is not to copy someone else’s approach but rather support your idea by showing how it might perform. To mitigate risk in the mind of your client, you need to show how your idea not only will work, but that it has already worked in similar situations.
Before you present your idea, look for examples you want to use from similar brands or industries. While you’re unlikely to find a campaign or ad exactly like your own idea (if you do, your idea might not be as original as you thought), it’s not too hard to show examples that match the tone or style of your big idea. If your client likes your examples, they’re that much closer to agreeing to your creative pitch of a related idea.
5. Show how you will verify this idea is successful
In the age of big data, it’s essential that you can convey to your clients exactly how you will analyse and measure the success of your approach. Provide details about the assets you propose to make, the way Gamify's advergame software will monitor user engagement, and how you will adjust or alter your approach based on how your client’s customers respond.
Volumes of blogs and guides have chimed in about how to digitally measure success. However, as you decide between click-through-rates, data entries or reward redemptions to verify success, keep this in mind: the metrics that most matter to your client are how many leads and sales your campaign generates. You might not be able to directly prove your big idea drove sales without an actual consumer survey in regards to your campaign, but you need to be confident that your idea will improve the client’s bottom line.
6. Emphasise how your idea will stand out—positively
Consider this a counterpoint to linking your big idea to past successes. If your idea begins to feel too similar to other company campaigns, you will need to describe details that set your idea apart. The best way to do this is by doubling down on how you link the client’s brand to your approach. Your client will want to feel like you’ve crafted a custom campaign that’s tailored to their company, so be specific about how your idea will represent their brand well (this is the exciting part that you can now elaborate and expand upon now that you’ve gotten the “Why” and all the numbers out of the way).
7. Demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to your idea
As the marker that is promoting an advergame idea, it is up to you to be passionate about your vision, back yourself and make that passion infectious. Tell the client your story of how you came up with the idea, the connections you made with the Gamify team and how you plan to make your vision a reality. Share the reactions from your teammates. Paint a picture of what this successful campaign will look like. This is the kind of enthusiasm that’s essential to creating truly memorable and effective campaigns—and the same kind of enthusiasm you should present in your pitch and elicit in your client.
More importantly, you need to communicate to your client that you are invested in the success of your idea. No one wants to partner with “an ideas guy” who proposes grandiose schemes then becomes suspiciously absent when tough challenges arise or the idea needs rework. After all your research, data, and imagination, you must show your client they can count on you to own your big idea and get it across the line.
8. Don’t overlook the obstacles
If your idea calls for change of any kind from your client (which it does), it can be viewed as painful and scary. It is up to you to acknowledge the obstacles but also provide clearly defined direction and solutions to disarm any concerns your client may have.
Change requires a breaking down before a building up, and this is where your client will need help most of all. You need to acknowledge the sacrifice and the risk that the client is taking if they step out into new territory and adopt your gamified marketing idea. In order to overcome their resistance, you have to make the reward worth it. You need to clearly articulate that their sacrifice and risk will be rewarded with great benefits and results.
Point out the challenges ahead, discuss how you intend to overcome, execute the plan.
9. The Ask
This is your call-to-action. What are the immediate next steps you need to make your plan happen?
If some are internal and some are external — either from a different department or a different company entirely like Gamify — be clear about who needs to do what and when.
You might want to even include a timeline or strategic plan calendar with specific dates and times to be very clear about next steps (again, something that Gamify can provide). Your goal is to get the resources you need to execute at the moment they’ll be most open to providing them – right after you did an amazing job selling your ideas. Plus, many business leaders might expect the campaign to instantly (and magically) happen the moment after they say “yes.” Showing them what it takes to make it happen will show the cost in time, budget, labour etc. This will manage expectations and will sow into the value you expect to provide.
While these tactics aren’t guaranteed to win your client over, they certainly wouldn’t hurt to consider when going into a pitch. As mentioned earlier, we’re just reporting what our partner’s pain points seem to consistently be.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is this; Begin the pitch process with the end in mind. Reverse engineer the entire campaign from what your target outcome will be and you’ll find that you have a pitch that can stand on its own.