Skip to content

What Gaming Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing: Part 3

  • Aqil 

If you’ve been following along with these posts so far, you’ll have everything you need to know to get started on your DnD or digital marketing campaign. Now that your campaign is running, it’s time to get to the “real” work. Your campaign isn’t just set and forget it, you need to constantly monitor your customers and players and how they’re interacting with your content and moving from encounter to encounter. In this post, we’ll talk about how to stay on your toes during your campaign and between sessions.

Your People

“Your audience is people” is a phrase that many marketers and DMs need to hear more often. When you review your campaign’s performance you’re often faced with a wall of numbers and, if you’re lucky, graphs. And it’s easy to fall into thinking about your campaign as a list of subsequent percentages. I know I do that all the time. Just because you planned and laid out everything perfectly, doesn’t mean that everything will work out. Getting down to the minutiae of your platforms and persona will get you most of the way there, but you can’t forget that every person who interacts with your campaign will have their own wants and expectations that may not match your outline. For example, let’s say a customer clicks on an ad to visit your landing page but leaves before converting.

  • Maybe they read through the landing page and decided what you were offering wasn’t right for them.
  • Maybe they looked at the form and thought you were asking for too much information up front.
  • Maybe they clicked on your ad accidentally, and quickly closed the tab without looking.
  • Maybe the content of the landing page didn’t quite match the content of the ad and it turned out they weren’t interested anyway.
  • Maybe they clicked to your landing page, fully ready to convert, but their internet was cut off by sharks chewing undersea cables (again).

Some of these are things we can adjust in our campaign strategy; some of them are out of our control. And even with the best measurement tools, some of these possibilities are unexplorable: Google Analytics doesn’t have a “Bounce because Sharks” metric.

When playing DnD, it’s easy to sit and ask your players what’s working and what’s not for them and their gameplay experience. But if your marketing campaign is going out to hundreds of thousands of people every day, you won’t have the ability to reach out to everyone who engages. Alternatively, if you have an opportunity for people to reach out to you, during your campaign, you can create these personal engagements. Now, we know from experience that the only people who will reach out to you unprompted are those who either really want your business or really don’t, those without strong feelings tend to hold back. But the opportunity for potential customers to reach out to you (presumably a real person) is always a good option for your campaigns. 

When it comes to email campaigns in particular, many platforms allow you to personalize your communication. While on the surface, this seems to solve the whole “your audience is people” issue, it can be a double edged sword. Before our intervention, one of our clients would place their customer’s name in big, bold letters at the top of their marketing emails. As a customer, I would see this as even less personal than not having my name on the email at all. When personalizing your emails, take a hint from the emails you send to your own team and clients. Do you include a greeting at the top or just a name? Do you sign off with your full name? With a full signature? As far as formatting goes, how much do you play with fonts and layout in your day-to-day emails? You can make your email campaigns personal by constructing them the same way you construct your one-on-one emails. In some cases, a big flashy email with bright-colored photos and giant text may be the best option. But don’t be afraid to dial it back to a simple paragraph sandwiched between names; even if it’s a mass email, those will feel more intimate to your customers. We have plenty of email tips and practices that we can share with you, later. This is just a reminder that treating your audience as people, instead of just numbers can go a long way.

Improvise at the Right Time

My favorite part about roleplaying games is the improv, hands down. But it’s only fun when the players are the ones improvising. When the DM is flipping through his manuals and calculating stats during the game, it can really drag the game down and the players disengage almost immediately. The same goes for your marketing campaigns. Everything in your campaign, every interaction, every followup, every asset, every word of copy, should be finalized before you hit start any campaign. We’ve found, when taking on clients, that anything that can go wrong on a campaign will go wrong, and you will be left interrupting your campaign to make fixes and adjustments, meanwhile wasting valuable time and potentially ad spend. This especially applies to platforms like social media where you can’t change content after it’s published. If you have to change something in that case, you’ll easily annoy your customers (see the section about repetition above). During your campaign’s run is the worst possible time to improvise. And since everything leading up to the launch of your campaign is researched and planned, any changes you make should be equally planned.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no good time to improvise. In fact, the best time to improvise is during the planning stage. In DnD, the worst DMs are the ones that stick to the books or the premade stories and don’t stray from the source material. The best DMs are the ones that can integrate player feedback into their campaigns, but also take the time to do it properly. The digital landscape is constantly changing, so you won’t be able to keep up or stand out if you’re constantly following the rules, or even the trends. Many marketing platforms integrate a/b testing and even for those that don’t support it natively, you can easily compare data yourself. Use the testing tools to try new things, even things you may not think possible at first. Remember, your customers are not a number and neither are you. If you think something would grab your attention, odds are it’ll grab your customer’s attention too. While not everything you do has to be prescribed by numbers, just like any DM, you can’t ignore the numbers either. The numbers are your results, so if they say something is working, it probably is. If the numbers say something isn’t working, it probably isn’t. But you can use those results to be creative and enhance your future campaigns.