Digital Marketing and Its Impact on Small Time Game and Mobile Application Developers

Stephen DiMarco has hit a very valid point in his post about how online marketing needs to start to assess some of the more qualitative side of marketing in terms of a brand rather than just Google Analytics or PPC, etc. In a world that’s primarily driven by unique page views, PPC campaign numbers, CTR rates, and other hard facts, it’s an interesting thought. As a gaming company, we offer post-marketing services which includes this marketing and it’s driven by numbers. We’ve yet to see how this affects us a brand, and Stephen’s got us thinking.

There are a whole slew of developers that are online at the App Store, but there’s an inherent problem with trusting a single developer. Many developers have delivered a product that’s a stand-alone app that is basically a flash-in-the-pan while others have consistently turned out mediocre but reliable apps. Who do you trust; the company that turns out one stellar app after a long hiatus or a developer that just needs some new direction or energy in their creative processes? There’s no real concept of a brand, there’s no Unilever or P&G for the App Store and therein lies the problem for marketers for iPhone development.

Although many people would argue that apps are products that have a repeat purchase cycle, etc, there’s yet to be a single developer that’s built a very successful brand using just their apps. People view apps like a utility and look to promote them as such. Very rarely does anyone ever hear about the developer but rather the app itself. This is a problem in an industry where the first firm to truly brand itself will gain a massive first-mover advantage. Indeed it will be difficult, but if a firm is able to do so, they’d easily take over the App Store.

The problem, to a certain extent, lies in the tools that are geared towards quantitative metrics rather than qualitative metrics. For example, Twitter following dictates whether you are a thought leader or follower, a PPC campaign shows how well SEO or ad placement is working. Yes, they do provide numbers which can help translate into potential leads, but there’s no concept of a brand.

Resultantly, firms are looking to use their marketing dollars to build a brand. For us, as game developers, there’s an added challenge. Although it may be easy to build one stellar app and continue to tweak it over time, such an effort doesn’t build a brand in the long run. At this point, firms need to realize how their marketing channels are being used besides the metrics they provide. Do you use your Twitter account to talk with customers? What type of a Twitter following do you have? Does your website show how committed you are to your vision? These questions begin to emphasize how qualitative metrics become important. It’s great having numbers, but as companies grow there’s a need to build a relationship with customers outside of the traditional client-vendor concept.

For example, in the case of gaming studios, a loyal group of customers translates into many benefits. Beta testers are easily found from your Twitter following or customers that have written great reviews for your titles. Ultimately these are the people that will promote you for free. They don’t show up in the metrics, you find them by talking to them. This is a brand building activity that many firms ignore. Again, for small startups it’s difficult to find the right people, but most of the time they’re hiding right under your radar. Yet many firms ignore the potential of these testers and continue to push out apps without sufficient testing. There’s no reason when there’s a small group of dedicated followers that you need to deliver a game without proper testing. These people will be the life line for your game as you need the critical honest feedback about gameplay, controls, graphics, user interfaces, etc. Without these people, you’d never get the proper feedback which helps develop a truly outstanding title.

Nonetheless, many firms do use these techniques but need to realize that there’s a brand to be built using these types of activities. Reward your beta-testers with promo codes for free games so that they spread the word about you, their recommendation to other gamers will go a long way in making your company stand out amongst the army of developers on the App Store. As mentioned by Stephen, there’s a need to change from the quantitative towards the qualitative side of marketing to build brands similar to IBM, Apple, or Microsoft for app development companies. Firms need to get away from the purely numerical side of marketing and start to see where they want to be in 10 years time.

Smart Ways To Use the iPhone and Apps for Kids

How to use the iPhone when playing with kids? Of course, there are plenty of apps for kids. Let’s see how we can use them more creatively.

  • Use it as a bribe or a reward. Anyone who has ever been a parent can tell you that it is no easy feat to discipline or raise a child. Having said that, if your child is into the iPhone, you might as well use it to your advantage in every way possible. One of those ways is use it as a bribe or a reward. If there is a specific task that you need your child to accomplish and he refuses to, use the iPhone as a bribe. It can also be used as a reward in situations where you feel your child deserves recognition for her hard work.
  • Use it for educational purposes. Who says it isn’t possible to both have fun and learn all at the same time? With the iPhone, it most definitely is. Pick out games that are both entertaining and educational and sit down with your child and show him or her how much fun it can be. Your child will thank you in the future.
  • Use it to pass the time. Gone are the days when children would throw tantrums or complain incessantly due to long waiting times-whether in restaurants, dentist appointments, or what have you. Pull out the iPhone and let your kids enjoy it while waiting.
  • Use it as an opportunity to bond. These are the days when it isn’t very common for families to get together and bond. But the iPhone can change that for you and your kids. There are countless games on the app store that the whole family can participate in and play together. Remember that kids grow up so fast. So seize every opportunity to be with them while you still can.
  • Use it as a “lite” punishment. Believe it or not, the iPhone can be a useful tool for when your child has done something wrong. For instance, if your son has called his sister names or took her candy, you can punish him by taking away his iPhone privileges for a week or two. Psychologists say that limiting the pleasure is the most effective way to make the child realize his faults.

These are only some of the ways you can use the iPhone as a tool to educate your child and keep him or her engaged while you are getting much needed relaxation time. Feel free to give these tips your own personal spin or add your own twist to it to make the experience more enjoyable for your kids.

Find Some Suitable Online Games for Kids

With the advance of internet, online games for kids also have advanced and come a long way. Many companies create and market a wide variety of games for kids such as gun games. It has grown as a big market and millions of people make a living out of it worldwide. Starting for preschool kids to teenagers, everyone loves these. However it has been noticed that sometimes even adults are fond of these online games.

When you are selecting an online-game for your kids you should take care of some simple things. The one you are selecting should be easily understandable depending on age of your kid. The technology selected for the games makes them faster and easier to play. However, it is possible that the kids get addicted to them. So, you should plan out a routine and make them habituated to a balanced routine of daily necessary activities and the online games for kids.

Using the games makes your kid understand the basic functions of the keys on the keyboards and use of the computer systems swiftly. While choosing the game you should also take into account that there is not much of violence involved in the online game.

Excessive violence in games for kids is not at all advisable which can be seen in most of the motorcycle games. Before dispensing the game to your kid you can go through it manually and learn about it and decide how it might affect your kid’s psychology. An online-game world is a virtual world and your kid must be able to differentiate between virtual and the real world activities and correlate them.

Sometimes the online sites list the games for kids and adults together and there is no restriction for kids to access them. However, you can check it time to time what your kid is accessing when he is playing an online game. Putting good network administration software can help you to block any adult content which might affect your kid.