The largest brands in the world are scrambling for effective approaches and strategies by which they can improve their competitive positioning with the increasingly valuable Millennial and Gen Z consumers. While Millennials currently represent the largest generation in the American workforce, Gen Z will soon yield the greatest purchasing power. Combined, these young men and women are poised to dominate the consumer landscape for decades to come.
At Oculus360, we used our proprietary AI-driven consumer insights platform to create an eBook outlining ways brands can connect with today’s most coveted consumers through eSports and improve brand affinity with eSports enthusiasts titled, eSports: How Competitive Gaming Will Deliver Millennials and Gen Z to Your Brand.
Before previewing some of the marketing strategies detailed in our eBook, we must emphasize the magnitude and potential of eSports in general. With viewership doubling from 90 million in 2014 to a projected 180 million in 2019, the audience is exploding. Revenues are following suit, projected to more than quintuple from from $194 million in 2014 to $1.1 billion in 2019.
Even traditional sports franchises are taking note of the power of eSports, and investing heavily. The Philadelphia 76ers have already purchased two eSports teams, and 17 NBA teams have announced their involvement in the new NBA 2K eSports league launching in 2018. The Dallas Cowboys are also considering buying an eSports team.
Although news of growing involvement and increased opportunities creates a temptation to jump in with both feet, it’s important for brands to approach eSports marketing correctly. “Right now, it’s a gold rush to buy, sell and build teams,” says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “That’s creating a confused market.”
It’s understandable for brands to feel pressured to instantly capitalize on the growth and key demographics associated with eSports, and feel overwhelmed as to the best approach. But the opportunities to align your brand with this new industry – and capture the hearts and minds of its wealth of Millennial and Gen Z consumers – are no different than any other type of sports marketing. Taken from the Oculus360 eBook, here are a few specific ways to support and complement your current Millennial and Gen Z marketing strategies.
Sponsor a Team
Due to the undisputed popularity of professional teams and players – in eSports or otherwise – sponsorship is a tried and true tactic for driving brand awareness and top-of-the-funnel activity. But it’s important to sponsor the game, league, sport, team or player that naturally aligns with your brand. Gaining a deep understanding of the audience affinities associated with the various elements of each brand enables those brands to better position their products and messaging and improve ROI.
To help you and your brand with these important decisions, our eBook details the personalities, attitudes, interests and demographics of seven different eSports video game genres.
Sponsor an Event
When sponsoring a team isn’t appropriate, strategy-wise or budget-wise, consider sponsoring an individual eSports event. As with aligning your brand with the right team or player, it’s important to use the same affinity strategy in identifying the correct event. Our AI-driven consumer insights platform has identified, for example, that fans of fighting games have a high interest in automobiles and motorsports. It follows, then, that a car company would make a natural sponsor for an eSports fighting game tournament.
Like team and player sponsorships, hosting or sponsoring an event will drive top-of-the-funnel awareness. No matter your marketing goals and strategy, events can be extremely effective. On a local level, you can take advantage of demographics that align with your brand, creating lifelong brand conversions. On a national or worldwide level, thanks to the growing broadcast and streaming opportunities afforded tournaments today, brands win with wide, sometimes exclusive exposure.
Become Part of the Community
Online gaming communities like Twitch and YouTube are growing gathering spots for both Millennials and Gen Z, yet still provide great value for your media dollar. For brands not yet ready for a sponsorship, these community channels provide an excellent opportunity to experiment with using eSports to reach your target audience. Once you identify the game genre(s) that fit(s) best with your brand, product and marketing goals, and understand the ramifications of the different segments, you can adjust content and messaging accordingly.
Just how big are these communities? According to YouTube, the video trailblazer reaches 1.5 billion logged-in viewers each month. The more video game-oriented Twitch reports 10 million active daily users and over 22,000 members in the Twitch Partner Program – partners eager for brand sponsorships at all levels. Each of these vehicles allow extremely targeted display or video ads. In addition, the dozens of channels and hundreds of shows that comprise Twitch provide endless opportunities for media placement, product placement or anything else your team can imagine.
At Oculus360, our AI-driven consumer insights platform provides practical knowledge that will help steer every strategic, messaging and media decision towards yielding the best possible results. We translate consumer conversations into consumer insight.
If you think that type of information can help your competitive positioning with Millennials and Generation Z through your brand’s association with eSports, just download our eBook, eSports: How Competitive Gaming Will Deliver Millennials and Gen Z to Your Brand. You’ll find more ways to make meaningful, long-lasting connections with your consumers, as well as information on how to drive conversion and increase participation in loyalty programs, all of which will help you win at today’s marketing game.