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.

Play it Safe – Online Games For Kids

Are your kids interested in online games? Are you interested in them playing online games in order to improve their computer skills? There are many free, high-quality websites for online games. This article explains ways of finding websites that provide free games for children.

First up, consider the standard of the games you would let children play. Are guns, violence, profanity, sexual innuendos, references to drugs, alcohol things you wouldn’t mind your kid being exposed to through online games? You must be clear on what criteria to use to ensure age-appropriate references in online games. This is the primary and most important step towards finding and finalising an online game for your kid.

What you are required to do is use a search engine to find a list of websites and then manually go through them to find a perfect match. There is no easy way around this process as only you know what your customised criteria are. Make sure that you search the site and look for inappropriate references or possibly adulterous content.

Most sites online with games for kids also have alongside games for adults. These are viewable to all site visitors which could be cause for concern. You can limit the responses you receive on search engines by controlling the keywords and manipulating them. This initial weeding out process could help you to limit the number of total search results and also help you to get better quality content.

Like mentioned earlier, this is a rigorous and labour intensive approach to finding quality games online as only you can ascertain the standards you would like to set for you kids. Even after you choose sites for you kids, internet being a free and open medium and children being impressionable and curious, they should not be left alone without parental supervision when surfing the net.

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.