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May 14, 2003

New Survey Reveals Interactive Game Players Wish Game Makers Would Email Them More

SUMMARY: Amidst all the hue and cry about "too much bulk email" a new survey reveals that brand-loyal consumers actually wish their favorite companies would email them; more. Check out our exclusive article on a new Study, including data on:

a. How to get purchasers to register online (even if they bought offline)
b. Consumers like email. Here is what they want from the brands they purchase
c. Yes, email affects offline purchases
60% of Americans over the age of six play interactive games. Men, women, teens, kids, it is a big, huge, broad demographic.

Which is why even if you are not a game marketer, you should probably pay attention to the results of the new study from Lucid Marketing and Hugh Bowen Associates entitled, "Interactive Gamer Attitudes Regarding Interactive Game Company's Email Marketing Efforts".

The study, based on 581 responses to a survey emailed on request to self-identified gamers last month, reveals consumer attitudes toward email that may affect and/or inspire your own campaigns:

a. Getting purchasers to register online (even if they bought offline)
b. Consumers like email. Here is what they want from the brands they purchase
c. Yes, email affects offline purchases

-> a. Getting purchasers to register online (even if they bought offline)

Every electronics and entertainment company with a warranty card knows how hard it is to get consumers to fill the darn things out and return them.

Plus, then you have to pay for data entry, and if you have requested email address the errors will be high. (Handwritten email addresses are infamously hard to decipher correctly.)

Can you drive consumers making offline purchases to go online to register, and hopefully join your email list? Yes you can.

The Study reveals that even consumers who purchase games not playable on the Internet (such as Xbox games) are willing to register with the publisher online. 80% of them in total.

In fact, consumers now prefer to register online instead of using a pre-printed postage-paid card. 22% say they "always" return a card, 32.2% say they "always" register online.

Here are the primary reasons gamers say they register at all (try testing these offers to up your registration rate):
23.9% Warranty
16.0% Contest
11.9% Sweeps
10.5% Customer service
10.0% Game announcements
8.3% Cheat codes
3.8% Email newsletters

-> b. Consumers like email. Here is what they want from the brands they purchase

Although getting an email newsletter is the last reason why consumers say they register online, they definitely like getting email from their favorite brands.

Some useful data:

o 19.3% of game buyers "always" sign up to get email communications from publishers they "respect." While a newsletter may not be a reason to log on to a registration form, they do not mind ticking the box to get one while they are there.

o An additional 58.2% "sometimes" sign up for newsletters, which means if you copywrite your newsletter offer enticingly enough, you can sway a lot of fence-sitters to accept.

o 49.9% said they would be "way interested" in being a member of a "Game Club" where they could get exclusive early game release dates, info and cheat codes. Perhaps you should rename and reposition your newsletter as a Club communication?

o Game buyers are most enthused about receiving discounts via email.

o 47.5% are "very interested" in the opportunity to give input via email on a game's development. This means you need to strengthen your inbound email customer service and platform to handle input from brand-loyal buyers more gracefully.

o They are least interested in the kind of news companies tend to find exciting internally (sales statistics, developer notes on how the new game is coming, and screen shots). Do not email "About Us" content, nobody cares. What is in it for them?

o 28.4% strongly agreed that email is "an informative way to communicate about new games," and an additional 44.4% somewhat agreed. Only a teensy 2.2% strongly disagreed. 20% were neutral, which means you could sway them if your email program is strong enough.

o Electronic Arts was rated by far to be the "game publisher that sends the best messages." Nintendo in second place was only 65% as popular. Ouch, Microsoft was slammed into last place.

o Last but not least, when it came to email content, survey respondents applauded brands that rewarded their loyalty by emailing them special loyal-buyers-only offers, such as beta test offers.

Several respondents spoke out against being broadcast with email messages intended for a broader demographic. Just because your buyers are a broad demographic does not mean your email should treat them all the same.

Loyal customers expect email that targets them more closely, especially if you asked basic data on your registration form when they signed up for your email program. Some sample comments:

"Act like the only people who play video games are geeky guys and that women don't enjoy games at all."

"It turns us off then marketing treats us older gamers like we are teenie-boppers."

"Assume that because I'm a gamer, I like blood and guts. It is not a factor when I purchase a game."

-> c. Yes, email affects offline purchases

63.4% of respondents said they bought "most" of their games offline at brick and mortars such as Wal-Mart.

Yet, at the same time, 49.6% strongly or somewhat agreed that "receiving email communications for games makes me more likely to purchase a game." 'Nuff said.

Useful links:

1. Interview with Electronic Arts on CPG and Other Advertising to Consumers within Games:

2. Lucid Marketing:

3. Hugh Bowen Associates:
See Also:

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