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    This post will constitute my last post for a while as my course in Marketing is coming to an end. I might occasionally post some more updates if I feel like it but am not too sure about the future of this blog. As such I feel I should leave the internet stage with a bang and as such the topic of this post is going to be Barcrafts and the current rise of E-sports in form of Starcraft II.

    Before I get going I feel I have to paint you a picture of what dimension we are talking about. Starcraft II a Real Time Strategy Game (RTS) developed by blizzard entertainment has been out for a bit more than a year now and it has sold over 3 million copies so far. This might not seem as much when compared to CoD or BF 3 but the impact SCII had on the gaming industry and the E-sports sector far outweighs what CoD and BF3 have achieved. To give you a picture:

    Huskystarcraft is the most subscribed youtube reporter of the world. People like him and Day[9], Tasteless and Artosis have developed a name for themselves and are now all living on SCII commentating full time with daily youtube casts as well as casting major tournaments like MLG, NASL, GSL and many other smaller leagues. Most of the top players in these tournaments now also play SCII for a living just like other Professional Athletes in the NBA, NHL and NFL.

    MLG and GLS and co. have developed into major players in the E-sports scene and prize pool for MLG Providence was over 120,000 USD with 50,000 USD for first prize and over 180,000 live viewers for the finals. This amount of publicity around a SCII tournament has never been seen outside of Korea before but small businesses as well as large well known corporations are now seeing the potential in E-sports. The Major sponsors for MLG this year included the usual suspects that sell gaming equipment such as Dell, Alienware, Intel, Nvidia and Steelseries but more importantly some Mainstream companies such as Dr. Peppers, Hot Pockets and NoS energy drinks.

    Another good sign for the growth of E-sports is the growth of Barcrafts all over the World. A Barcraft is a pocket word as a merge between Bar and Starcraft. This means that sports bars and pubs all over the world are now hosting live viewing events for Starcraft II just as they would for the Superbowl or the Stanley Cup. And the results speak for themselves. The Barcraft here in Vancouver attracted far over 200 people into one Sportsbar which lead to a number of people not being able to enter the venue. All these things combined make me very optimistic about the future of E-sports. I am not the only one interested in this: Forbes Magazine has one editor that has now written a number of articles about the rise of E-sports using SCII as the prime example of how it is done.

    To conclude I would like to say that all these developments point towards a rise in E-sports unprecedented in the Western World and Companies that see this trend and consequently use the publicity generated by these events will have the opportunity to capitalise on a highly loyal and energetic market that is willing and able to support E-sport which in turn means supporting the Sponsors of major tournaments.

    This shall conclude my last article for a while and if anyone has any questions about E-sports or wants to meet up for a drink at the local Vancouver Barcraft feel free to leave a comment or contact me otherwise and we can arrange something.


    It was an honour writing for you all and I must say although I was rather sceptical about the whole idea of a blog for class I really enjoyed it and I might just continue blogging in my free time.

    Two of the most anticipated First Person Shooter Titles of this year have just launched less than a week ago. Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. So what are the stats for these two games. Well as it turns out CoD (Call of Duty) sold more than 6.5 million units within the first 24 hours of sales in the US and UK making it a strong contestant for the most successful game of the year. This is a whopping 1.5 million more units than the first week of international sales for BF (Battlefield 3). There are a number of  things that led to this outstanding performance by CoD and the still respectable performance of BF. An important factor for this performance is the advertising Activision Blizzard (Developers of CoD) have put behind the release staring action packed fighting scenes featuring well known celebrities. A lot of the blogs in our class have dealt with the ethical implications of the latter ad featuring cobe bryan and its effect on kids. Jacqueline Chen, Tommy Chen, Henry Fung and Tony Liu all concern themselves with the ethical implications. To be honest I am not buying this argument.

    First of all is there still no clear consensus as to how violent video games affect someones perception of violence in Real life (as a Major in Psychology with a strong interest as to how gaming affects human behaviour I can provide everyone interested with plenty of articles that support either side of the argument.) and secondly is a Basket Ball player not necessarily an idol for kids but rather for teenagers and young adults. Battlefield for example is ranked PEGI: 16 thus this targeting is perfectly legit and although CoD is ranked PEGI: 18 the ads were by no means targeted directly to people under 18. I found especially this ad very appealing and reflecting of the gaming community.

    Setting aside these possibly difficult moral issues arises the question of return on advertising that is famously difficult to measure. This case will no doubt be no exception. But the massive head start of CoD over BF must come from somewhere and this might be due to BF requiring a heavily intrusive downloading service which kept many people from buying it (including myself) or the mere fact of BF requiring more team play thus being more prone to less enjoyable game play but I cannot help but feel that the superior advertising campaign CoD had played a major role in its success. Especially the heavy involvement of gaming internet sited and other PR measures helped create the hype around CoD that it did have on launch.

    Hello Everyone,

    As Christopher Matthew notices in his blog post Gamers Unite! some if not most of the experiences of gamers of different platforms can be extended well beyond these platforms and could actually extend into other genres of games as well. When I watched the posted video showing all these iconic characters in this epic storyline with the conclusion of the actual player being the real hero of countless battles I could not help but feel heroic, epic, mighty even and all of this although I have never played any of the shown games as I do not own a PlayStation and never did but I can still identify with the medium. Some of these characters are so iconic that many if not all gamers of regardless what platform have heard of them and have some positive association with these franchises.

    When I watched it first I did not know that this is an ad for PS3 but rather regarded it as a general advertising for games in general. Maybe just maybe the targeting segment for future games developers should not be the platform that the games run on but rather some common trait that most/all gamers share alike. Successful cross-platform games developers such as Electronic Arts have known this for a long time and subsequently positioned their products in a way that appeal to common gamer characteristics without making the platform they are developing for a major segmentation basis. I personally think that this is the way to go for games developers because as focusing on only one platform undoubtedly has its advantages the disadvantage of a loss of a major(!) segment of the gaming industry for which the product in theory could easily cater to outweighs the advantages.

    The take home point I want to convey here is that one has to be very careful in choosing the segmentation basis and use reasonable, effective and meaningful segmentation basis and in my opinion games platform does not fulfill these criteria thus it should not be used as a major segmentation basis.

     On this post on the author talks about How CocaCola has brought Mass Customisation to a new level. New Veding machines that have been put up in the US allow the customers to blend an individual mix of all the CocaCola brands to their own taste. It is said that this allows for over 3500 different beverage combinations. I found this article last week when I was preparing for my first marked blog entry but have decided against this topic in favour of the post about Carsharing (don”t know what I am talking about? Click here.) but now seems the perfect time to talk about this topic. Not only because we have been discussing the topic of targeting and thus also mass customisation in class today but also because I myself have some ambitions to set up a business that is quite heavily focused around the idea of Mass Customisation (for more details send me an email or leave a comment).

    So why is Mass Customisation so important? Well… To have a successful marketing mix one should position his/her product in a way that fits the target segment as closely as possible.  This leads to billions of dollars being spent on marketing research to find out what the customer wants and trying to anticipate or make an educated guess as to how the customer would react to the given product. But there is a much more effective and efficient way: Enter Mass Customisation. If you want your product to fit your customer why not just ask them directly what they want or better still give them the tools so that they can create their personalised products that best meet their individual demands.

    And there are even more advantages to mass customisation. As the customer gets exactly the product he/she wants he/she is is very likely to be satisfied with the product. By making each product slightly personal customers meet their need for uniqueness as there are few things that are worse than turning up to a party in the same dress as someone else (at least some people would argue that but they obviously do not consider things like war, rape, murderer and many more of the things that human beings do to one another. This however is a different topic that is only marginal related to marketing). Luckily Converse with its customisable shoes as well as youtailor (custom tailored clothing over the internet) alleviate this pressing issue. Mass Customisation seems to have become the wonderpill in marketing and I can hardly blame the companies. In my oppinion there is hardly anything that provides more benefits for both the customer and(!) the company. Food producing businesses do it (Burger king, starbucks, subway etc. clothing manufacturere (Converse, youtailor) computer manufactureres (Dell, Apple, Alienware) Car manufacturers have been doing it for ages (even though one could argue that is is much more “customisation” rather than “Mass Customisation”

    Long story short: Mass Customisation of your products leaves everyone better off. There is (arguably) noone who knows better what the customer wants than the customer itself so why not just ask them?!

    That is why I live by the motto: “If you want something, just ask for it!”

    (And of course I am again way over the word count…)

    Probably one of the most famous quotes in marketing comes from Harvard Business School Professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

    What Professor Levitt wanted to describe with this statement is just as true today as it was when he first said it. In fact it could be argued that it is indeed more true today than ever before. People want “bundles of benefits”. Your marketing mix should not be centred around your product, nor your company not even your customers. It should be centred around your customers’ needs and wants. Every product no matter what it is, basically provides a service or a solution to a problem a customer is facing. Theodore Levitt described it by using the example of a drill. A drill is sad to only be used on average about 15 minutes during its entire lifetime. So if one can provide the service (the hole) without actual ownership of the tool that facilitates the service (the drill) then one finds himself/herself in a rather unusal sitation. Namely a win-win-win. The customer profits from not having to buy the expensive product but only pay for its service, the company profits because as the marketing concept implies a satisfied customer is one that is likely to come back and the society as a whole profits as from less drills (to stay with the example) in circulation which reduces the impact on the environment.

    So why has this not taken off big time?! Well, the answer is, it has! Zipcar and other carsharing companies are doing exactly what has just been described. They are providing the service (customisable, comfortable, flexible transportation) without the need for ownership of the tool (the car) that facilitates this service. And why is the statement mentioned in the first paragrahp today more true than ever?! Because nowadays due to the advancement in information technology (most prominentely the internet and smartphones) one can realise these projects on a much larger scale. Without the internet carsharing as we know it would not have been possible.

    I would love to delve much deeper into this topic and I might just do that in a later post (even though I already have some other plans, too) but I am afraid I am already quite a bit over the maximum word count so I guess I’ll best just shut up and let it be.

    Stay tuned!

    I do not want this blog to become a blog about TED but I simply enjoy watching their talks and they more often then not they offer meaningful insight into marketing. In this short talk Amy Lockwood identifies one of the key aspects of marketing that we also discussed in our lectures. Know your audience! Know the Micro and Macro-environment your business is operating in. Know what the customers want. And deliver just that. Create value for your customers. That is why Durex is advertising “performance”, and increased pleasure and sensation. These messages do not focus on the health aspects of using condoms but on the intrinsically satisfying characteristics of sex without scaring people away.

    This I guess could also be applied to what we discussed today in lecture. Today we have been talking about knowing your Macro-environment. But only focusing on the Macro-environment does not lead to effective marketing. If one would analyse the Macro-environment in Congo and compare it to the environments in Canada or other western nations one would see that the average age in Congo is much lower so is the average SES. The same is true for the technology and economics. But what this analysis is not taking into account is that some demands and expectations are universal across cultures:

    Every culture associates mutually agreed sexual practices with pleasure. Engaging in sexual activities is mainly done for two reasons: reproduction or pleasure. If one would only have sex for reproduction purposes it would not make sense to engage in sexual activities once the woman is pregnant (and of course it would also not make sense to use condoms) but if one is seeking pleasure without reproduction then it does very much make sense to use condoms. While buying condoms one wants to think of the usage of them and the associated pleasures and although one is cautious of the fact that STDs exist (otherwise one wouldn’t have to use condoms but rather other contraceptives) this thought is not the primary concern.

    I guess the message Mrs Lockwood (and I agree with her on that part) is trying to convey is that one should focus on the end consumer. The same applies to businesses that have their products shelved in supermarkets. Their primary target must be the consumer and although the supermarkets have to stock the products it is the consumer who buys the product and if the marketing does not focus on the consumer sales will be slow and subsequently the supermarkets might remove the product from the shelves.

    I would like to introduce you to a homepage I have enjoyed a great deal over the last 2 years. TED is a collection of inspirational, visionary and sometimes frankly mind blowing talks held often by people at the cutting edge of their respective field.

    As this is a marketing blog the previous information would be inadequate to be posted here if I were not to make it important from a marketing point of view. I strongly advise everyone to browse TED for anything that interests them. (Well I guess I just became a brand ambassador.Well done TED, that is how one creates word of mouth) I will focus on two talks I have just rediscovered today.

    1. Lessons from an ad man

    This talk is not only highly enjoyable but also teaches some very important concepts of marketing and how the creation of customer value could be used for good as well as showing that most of what consumers perceive as value really is just that: Perceived value. Mr Sutherland also very nicely shows using the example of wine and Shreddies that perceived value does not have to correlate with actual change in the physical product. Sometimes sheer re-branding of a product and a good advertising campaign can to the trick. Intangible value is often seen as inferior to tangible value but just like Mr Sutherland I think that this perception is flawed because after we cannot experience anything without our brain processing these inputs. That the things we perceive and the real world often do not match exactly can easily be demonstrated using examples such as the “Ponzo illusion” or other optical illusions. This does however not make the perceived difference any less meaningful. Someone drinking a very expensive wine while knowing of the price of this product really does experience a difference in taste. The world is what we make of it, or more precisely what our brain makes of it.

    2. Sweat the small stuff

    Mr Sutherland’s second talk even more directly links to marketing and perceived customer value. It is the little details that make an experience memorable. It is the same concept that makes lies more believable as one adds more details. As we do not memorize like a computer by merely “saving” a certain image or scene but by processing the scene and when one remembers something one actually actively reassembles the scene in one’s mind. That is why our memories are often flawed. And this is also why little details make an experience memorable as they do help in correctly reassembling the memory. I guess I could go on and on but what I personally took as the core of this second talk is that the little details are the ones that make a brand unique and that make it more memorable and thus allowing for a stronger brand.

    Hello Everyone,

    This shall constitute my first post to my brand new marketing blog. I welcome you all who have stumbled across this humble blog and hope I shall be able to give you what you have been searching for (whatever that might be, I am open for suggestions). In the meantime I shall try to keep this blog fairly up to date with what is currently going on in the wonderful and mysterious world of marketing.


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