4 Problems Facing eSports Marketers Today

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Esports is a rapidly growing global industry that will continue to rise despite it’s humble, small beginnings. It’s continual growth and expansion makes it an exciting investment opportunity for brands and their marketing teams all over the world. But this same growth and expansion can cause a few issues that some marketers and brands won’t be able to get past.

These are the 4 problems facing eSports marketers today and a two-part easy solution that will solve all of them:

 

“Nerd Phenomenon”

eSports is still considered a niche industry dealing with a very specified fan base. This can make it hard for marketers, with or without a previous understanding of the industry, to break in and establish themselves. This consumer base has very focused interests embellished with pre-existing biases and preferences, thus making it challenging for marketers new to the game. 

Recently, Buffalo Wild Wings paired with ELEAGUE, a video game tournament broadcasted on TBS. They invited fans to enjoy the tournament at any of their 1,175 locations. However, when ELEAGUE fans showed up, the chain’s employees were unfamiliar with the tournament and would only show the tournament on a handful of televisions after much convincing. The fans complained that the employees referred to their fandom as a bunch of “nerds”. This clearly is an example of a brand entering the marketing arena of eSports with little to no knowledge of the industry and failing to increase their own brand loyalty and profits.

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Underage Spending

With the industry of eSports’ worth reaching over $1 Billion, it’s a wonder how much of that money is being spent by underage participants. This is a growing issue with younger players abusing their parents’ credit cards and spending thousands of dollars on tournaments, whether it’s on merchandise, gambling, etc. This can be an issue for marketers as well, by being associated with tournaments that have a lack of security and monitoring capability. It can also be tied with an issue of the brand selling their products and their overall business moral.

If a consumer, especially if that consumer is underage, is using someone else’s money to buy products due to the marketing campaign associated with an eSports tournament it can provide that brand with an ethical issue as well as a business issue. They might have to return the sold products, resulting in a loss of profit and the loss of the potential return of that consumer.

 

Lack of Standardization

eSports is still a relatively new industry which means that it’s going to have its own growing pains. For instance a lot of participants and players complain that some of the tournaments lack authenticity and thus it can be challenging to find which tournaments are real and which one are full of scams. This places issues for the marketers as well, especially ones with a role in active sports marketing but have no experience in the eSports market.

The lack of standardization in this industry also means that there are constant issues that arise with players, teams, tournaments and their advertising, sponsorships or contracts. For instance, salaries for players remain remarkably low for novice and immediate levels despite their necessary involvement within the tournaments. There are also continuous issues with poorly crafted contracts between brands and teams or players that usually result in a nasty lawsuit or poor player performance, which naturally negatively affects brands and their marketing teams. These growing pains currently plague the entire eSports industry but will likely (hopefully) be ironed out as this industry continues to expand. 

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Less Immediate Success

This global phenomenon is unlike others as the participants are not able to necessarily see the immediate success of their endevours. This is most certainly true for participating marketers and brands. This niche industry is full of passionate people with their existing biases but once their good graces are won and their loyalty is turned in a brand’s favor, that brand can count on the engaged presence of these consumers for a pretty long time.

This is a consumer base created to escalate brand loyalty. That means that their favor and their preference is not going to be easily gained and it won’t necessarily be gained quickly. Consistent marketing efforts paired with quality content and customer experience are going to be what gains a brand this incredibly valuable consumer base.

 

The Solution:

So how do marketers enter this industry and find success?

The answer lies in understanding and the creation of a quality, content-based marketing campaign. For marketers to combat the 4 issues above, they have to gain an understanding of eSports through hiring an expert or taking the time to get to know the industry. They have to become a irreplaceable part of this niche and grow within this fan-focused group.

After reconstructing themselves to become a cool, new brand within this industry they have to create content that allows the consumer to engage with their brand in the same fun, way the consumers use to play the games they love so much. Interactive content, video, virtual reality, high-quality images, gamified content, and consumer-focused marketing strategies are going to be what guarantees a win for marketers in the eSports industry.

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