- Gaming industry is a particular entertaining market, wherein the companies that activate in this domain target customers’ engagement for achieving market share and generating loyalty. Disney is a reputable company in the entertainment field and its entrance in the video games market is just a natural brand extension. Hence, in its e-marketing strategy, the company already benefits of its strong brand awareness, which boosts the awareness of the distributed games due to their association with Disney.
The games that Disney distributes are mostly targeting children and teenagers, being separated in various categories: action, adventure, music, puzzle, sport, etc. (Disney games official website). Targeting children and teenager and building an online promotion strategy that includes social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter might be challenging, considering the fact that this specific audience is a-typical for these platforms. However, in the intense growing social media usage, children are starting to use Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter at an early age. Daily Mail (2014) reports that more than 52% of children aged between 8 and 16 stated that they have ignored Facebook age limit and created accounts, while trends indicate 12 years old children try Twitter. Facebook ad Twitter stipulate that the age limit for subscription is 13 and the children must have parental consent for creating accounts.
With this delicate matter in mind, it is sensitive to directly target children on these social media platforms, although they are the direct beneficiaries of the games. However, the decision making of acquiring entertaining products and allowing children to play specific video games belongs to their parents. Facebook and Twitter e-marketing campaigns will target adults, for convincing them that Disney games are suited for their children.
At this point, Chaffey and Smith (2008) indicate to explore different customer segments, analyzing how different customers consume social media, in what type of content they engage and what their online habits. The identified Facebook or Twitter users who fit the targeted profiles should next be invited to like Disney Games pages designed for these social media websites. Once they like Disney Games’ page and become fans or followers of the page, the company should promote engaging content. Promoting the distributed games, their features and suitability for children should be done using specific language to the social media world. Facebook profiles have a particular approach to content, while Twitter’s 140 characters messages impose delivering different types of content. Regardless of the utilized platform, links should be used for directing to the company’s gaming page. The engaging content should be designed as fun applications for Facebook. For instance, a popular strategy for entertaining and engaging Facebook users is to design Quiz games. In Disney’s case, such as Quiz could be: “What Disney Game character is Your Child?”, or “What Video Game is Best Suited for Your Child?” The result of the Quiz can later come with an invitation to try the game that the quiz indicated as most suited, or other games.
When posting content on Facebook or Twitter with informative or entertainment value, engaging the users is mandatory. The users’ engagement is done by properly interacting with them. Encouraging fans or followers to comment, share, like the post and rewarding their activity by mentioning them in other posts, answering to their comments, or thanking them for shares, are simple actions that community managers should apply.
Facebook recommends a minimal weekly update, but for increased results, and considering the dynamic profile of Disney, it would be better for the company to engage the users on a daily basis. E-cards, customized viral jokes and the use of hashtags are important tactics that Disney can use to enhance its social media presence. Answering each user comments is hugely important, as it shows that you care for them. In addition, through its content on Facebook and Twitter, there should be encouraged check-ins for participating in different events, or just for playing Disney distributed games.
In addition, organizing contests such as awarding users who write articles about how children are playing Disney games, based on the use of specific key words is an excellent strategy and opportunity for generating e-word of mouth, increasing Disney Games’ presence in the online environment. Photo contest wherein parents can post photography of their children playing Disney games could also be organized for engaging users in a cascade approach, as subscribers would encourage their network of friends to vote, like or share the posted pictures.
In addition, Facebook or Twitter advertising can be employed for promoting various games distributed by Disney. Facebook advertising is also a very effective tool for analyzing users’ Facebook behavior in relation to the company’s advertised posts. Using this channel, Disney can learn how to better optimize its presence, posting specific type of content, according to the users’ engagement, click-through rates, impressions or reach (Facebook, “About Advertising on Facebook”). Cost per click advertising could also be used for sponsored links (Chaffey and Smith, 2008). An effective e-marketing strategy is the optimization of YouTube channel. Creating a YouTube profile is a first tactic. Within this channels there can be posted trailers of the games, tutorials on how to play them, as well as videos with professional psychologists recommending Disney games as suited for children, explaining their reasons. The content of this channel should be integrated with Disney Games’ official website, as well as with its Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition, YouTube ads can be used as paid advertisement, rolling as a pop-up clip at the beginning of music or other videos that users are searching for.
- Chaffey (2006, p. 239) defines the segmentation as the “identification of different groups within a target market in order to develop different offerings for each group”. Considering the discussed topic, creating an effective e-marketing communication for Disney Games, segmentation should take into consideration users’ online needs and behavior, which are different from those in the offline environment (Chaffey, 2006). Chaffey and Smith (2008) hold that for a real segmentation is required collecting accurate data, in order to establish proper personalization. Segmentation implies a level of differentiation among users, based on various characteristics such as demographics (age, gender, civic status), socio-economic profile and also geographic location (urban versus rural) (Chaffey and Smith, 2008). Considering the specific genres of games distributed by Disney, the market should also be segmented based on preferences. Casual games, such as the games from the categories dress-up, skills, music, puzzle or sport will target the casual gamers, the ones who play for several hours on a weekly basis. Action and adventure games will target the core gamers, the ones who play for several hours on a daily basis. Therefore, segmenting the market based on the time dedicated to playing online games and on the types of games usually played is another segmentation strategy.
After identifying the segmentation categories, the next questions that will must be answered is: what profile (what segment) would be most profitable for Disney Games? At this point, considering that there are various types of games, targeting distinct gaming preferences, there will be determined various market segments that are likely to generate continuous business for the company. Each identified market segment should be further evaluated for its actual potential of supporting the business. While trends show that in the urban environment children are playing more video games than the ones in rural areas, with the high speed internet available in the rural areas nowadays, the potential of rural areas should not be underestimated. Moreover, considering that the games are free to play, the economic level should not really be an actual segmentation category. The identified segments will allow a more in-depth analysis of the gaming needs of the populations that comprise the specific market segment.
This analysis will allow Disney Games to consider whether it actually delivers the gaming services required for its audiences. In addition, market segmentation will also allow a positioning of the company, in report to its competitors on the same market segments. For the games distributed by Disney Games, the main competitors are other online free games producers who compete on the same segments’ time for playing the games. The market segmentation implies getting to know various markets in detail in order to respond to their gaming behavior, habits and to anticipate their needs. An important segmentation for Disney Games is based on Language. Segmenting the market in different language segments implies the business challenge of further localizing the game on specific languages. Currently, Disney Games are available for English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Nordic languages Arabic and other languages (Disney Games, n.d.). It is important to analyze the games preferences for each country, in order to adapt the preferred types of games on the national language of each country.
The analysis of the segment will include a quantitative approach (examining the size of the segment, the growth potential, profitability, customer and brand loyalty) and a qualitative approach (segment characteristics, trends, decision makers, utilization criteria, etc.) (Nijssen and Frambach, 2001).
For Disney Games, the quantitative analysis will evaluate the number of online gamers for various types of games in different countries and regions, the potential of growing the identified segments and the customer and brand loyalty. The latest will be measured by comparing the time the online gamers spend on playing Disney distributed games versus the games of its competitors.
The qualitative analysis will identify the trends, or the social dispositions of various markets in terms of: time spent for playing, types of games preferred, social habits while playing (partying, interacting with peers, etc.). This component will also investigate the decision maker component, namely who decides the games that the target market plays. In Disney Games’ case, the parents are mostly the ones who decide on what types of games the children are allowed to play.
Market segmentation is important for Disney Games in order to develop marketing strategies, customized on different market segments. Within specific markets there are various differences and the segmentation contributes to developing homogenous target markets, with certain differences between the distinct identified market segments. The distinct market segments need to be homogeneous in order to respond to marketing customized approaches, instruments and activities (Nijssen and Frambach, 2001).
For Disney Games, market segmentation will result into establishing distinct market segments for urban and for rural areas, for various language needs and for the type of games preferred. The marketing communication will be adjusted to the different targeted language, game preferences and geographic area. While promoting a game globally, taking into consideration the global characteristics of the targeted markets (adapting the marketing communication) is desirable to standardization, for avoiding the potential cultural offenses, inadequacies or inadvertences (Singh, 2012).
Nijssen and Frambach (2001, p. 43) indicate that the purpose of market segmentation is to identify “who buys, what, when, where and why”. Most games distributed by Disney online are for free. However, Disney Infinity is sold for prices ranging from $40-74, depending on the type of package purchased. With this in mind, it can be considered that Disney Games’ online free games offers are targeting the loyalty of its free gamers, for further transforming them customers who purchase its products. In this case, a segmentation strategy is useful for adapting the advertising strategy for each market segment, in order to communicate effectively the offers on each segment. Nevertheless, the segmented communication is also useful for Disney Games to promote its titles to the online gamers, gaining new customers who would dedicate their time to playing its games, rather than the competitors’ products.
The internet marketing strategy differs from the offline marketing approaches due the distinct specificities of these channels of communicating with targeted customers. However, there are similarities also and the e-marketing strategy is based on the same model of planning, only that the tools differ. For the supermarket industry, e-marketing is no longer a novelty, as people can be approached by various internet tools for promoting groceries or other food & drinks and related offers available at Sainsbury.
For developing the e-marketing strategy formation for Sainsbury, the first thing that needs to be considered is the objectives of the e-marketing communication. Why do we want to develop an e-marketing strategy, for what reasons, what do we need to attain? The objectives need to be closely linked to the current situational analysis. Where Sainsbury is now will inform on what needs to be improved, or on what sectors it needs to grow. Aligned with the current situation the objectives of the e-marketing strategies will be developed. Considering the coming of the cold season and the average rate of consumer engagement in Sainsbury’s clothing products, let’s consider that the objective of the company is to increase its revenues for the clothing section with 30% in November. As it can be observed, this is a SMART objective: it is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed (Chaffey, 2006).
The next step will be the actual e-marketing strategy development. While the first part is analytical the second is practical. In response to the stipulated objective, the e-marketing strategy will need to attract customers for buying the products. The 4P (product, price, placement, promotion), used in the offline marketing planning is now adjusted to the internet marketing. The product refers to Sainsbury’s clothing section, which will be promoted through online tools. The price component of the marketing mix will be emphasized, in order to attract customers based on the cost consideration. Brands should be also emphasized, targeting clients who are interested in style and quality. At this point there has been already established the market segmentation for the e-marketing communication and implicitly the targeting and the positioning. The placement refers to Sainsbury’s supermarket in London and the promotion follows, according to the identified objective. Regarding e-promotion, the five new sales executives are responsible for assuring an integrated online communication. Sainsbury’s clothing advertisement should be visible on its website, on social media (Facebook, Twitter) as page content, but also as paid advertisement, pop-up banners on various websites, blogs or Google AdSense. Sending emails, using the customer database is a direct marketing approach that is also included in the promotion component of the marketing mix.
The third part of this process is evaluation and intervention, if the results are under the ones expected. A change in strategy should be implemented for attaining the sought objective. Compared to the previous step, this one implies analyzing what went wrong in the previous one and changing the approach in the revised strategy.
b) Traditional marketing approaches the targeted customers in a collective manner, while e-marketing delivers individual experiences. While watching television or listening to radio, viewers or listeners know that in the same time, other people are doing the same, are exposed to the same communications. Traditional marketing had the advantage of creating mass communication simultaneously. On the other hand, e-marketing communications approaches targeted audiences separated, through pop-up banners, Google ads, Facebook or Twitter ads, emails and alike, but the simultaneity is not guarantee, because e-marketing runs according to Google driven algorithms. While a TV commercial for Sainsbury can reach lots of people from the targeted audience in a specific time interval and on specific channels – at the same time, e-marketing communications does not guarantee the same efficiency. Indeed, targeted audience might be exposed to its electronic communications, but not at the same time. Like this, the level of perception of the traditional communications is more effective than the one of e-marketing communication.
On the other hand, e-marketing communication is more cost-effective. While TV and radio commercials or print advertising is high, internet advertising is much cheaper, being able to pay for visualization of the ads (cost per click) (Chaffey and Smith, 2008). In addition, e-marketing communications allows many other un-paid marketing tools, such as blogging, press releases or other articles, which can emphasize a brand’s online presence through key words. In Sainsbury’s case, a TV campaign in prime time (required as such because it targets mainstream audience) can reach very high budgets, which could be drastically reduced through e-marketing, using cost per click advertising, articles, blogs and social media in an integrated manner.
Another significant difference between e-marketing communications and traditional marketing communications is that the firs allows feedback, interaction and user involvement, while the second does not. Social media postings can be shared, liked, commented, re-tweeted, etc., while in the traditional media, users cannot get involved. Moreover, e-marketing communication can influence people by web word of mouth, which has also the value of increasing a product or brand’s electronic presence by Google optimization. Classical advertising, on the other hand, allows the word of mouth solely offline. Clients who purchase specific products from customers can post online reviews, expressing their experience with the purchased products. In the same time, they can re-share or re-twit the status, the content or the articles of Sainsbury, from the company’s Facebook or Twitter page, or can post on their own profile statuses mentioning Sainsbury. This is unpaid advertising and in the same time online word of mouth.
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