What is the point of the "Army"? - Marketing Genius

By on June 8, 2010 2:54:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

zampolit

Join Date 02/2008
0

Ok, so I first saw the "Join the Army" link and said, hrm...could be fun.  Now I look at it like a crack addict as its completely fun and addicting.

But, the more I participated the more I came to the realization that Stardock is a marketing genius.  All of the activities that receive "points" are for marketing!

  • Identifies users/emails contacts for marketing/solicitation
  • Users boost awareness on common/major websites for the book/game by forum/wish-lists
  • Gets users more in "the loop" when they have email updates enabled
  • Identifies & introduces the game to new/uncommon communities/syndicates
  • Creates a lot of traffic & activity, boosting its results in search engines and "hot product" lists
  • Creates a lot of user feedback/comments/reviews that indicate a passionate playerbase

Ok, all of those sound neat...but how does it effect you and why should you help?

  • Introduces the game to potential buyers
  • Influrences potential buyers to purchasing the product

Ok, those two points sound good for Stardock...but what does it have to do with *me*

  • Gets more people who can enter the beta, provide feedback, and assist in creating a solid release
  • Expands the grey-matter capacity within the community to brainstorm ideas, lore, and game content
  • Increases the player pool for multiplayer match ups
  • And well, the more profitable the game is indicates its eligibility for expansions/continuations
  • More money contrbutes to continued staffing = patches/fixes (and not having to watch for an expansion)

So does that sound good you to?  Yes?  Then get out there and go tell the mountain!

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June 8, 2010 3:04:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Identifies users/emails contacts for marketing/solicitation

Let me just note before someone mentions it that we do not harvest or use any e-mail address submitted for mailings lists and such.  Any links submitted are just for verification.  

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June 8, 2010 3:07:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i will not join this cult

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June 8, 2010 3:18:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Azrailx,
i will not join this cult

Don't worry, I'm sure there are many in who will in your place, me for one. I think its a great idea.

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June 8, 2010 3:19:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Azrailx,
i will not join this cult

But the kool-aid tastes so good... .

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June 8, 2010 3:29:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

as said before id rather have a snazzy kitten emblem

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June 8, 2010 3:31:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Island Dog,

Identifies users/emails contacts for marketing/solicitation


Let me just note before someone mentions it that we do not harvest or use any e-mail address submitted for mailings lists and such.  Any links submitted are just for verification.  

Ooops, my bad.  Sorry!

Just trying to motivate the masses to join and participate because everyone can benefit from it.  Not only that, its fun!  Like right now, I'm trying to legitamately make it to the next "level" of Expert.   While minor, it gives me something to do!

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June 8, 2010 3:46:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting zampolit,

Quoting Island Dog, reply 1
Identifies users/emails contacts for marketing/solicitation


Let me just note before someone mentions it that we do not harvest or use any e-mail address submitted for mailings lists and such.  Any links submitted are just for verification.  


Ooops, my bad.  Sorry!

Just trying to motivate the masses to join and participate because everyone can benefit from it.  Not only that, its fun!  Like right now, I'm trying to legitamately make it to the next "level" of Expert.   While minor, it gives me something to do!

No worries, I just didn't want someone to misinterpret that.  

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June 8, 2010 5:07:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I had a similar feeling of "what the heck is this" but it really is marketing genius.  I gets Elemental a lot more Diggs then it would have, spreads the word in Twitter and more.  It really is a great idea and I'm surprised that nobody else has done anything similar before.  I for one am checking daily now for new digg articles on the game and retweet what I can.

Also it may spark me to get on the forums more.

Good job!

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June 8, 2010 5:47:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Companies who truly believe they have a good product are smart to enlist customers to spread the word.  Companies who don't tend to try to keep control over their product's buzz, as things like this army will bite will in the butt when customers realize the game isn't up to snuff.  SD is the former, obviously.

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June 8, 2010 5:52:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Island Dog,

Identifies users/emails contacts for marketing/solicitation
Let me just note before someone mentions it that we do not harvest or use any e-mail address submitted for mailings lists and such.  Any links submitted are just for verification.  

 

They harvest the users! (like the shards are by the sovereign)   

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June 8, 2010 6:00:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh noes! Whatever they spend in prizes ("salaries" for the winners) will be a joke compared to all the free publicity and extra revenue that this tactic will provide!!!

 

Which is good because after paying for Frogboy's Jet Fuel, expansion packs doesn't fund themselves.

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June 8, 2010 6:16:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

to reiterate what Island Dog said, if people actually sign up for the army there is no difference from signing up for Impulse, you will not be added to spam lists or anything.  You could opt in for Impulse mailers but that's about it.  For the referral emails those emails are all throw away.  The only place they will ever be used in our system is to verify who referred whom.  

I'm trying to say, don't worry about referring friends and having them get spammed, their email addresses will never be touched in any way after that initial email.

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June 8, 2010 7:50:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Can we perhaps tone down the Forum identity visual perhaps. A text based entry under my Forum ID would be sweet. A friggin skull and cross bones, minus the skull, might be a bit much right?

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June 8, 2010 8:27:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

First time I've seen a contest like this. GOooo Elemental Army!  

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June 8, 2010 8:35:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

They harvest the users!
I would like to find the Soylent Green shard. 

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June 8, 2010 8:40:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was skeptical about this because most of the time a bunch of people take advantage of the system, like the recent BioWare Bazaar.  I'm going to give it a shot and see how it goes.  Hopefully the marketing will work for Stardock, and the system will be fair.

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June 9, 2010 12:21:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Actually, I think this is a terrible idea, marketing wise. People are going to wonder if positive feedback about Elemental is being driven by an honest appreciation for both the game and the company making it, or merely for the mercenary goal of acquiring points to get free stuff. And that's never a good thing when your entire business model is based around appearing honest and seeming interested in the opinions of customers. 

There's the additional risk that forum communities -- other than this one -- will assume that Stardock, having already decided to go the guerrilla advertising route, will choose to supplement its amateur VMs with professional ones. And that carries with it the possibility of new, low post count members of forums being stigmatized or banned for being VMs if they speak appreciatively of the game, even if they're legitimate users. Small forums -- in other words, the home-away-from-home for the majority of internet denizens, despite the higher profile of the larger forums -- have regular VM witch hunts, and even relatively large forums see the occasional VM freakout if they happen to have a lot of members in a demographic perceived as valuable by major advertisers. It's not as common as it was back in ~2005-2006 when the guerrilla and viral advertising stuff was still fresh, but it's definitely a phenomenon to take account of if you don't want to have your message ignored or outright rejected. After all, every internet denizen is aware of how prevalent spambots are, and that advertising is the chief revenue source out here. Making it obvious that you're attempting to pander is a great way to have people reject that selfsame pandering.

Even Facebook users -- the stereotypically least plugged in of the internet populace -- will eventually figure out that something is amiss if a few of their gaming friends are constantly posting positively about Elemental, and then see this contest that rewards positive posts. 

 

All in all, as a plugged in member of Generation Y, I'm of the opinion that this has a serious risk of backfiring on Stardock and eroding a lot of the goodwill they've built up over the past decade. Putting all that effort on the line over a cheesy marketing gimmick for a game that already HAS a fairly large base of amateur enthusiasts -- the beta participants -- is downright irrational. I'm more than a little surprised that Mr. Wardell chose to go ahead with it, in all honesty, as as a policy it has none of his usual marketing nous. Maybe that sounds a little doom&gloom, and totally inappropriate for this particular forum, but I'm of the opinion that in marketing, as in racing, the most likely moment for things to go horribly wrong is when you've just pulled ahead of the pack with a creative stunt. 

 

 

Oh, and for those wondering, I joined because I thought it had something to do with the Pen and Paper campaign I saw a few dev journals back. When I found out the truth, I was more than a little cross. Speaking of which, a tie in with the PnP campaign would be far more successful at developing amateur advertisers than this blatant pay-for-posts system.

 

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June 9, 2010 12:29:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
Oh noes! Whatever they spend in prizes ("salaries" for the winners) will be a joke compared to all the free publicity and extra revenue that this tactic will provide!!!

 

Which is good because after paying for Frogboy's Jet Fuel, expansion packs doesn't fund themselves.

 

Yeah JPL is definitely not cheap these days.

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June 9, 2010 2:06:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Aeon221,
Actually, I think this is a terrible idea, marketing wise. People are going to wonder if positive feedback about Elemental is being driven by an honest appreciation for both the game and the company making it, or merely for the mercenary goal of acquiring points to get free stuff. And that's never a good thing when your entire business model is based around appearing honest and seeming interested in the opinions of customers.
 

 

Whoa... Aeon from the Mount and Blade forums? If so, I love your Pike and Blade mod.

Anyway, I have to disagree. I think this campaign is great. It gets people motivated to go out there and spread the word about this game. While other companies like Blizzard can have huge media coverage of whatever it is they release, Stardock, though not a small company, doesn't get nearly as much coverage. For example, Strategy Informer doesn't have a single article on Elemental. It also creates a strong core community that can work with the company not just through beta tests but also through marketing. I really don't see anything wrong with it. I mean if Dragon Age can have Super Bowl ads, I think a little guerrilla marketing is more than acceptable for Elemental.

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June 9, 2010 2:12:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BerkeleyBoi,

Quoting Aeon221, reply 17Actually, I think this is a terrible idea, marketing wise. People are going to wonder if positive feedback about Elemental is being driven by an honest appreciation for both the game and the company making it, or merely for the mercenary goal of acquiring points to get free stuff. And that's never a good thing when your entire business model is based around appearing honest and seeming interested in the opinions of customers.
 
 

Whoa... Aeon from the Mount and Blade forums? If so, I love your Pike and Blade mod.

Anyway, I have to disagree. I think this campaign is great. It gets people motivated to go out there and spread the word about this game. While other companies like Blizzard can have huge media coverage of whatever it is they release, Stardock, though not a small company, doesn't get nearly as much coverage. For example, Strategy Informer doesn't have a single article on Elemental. It also creates a strong core community that can work with the company not just through beta tests but also through marketing. I really don't see anything wrong with it. I mean if Dragon Age can have Super Bowl ads, I think a little guerrilla marketing is more than acceptable for Elemental.

If anything, the largest risk they assume is not having control of the message.  I wouldn't want people to be spamming forums for me, so hopefully with their human filter on the point-giving they can discourage that sort of behavior.

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June 9, 2010 6:07:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One of the points about the Army is that we are just trying to reward fans for what they were doing already.  People were already making blog/forum posts, people were already fans of Elemental on Facebook, etc.

We do not want people to spam forums, and I haven't seen any of that at all so far.

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June 9, 2010 6:52:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I joined to the mighty army, but I realized that I have no chance to win anything [it requires lot of time to make the necessary points] so I guess I will just watch the "competition". Good luck everyone!

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June 9, 2010 7:06:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tormy-,
I joined to the mighty army, but I realized that I have no chance to win anything [it requires lot of time to make the necessary points] so I guess I will just watch the "competition". Good luck everyone!

I joined for just the snazzy little title underneath my avatar. I could never hope to complete those quest as I hate most social websites and blogs.

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June 9, 2010 9:53:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BerkeleyBoi,

Whoa... Aeon from the Mount and Blade forums? If so, I love your Pike and Blade mod.

Anyway, I have to disagree. I think this campaign is great. It gets people motivated to go out there and spread the word about this game. While other companies like Blizzard can have huge media coverage of whatever it is they release, Stardock, though not a small company, doesn't get nearly as much coverage. For example, Strategy Informer doesn't have a single article on Elemental. It also creates a strong core community that can work with the company not just through beta tests but also through marketing. I really don't see anything wrong with it. I mean if Dragon Age can have Super Bowl ads, I think a little guerrilla marketing is more than acceptable for Elemental.

 

I've self banned from the M&B forum until I've got a computer that can run M&B again, because right now I'm just causing problems trying to do stuff without testing. Glad you like the mod though.

 

Back on topic, there's a big difference between traditional advertising -- which "everyone knows" is meaningless -- and the viral or guerrilla stuff, which subverts the consumer/producer relationship for the purpose of advertising. Spam is always a concern in this sort of contest, but the primary concern isn't spam. It's that the people who want to spread the message of Stardock having awesome games now have the potential to be viewed as shills or VMs rather than players enjoying the good works of an honest company. 

That's more important than losing control of the message or causing a few over zealous prize hounds to go spam happy.

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June 9, 2010 12:28:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that if you look at the submissions so far they haven't been just baseless talking up of an unknown product.  They have been forwarding of information put out already about Elemental to people that may not have otherwise seen it.  Also because of what the prizes entail (copies of the game you are talking about) I think it implicitly shows that the people saying good things about Elemental for the Army are behind what they say as they are doing it to get copies of Elemental.

As we have said before, there is no way for people to post reviews or say the game will hands down be a certain thing, that is not what this is about.  You might be right if this were some sort of huge cash prize or we were pushing Elemental Army all over the internet, however, the way we have presented it it has been aimed at the people who already are excited for Elemental to present a way to encourage them to share their excitement with their friends and get rewarded for it.  

Plus having each entry be moderated will in the end keep the contest focused and avoiding spam or content we do not want to encourage.  

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