Digital Marketing and Its Impact on Small Time Game and Mobile Application Developers

Stephen DiMarco has hit a very valid point in his post about how online marketing needs to start to assess some of the more qualitative side of marketing in terms of a brand rather than just Google Analytics or PPC, etc. In a world that’s primarily driven by unique page views, PPC campaign numbers, CTR rates, and other hard facts, it’s an interesting thought. As a gaming company, we offer post-marketing services which includes this marketing and it’s driven by numbers. We’ve yet to see how this affects us a brand, and Stephen’s got us thinking.

There are a whole slew of developers that are online at the App Store, but there’s an inherent problem with trusting a single developer. Many developers have delivered a product that’s a stand-alone app that is basically a flash-in-the-pan while others have consistently turned out mediocre but reliable apps. Who do you trust; the company that turns out one stellar app after a long hiatus or a developer that just needs some new direction or energy in their creative processes? There’s no real concept of a brand, there’s no Unilever or P&G for the App Store and therein lies the problem for marketers for iPhone development.

Although many people would argue that apps are products that have a repeat purchase cycle, etc, there’s yet to be a single developer that’s built a very successful brand using just their apps. People view apps like a utility and look to promote them as such. Very rarely does anyone ever hear about the developer but rather the app itself. This is a problem in an industry where the first firm to truly brand itself will gain a massive first-mover advantage. Indeed it will be difficult, but if a firm is able to do so, they’d easily take over the App Store.

The problem, to a certain extent, lies in the tools that are geared towards quantitative metrics rather than qualitative metrics. For example, Twitter following dictates whether you are a thought leader or follower, a PPC campaign shows how well SEO or ad placement is working. Yes, they do provide numbers which can help translate into potential leads, but there’s no concept of a brand.

Resultantly, firms are looking to use their marketing dollars to build a brand. For us, as game developers, there’s an added challenge. Although it may be easy to build one stellar app and continue to tweak it over time, such an effort doesn’t build a brand in the long run. At this point, firms need to realize how their marketing channels are being used besides the metrics they provide. Do you use your Twitter account to talk with customers? What type of a Twitter following do you have? Does your website show how committed you are to your vision? These questions begin to emphasize how qualitative metrics become important. It’s great having numbers, but as companies grow there’s a need to build a relationship with customers outside of the traditional client-vendor concept.

For example, in the case of gaming studios, a loyal group of customers translates into many benefits. Beta testers are easily found from your Twitter following or customers that have written great reviews for your titles. Ultimately these are the people that will promote you for free. They don’t show up in the metrics, you find them by talking to them. This is a brand building activity that many firms ignore. Again, for small startups it’s difficult to find the right people, but most of the time they’re hiding right under your radar. Yet many firms ignore the potential of these testers and continue to push out apps without sufficient testing. There’s no reason when there’s a small group of dedicated followers that you need to deliver a game without proper testing. These people will be the life line for your game as you need the critical honest feedback about gameplay, controls, graphics, user interfaces, etc. Without these people, you’d never get the proper feedback which helps develop a truly outstanding title.

Nonetheless, many firms do use these techniques but need to realize that there’s a brand to be built using these types of activities. Reward your beta-testers with promo codes for free games so that they spread the word about you, their recommendation to other gamers will go a long way in making your company stand out amongst the army of developers on the App Store. As mentioned by Stephen, there’s a need to change from the quantitative towards the qualitative side of marketing to build brands similar to IBM, Apple, or Microsoft for app development companies. Firms need to get away from the purely numerical side of marketing and start to see where they want to be in 10 years time.

Online Educational Toys – Make Learning Fun

Online Educational toys are a great way to entertain your child but they are also very valuable for learning things too. These toys are designed to help children to creatively explore around them. But how do you go about choosing an online educational toy. Well the obvious answer is to go online! But with hundreds of pages to choose from where is the best place to start?

Well you could start with one of the top companies- LeapFrog. LeapFrog is one of the leading designers of learning toys and games for kids of all ages. The company have designed an application called Leapster Explorer. This is a learning toy that contains over 40 learning games. Games that help little ones to learn the basics of reading, spelling and math. It also allows you the parent to download more learning applications onto the handheld controller.

The controller itself has a 3.2 inches touch screen display, and is capable of running flash, video and also run 3D graphics. It comes equipped with a 512MB memory and this can be expanded to take on more games and learning applications. Your little one can actually go online, play games and extend their knowledge. Your children can also create their own world including designing their own pet!

Another top company making online educational toys is Fisher-price. Fisher-Price is a company that has been creating children’s toys since the early part of the last century. They specialize in toys that are designed to stimulate your child’s imagination. The Fisher-Price IXL Learning System comes preloaded with six applications that encourage children from 4 years up to 7 to learn to read. and also build up their vocabulary. It also allows children to choose and install songs that they can listen to as they operate the other applications. More applications can be downloaded using a USB connected to your computer.

The makers of these learning toys take great care to design online learning toys that fit your child’s age and level of skill, So it is important that before buying any toy you read the manufactures recommendation. If you don’t do this you might end up with a toy that will cause your child frustration because it’s too advanced. Or it could cause boredom because it’s because it’s pitched below their skill. Which ever way it will be a waste of your money because your child will not learn anything.

The above are just two of the online educational toys available today. A big benefit to parents of these types of toy is that the makers can update the existing games and add new ones with out you the parent having to shell out more dollars. And unlike off-line games where a child soon loses interest with regular updates online educational games will stay on the top of their playlists.

Online Educational Games for Kids

If you’re looking for fun and creative ways to teach your children at home, or if you need to know how to make sure that your kids don’t forget all the things they’ve learned in school over the summer, you may want to find a few educational games for their age group. These games can be very entertaining, and will allow your son or daughter to retain information in a way that is fun and engaging. Here are some resources for finding the best – and most affordable – games.

The Fun Brain site has a great variety of educational games for kids of all ages. You can play the games online using the ‘arcade’ features, and there are even Web books for kids that you can download to give your child a fun summer reading list. If you want to make sure that your child does not forget basic math skills, you’ll definitely want to try Fun Brain games like Fresh Baked Fractions, a game that teaches children how to recognize and create fraction using segments of baked goods. Or, you may want to try Math Baseball, a game that teaches both sports strategy and counting.

For grammar retention, Scramble-Saurus is a great game that will teach children how to recognize letters and transform them into words. There are also a number of other educational games for kids on the site will teach motor skills and community awareness, and many of the games are available in Spanish as well.

If your child is in elementary school, Primary Games has educational games for this age group. Science games on the site include Ocean Fun, which teaches young children about the creatures that live underwater. You can print out coloring pages of underwater animals for your children to color as well, which is ideal if you’re home schooling or trying to keep your children productive during the summer. Language Arts games include Candy Land Dora, where Nick Jr.’s Dora the Explorer is the main character. Flip Words and Bouncing Letters are also great games that will teach your children how to properly form sentences and recognize the letter combinations that make up words.

If your children watch PBS often, you’ll definitely want to log onto PBS Kids to find educational games for them. Their favorite characters from PBS cartoons, like Caillou and Arthur are featured on the site, and there are lots of pages to download for coloring, as well as music that you can incorporate into your child’s math, science, or language lesson. You can sign up for a free trial to see if you like the services, and the monthly fee is definitely affordable.