This article was taken from a presentation for the Product Marketing Summit by Sangita Sarkar, when she was the VP of Marketing at Level Ex, Inc. She is now the Head of Marketing at Immutable. Catch up on all presentations with our OnDemand feature.

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As product marketers, one of the most important elements of our role is to deeply understand the needs of our end-users.

Over nearly a decade in the role, I’ve been working on a new method of achieving that end goal and it’s called method marketing. Here I’ll explain what it’s all about, and where the idea came from, plus I’ll share my three top tips on getting it right, with examples from my career thus far.

I'm Sangita Sarkar, VP of Marketing at Level Ex, Inc. & today I'm going to be talking to you about method marketing. It's a methodology that I've developed over the course of my time in the gaming industry, which has been the better part of a decade, so I hope, as a product marketer reading this, you find some relevance.

In this article, I'll focus on:

Let's dig right into it.

Method acting is basically an approach to acting, that a lot of actors and actresses take to really dig deep into the character and deliver a very compelling performance to their audience.

  • Christian Bale, for example, lost 60 pounds for The Machinist, to play an emaciated insomniac.
  • Hilary Swank for Boys Don't Cry played a transgender man and lived that, as a man, to play a convincing role.
  • Natalie Portman as a lot of you know, took intensive ballet classes to prepare for her role in the Black Swan. And,
  • Ranveer Singh, who is a Bollywood actor, also kept himself in isolation for weeks preparing for his role in Padmavati.

What is method marketing?

This leads to what method marketing is, it's derived from method acting, which is to submerge yourself completely in the character that you're playing. And it's an approach to growth marketing that immerses a marketer into a product's brand so that you can understand the perspective of your end-user or customer better.

That allows for a much more impactful messaging and positioning through identified effective distribution channels.

Method marketing in action: example #1

You might wonder what Kim Kardashian has to do with method marketing? In a previous gaming company that I worked at, Glu, I had the privilege of working on the very successful Kim Kardashian Hollywood game and had the opportunity to meet with her.

By talking to her about her selfie-loving fans and the way that she communicates with them on Instagram, actually translated very well to the types of creatives that we were developing to really speak to her audience.

We took a cue from her to be like, "Okay, her audience wants to know what's happening in real-time. They love that authentic, transparent approach that she provides her viewers in terms of a sneak peek into her world".

So the game would do things like she would text our designers and let them know what she was going to wear for Paris Fashion Week, a week before she would go and our designers would actually be able to recreate those designs and allow our players to purchase them as in-app purchases all the designer clothes and purses that she was wearing.

By being able to speak to an audience in the same way that this brand represented, we were able to be more effective in the types of content that we created.

The benefits of method marketing

The benefits to method marketing are understanding your end-users needs better, what is it that they are seeking in interacting with your product

It's also to craft messaging that resonates more strongly and effectively with that end-user, and by doing method marketing, you can also scale your audience by acquiring new users that you may not from traditional acquisition methods.

Method marketing in action: example #2

How many Harry Potter fans do we have here reading? Well, I'm going to share with you something that I hope you'll love next and it's a quick video.

That's a piece of content marketing that our team back at Jam City made following the celebration of Harry Potter, which is a huge conference, where 30,000 Harry Potter fans from all over the world descend into Orlando, Florida, to just embrace the magic of the wizarding world.

It was so impactful, meaningful, and fulfilling to us as marketers to be there because we got to speak directly to our end customers and to our end users. These are the diehard fans who've been following the Harry Potter story for years, and we got to basically give them the experience of going to Hogwarts as a student.

By talking to them again, we really were able to capture that spirit and emotion of, they get to finally be a student at Hogwarts, they get to interact with their favorite professors, and taking all those emotions, we were able to craft this kind of sentimental and nostalgic piece of content that we could then scale and share with a much larger audience through their Facebook channels and our Facebook channels as well.

Method marketing: 3 top tips

Tip 1: put yourself in the shoes of the end-user to understand where they live

The first tip is to put yourself in the shoes of your end-user to understand:

  • Where are they living?
  • Where are they having these conversations?
  • What are they talking about?
  • What are the forums in which they're talking about?

What this does is actually allows you to go beyond just traditional user acquisition channels and look at nontraditional channels. The combination of both of that is what leads to unprecedented growth for your product.

An example of this is when we were launching Gordon Ramsay's game, going beyond again, just adds that we would be serving to fans of time management games or fans of Gordon Ramsay, I knew that he had a really big presence on Reddit.

So, we conducted a Reddit AMA in which he asked all of his fans to tune in and ask him anything about restaurants or his upcoming game. It became the sixth most engaged Reddit AMA after President Obama's based on upvotes. We basically were able to, through a tracking link in the description, bring in a new slew of players who ended up having four times the LTV, or the lifetime value, of players that we had in our ecosystem versus paid and organic user acquisition users.

Though we weren't able to scale it the way that you can, through UA ads and networks, there were a very highly monetizing, highly valuable group of people that we were able to bring in because we went beyond traditional channels to reach our end users.

Tip 2: integrate messaging and positioning across all stakeholders to amplify conversion

The second tip I would give is to integrate your messaging and positioning across all stakeholders to really amplify that conversion. One way I like to think about this is like as product marketers, we are kind of like the conductors of an orchestra.
We are not necessarily the star of the show, but we are orchestrating our social media managers who might represent the violinist, and our email and CRM who are keeping a cadence like percussion might. We're basically making sure that everybody is singing the same message. Everyone is kind of orchestrated into the right rhythm, into the right beats so that you can, at the right moments in the music be able to amplify those messages because everything is hitting at the same time to your end-user.

So when everyone is working towards that the results can be phenomenal, and we've seen that over and over again when PR messaging lines up with social, lines up with email, and lines up with video content that you might create.

Tip 3: take risks and embrace emerging platforms to reach new audiences

The third tip is to really take risks and embrace emerging platforms as relevant to your product to reach new audiences. One thing that we experimented with that we didn't have any historical data to really support was being able to create an interactive experience on the Snapchat lens for Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery.

One of the mechanics in the game was to trace spells, and then you are able to progress by completing certain spells in your charms class. We were able to replicate a little piece of that mechanic into a Snapchat lens, give people a taste of that if they hadn't fully committed to downloading the game, and then provide a direct 'Swipe up to download' option from the Snapchat lens.

We were very pleasantly surprised with the results that we saw from those users that we got from Snapchat, it was a much younger audience, an audience that again, we weren't typically able to target from our traditional user acquisition and it was also a highly engaged audience.

So I would encourage all of you to always take risks to keep an eye out on what's happening in the competitive landscape and take risks on emerging platforms.

Summary of tips

To summarise the tips that we talked about, again, put yourself in your end user’s shoes, where are they living and breathing, what conversations are they having, and have a meaningful presence there, whether that's as a moderator or as creating content for them in those channels. Integrate your messaging across all stakeholders to really amplify the conversion and take risks.

A bonus tip: segmented messaging

I want to throw in a bonus tip that recently my team has been experimenting more with, which is segmented messaging.

Oftentimes we all know that we can't talk to everybody in our audience in the same way. We have usually our core primary audience, we have a secondary audience, we have a tertiary audience, and they may not all be the same people.

For Words with Friends, for example, your primary audience is older females, but our secondary and tertiary audiences are male, they're younger, so we wouldn't deliver the same message to them. We wouldn't be in the same distribution channels as our core audience.

So, if you have the opportunity or if you have the tools to be able to do segmented messaging, whether that's through emails, push notifications, or in-game messaging, it is much more effective because, at the end of the day, it will be a much more targeted and impactful message.

If you can directly respond to what it is that that end-user is looking for in your product, whether that's an escape, whether that's a feeling of progression, a feeling of achievement, or a feeling of competition, you can really hone in and deliver exactly the kind of message that they want to hear to get them more engaged in your product.

Thank you.

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