Harris: On the flip-side, what could a brand do to really blow it when marketing in games? Are there any absolute don'ts or things to watch out for?
Broady: I'm a believer that the best practices in marketing stay the same, regardless of the medium. Today's consumers will pay the most attention to messages that are relevant, funny and actually add something to an experience. If I were a marketer, I'd make sure that my agency were scouting out only games that were a great (and I mean great) fit for my brand or product.
Harris: What would you say is the biggest challenge for entertainment brands that want to incorporate their TV or film properties into a gaming experience?
Broady: It's interesting you ask that question, because we experienced this same issue, only in reverse. At CNET Networks Entertainment, our first site was GameSpot. As we rolled out new brands such as MP3.com, TV.com and FilmSpot, it took us several months before we stopped looking at the world through a gamer's perspective!
The biggest difference is that users consume most media, such as films and music, to relax. But users consume games to challenge themselves and to compete; games are very much a task-centered experience. How can I get from point A to point B? Entertainment brands need to make sure that their marketing message is relevant to the task at hand, or they will miss their target by a mile.
Harris: What are your thoughts on multiplayer online games? Do these capture the same user attention for brands as other gaming formats, or are they so singularly immersive that marketing messages are more likely to get overlooked?
Broady: Multiplayer online games are definitely intense, but with players' senses heightened to make that next kill, a well-thought-out marketing message has a great chance of being absorbed.
Harris: Is there a secret weapon of in-game marketing or a technique that marketers aren't yet embracing the value of?
Broady: The biggest secret weapon is to understand games. If you're a marketer and you don't play games, either start playing them or hire someone who does. Gamers are the farthest thing from a captive audience. In this case, knowledge truly is power.
Harris: What do you see as being the next big thing in game-related marketing? Anything on the horizon that you are excited about seeing?
Broady: I still remember being 11 years old in a movie theater, watching with rapt attention as Elliot laid a trail of Reese's Pieces to lure E.T. to out of the redwood forest. Reese's Pieces were on our shopping list for months afterwards. I'm still waiting for my "E.T." moment in gaming. But I'm sure my wait will be worth it; games are the perfect place for a product to move the story forward and at the same time make a huge impact in gamers' imagination.
I hope marketers out there will see that there's nothing to be scared of here. Only opportunity.
Jodi Harris is managing editor of iMedia Connection's Entertainment Spot. Read full bio.