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Marketing promotions in social network games: Making them work
More than 55 per cent of Americans play video games, and advertisers are turning to games as a viable platform for marketing communications and promotion. Both managers and consumers stand to benefit from a deeper understanding of how marketing communications can be integrated into existing games. This paper proposes a typology of social network game-based marketing promotional strategies using two dimensions: (1) functional congruency (the ability to respond to the promotional offer while playing the game) and (2) motivational congruency (the promotion aligning with players’ motivations for playing the game). Interviews with players of a popular social network game are used to confirm and refine the proposed framework. Findings support prior research and extend existing knowledge in two ways. First, even promotions that are congruent with the storyline can result in negative brand attitude or resentment when misaligned with the functional or motivational aspects of the game. Secondly, a deep understanding of the wider context of social network games is paramount when developing promotions to ensure integrated marketing communications are well received by players.
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Ginger Killian (PhD, University of Georgia) is Associate Dean and MBA Director at the University of Central Missouri (UCM). Prior to pursuing her PhD, Killian worked for several Fortune 500 companies, including Philips Electronics, American Honda Motor Company and Allstate Insurance. In her current role, Killian is employing her marketing skills to grow the MBA and other programmes in the Harmon College of Business; her recent MBA programme redesign and marketing strategy has resulted in more than 200 per cent growth in less than a year. She is also working with university leadership to develop similar marketing strategies for all programmes across campus. Killian also enjoys teaching Digital Marketing courses at the MBA level, including Customer Relationship Management and Inbound Marketing Strategy.