Good marketers and brand planners like to view the world beyond the marketing dashboard. That is, out past the windshield, beyond the dials and digital displays. They’re good at predicting the future – seeing what’s ahead. In order to do this, marketers and planners have always used research, concept testing and test marketing.
What’s so cool about the Internet is that it has given marketers and planners an entire world of real time research from which to mine new product ideas. People who play virtual games online, especially fast growing games, are a great source of new product intelligence. If we listen and watch carefully we can figure out the messages they’re sending us. First message: They like the activity. Second message: They prefer to participate in the activity on their terms (on-demand, low cost or free, low personal impact, if one loses.)
For instance, what does the amazing success of Zynga’s Farmville game tell marketers about real world product development? Well we all know watching real vegetables grow is a lot more fun and rewarding than watching a virtual crop, so the marketer who creates a low-cost system to grow real vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers?) indoors (or out) with little time investment, will have success. A lot of people love the idea of farming, they just don’t have the 21st century tools. What other online behaviors do you see that predict offline marketing success? Peace!