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Games: An Emerging Marketing Path to Green Consumers

Words by Bill Roth
Leadership & Transparency

Games are emerging as a high potential marketing path to reach consumers who increasingly ignore traditional advertising in their search for smart, healthier and greener product solutions. This opportunity exploded in 2010 with 53 million US internet users playing a social online game at least once a month. Current projections are for the social game market segment to grow almost 30% by year-end 2012 to approximately 70 million players.

Name brand companies are now deploying games to connect with targeted customers. One example is Century 21, which partnered with We City to offer Century 21 branded structures into the game. The real estate company's Chief Marketing Officer reports "...92% of We City players have incorporated Century 21-branded structures into their virtual cities."
This marketing path is not just for companies with large marketing budgets. Scott Cooney, founder of GreenBusinessOwner.com, an on-line consulting firm working with small business owners, is launching a game called The Green Economy. Tied to the game's launch is a September 20, 2011 online demo that is a creative example of how to engage potential and existing customers.

A social game combined with a greener product is great way to advertise to the Millennial Generation and their moms, Concerned Caregivers. Combined, these two groups of consumers have approximately $8-10 trillion of annual buying power. Millennials are both leaders in sustainable lifestyles and in online gaming with the average college student having spent 10,000 hours playing games vs. 5,000 hours reading.

Women are also a major growth market-segment in online games. 55 percent of all social gamers in the U.S. are women. Many of these same women are Concerned Caregiver consumers of green and sustainable products that address their wellness concerns for their loved ones.

Master Card provides a best practices example called You Play, We Give that smaller green businesses should consider. In this Facebook game, players earn points to trigger MasterCard donations to local charities. Imagine this creative vehicle on your company's Facebook page offering your potential customers the chance to learn more about your green products. A game reward like a daily-special price discount or a chartable gift to a non-profit gives them a great impression of your company.

It is also becoming less daunting for a smaller, green business to use a game in their marketing as companies emerge that offer to create games for business marketing.

Moving from molecules to electrons is a sustainability mega-trend. It is being manifested by our collective shift to the cloud, with resulting cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This shift to mobile, cloud-based social networks is also a mega-trend marketing opportunity that offers a new and vibrant path for engaging the very same consumers who are searching for sustainable product solutions.

Social media games are emerging as a best practice for businesses seeking to grow their green revenues.

Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017, a company that connects businesses with customers who are seeking smart, healthy and green solutions. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business best practices in pricing, marketing and branding green and wellness products. He is implementing Green Builds Business, an 11-city coaching program created by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with funding by Walmart.