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The perils of a global audience

By on February 3, 2010
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I don’t care about the SuperBowl.

I struggle to care about soccer. I definitely have zero interest – none at all, not one iota – in American Football.

Which causes a problem for Zynga. They’ve just sent me a Farmville promotional email for the first time in months. And it was totally irrelevant.

This is a US-only mailing. Zynga has access to my country location via Facebook’s API (I assume it does, if any Facebook developers now otherwise, let me know). It should have been able to geo-target this content.

Perhaps they thought about it. Perhaps they decided that everyone in the world cared about American Football (a very US-centric viewpoint – the clues in the name of the sport, guys. No one else cares).

But more likely, they didn’t think hard enough about CRM. Diane Lagrange posted on the importance of CRM in the future of games yesterday at the ICO Partners blog. I agree with her take entirely. Games companies need to get a lot smarter about how they talk to their customers.

Zynga just sent me the kind of untargeted emailing that leads customers to unsubscribe from a mailing list.

An “unsubscribe” is a lost prospect. And ultimately lost profits.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • ChrisBateman

    The Super Bowl does have a global audience; along with the UEFA Champion's League final, these two events are the most watched annual events in the world, pulling in about 100 million viewers.

    Admittedly, the primary audience for the Super Bowl is in the States, but it's not its exclusive audience. Furthermore, the NFL has a vested interested in international promotion of the event (although Farmville clearly don't have the NFL brand on their promo gear!).

    You're probably right that this is a case of forgetting that the US is not the whole of the world (certainly the case with Thanksgiving!), but I'll bet there are a niche group of international Farmville players for whom the mailing is relevant… I'm not wholly convinced that restricting the email to the US domain would have been the best choice – although I do agree that smarter promotions is generally a wise idea.

  • DianeL

    Thanks for the link! That really stresses the importance of local events and promotions, not exclusively the CRM issue. I had the same thoughts a few months ago when we all got flooded in Thanksgiving content and events.