Nailing online gaming one technology at a time: Sagar Barapatre, MadOverPoker

Guest Column: The Indian market has kept pace with the global gaming industry, just like it has done in the context of technology adoption

e4m by Sagar Barapatre
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 8:33 AM
Sagar Barapatre

The launch of a promising product in the market requires complementary and sustained marketing efforts, such that it successfully reaches customers and gain their mindshare. Methods and strategies of marketing would vary depending on a number of market dynamics and the nature of the product itself. Competitive brands will stay the course with a view to leaving behind a mark of their own. 

The Online Gaming industry

With the advent of modern technology, the means of entertainment have evolved too. Millennials are exploiting this factor to their advantage. From traditional outdoor sports to indoor video games and now, Online Gaming is the latest trend for those seeking to make the most out of their leisure time.

The Indian market has kept pace with the global gaming industry, just like it has done in the context of technology adoption. Online Poker calls for marketing ingeniously. The Online Poker Gaming as a mode of fun entertainment is now in the reckoning of the urban Indian. Marketers have taken this fact into cognisance and are upbeat about their marketing initiatives.

Here is a time-tested scientific approach to ensure inroads to consumers in India:

Clear understanding of the consumers holds the key to success:

Before embarking on a marketing campaign, the marketing team ought to gain a firm understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics and psychographics mapping, which mean identification of factors such as gender, geographical locations, social interests, orientation towards technology and age groups, all of which enable focused efforts. The nature of marketing communication between the brand and its prospective customers hinges on these socio-economic influences.

Tailoring content for communication that captures the consumer’s imagination:

Intelligent marketers will agree that the content for communication needs to be of superior quality, such that it resonates with the values of the audience and understands their needs. Storytelling as a creative approach has gained significant traction and makes for a compelling proposition. Innovation in storytelling is bound to be benchmarked in the industry.

Poker, being a male dominated game to the tune of 80 percent of target consumers, the messages will have to be customised in a male-centric fashion. Marketers need to create multiple content buckets and keep experimenting with those to see what works the best. 

Creativity applied in the right way:

Since Poker players are tech-savvy (as per Google Analytics data), genuine and real-life based storytelling on Digital Media platforms will be a sure shot means to success in communication and will break through the clutter created by competitors. This plays a pivotal role in highly targeted campaigns that effectively reach Poker players. Marketers will know what to target in the online world, based on the Digital tracking tools to measure the campaign effectiveness. All competitors pretty much want to communicate the same message to their audience, the trick is in how you communicate that message.

The differentiation happens at a creative execution level. For example, tournaments and cash promotions are the real products of an online poker brand. Each one of these products can be assigned a unique personality - keeping in mind customers’ interest. This personality can then extended consistently while marketing these products. This results in a faster recall. 

Visual Storytelling:

Content consumption preferences are moving in a more visual direction. Consumers give more attention to visuals than text. Hence platforms like Instagram are enjoying higher user time. Creativity and visual storytelling go hand in hand. Once you have identified the interests of your target audience, you can pick relatable situations and smartly integrate creativity in it - preferably with a twist of poker (if you are trying to sell poker). Each creative should have a story of its own. Here’s a fresh take on the concept of storytelling! Visual creatives with catchy graphics and original story themes are architected right from scratch by portraying relatable situations, instead of merely sourcing images from stock websites with text content dragged and dropped onto it. Original content fares better than stock images - according to leading social media platform. Remember, your brand is competing for digital real estate, not just with competitors but also with every piece of content on your customer’s feed. 

Right targeting on right channels:

Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube allow companies to target people based on age, gender, profession and their interests. Since Online Advertising costs are high in terms of accessing each person, extensive research needs to be conducted, so as to communicate with the right set of people. This results in higher sales conversion rates, which is of utmost importance when it comes to evaluating the results of marketing investments. This is what Programmatic Advertising is all about, in stark contrast to traditional advertising on Print, Radio and Television, wherein, control over the target audience is missing in totality in terms of reach and hence, the advertising impressions are wasted, all in all, boiling down to wasted advertising expenditure. 

Overcoming advertising restrictions:

Most Social Media platforms have a policy of disallowing direct advertising of Poker. This necessitates the acquisition of a surrogate marketing property for the basic cause of commercializing Poker. So we at MadOverPoker created India’s first marketable property in the form of poker-themed merchandise which is up for grabs on e-commerce platforms. This will help in promoting the brand and creating customer loyalty. From a broader perspective, this is named as an end-to-end surrogate marketing approach. With such diligent efforts, even start-ups and small-sized market players can stand the test of time and survive amidst stiff competition, who are primarily intimidating big-time companies with huge marketing budgets to allocate.


(The author is Head of Marketing at MadOverPoker)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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