Friday, June 02, 2006

Brand Manager's Log: Scratch & Sniff

One of the things I have planned for BOTS is a fun tournament system. So far we've done a few tests to see if the game works for tournaments and the experiences have been positive. The next step is to get serious and figure out how to use tournaments for community and marketing purposes.

The latter is what I'm dealing with at the moment. The first thing I need to figure out is how much intrinsic value does a tournament provide? That is, how much fun is it to just participate and be in the tournament without any extrinsic motivation? If I know that, then I know how often I need to reward extrinsically. For instance, can I get enough interest running non-prize tournaments all day long? If not, how often do I provide an award? Every tournament? A 5 to 1 ratio? Obviously, we don't want to give away prizes all the time. This is an obvious cost issue but it also ends up creating prize fatigue.

The next question is: when we do give out prizes, what should we give out? Cash? iPods? It falls into the same category of personal Xmas shopping; who gets a gift certificate and who gets a real gift. You resort to gift certificate when you have no idea what the giftee would like and get a real gift when you know exactly what that person would like. The issue here is the same, I'm not sure what would motivate the players the most.

Ultimately, the only way to answer these questions is to test out various executions. My gut says that a 3 to 1 ratio with iPods up the wazoo is probably going to work best.

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