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Channel Marketing Lessons from Fortnite (Yes, Really)

Mike Moore, Averetek

Unless you have no contact with the outside world, you’ve at least heard of Fortnite. The online phenomenon is a “free-to-play battle royale game where up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing.” The game has gained “more than 125 million players in less than a year and (it’s) earning hundreds of millions of dollars per month” for its creator, Epic Games.

As a father of a 12-year-old boy who plays Fortnite daily with his friends and as a Fortnite player and channel marketer, I think there are many ways we can use Fortnite to inspire our work with partners since we often struggle with how to capture interest and inspire action among partners.

 fortnite-season-7-skins

Fortnite Season 7 Image from Epic Games

First, it’s helpful to consider why we struggle with partner engagement. Consider life in the channel from the partner’s perspective. Most channel partners carry a dozen or more product lines. Some carry hundreds or thousands. Not all vendor products are equal. Some put dinner on the table and others are merely an afterthought. The amount of time a partner spends thinking about you (your products, your sales programs, your marketing campaigns) is tied directly to the economic opportunity you provide to them. Whether you’re a leading solution for partners or an add-on product, partners only have so many hours in the day. With phones and computers constantly in front of them, they have a non-stop stream of content, communication, and actions coming their way.

Your goal is to break through the noise, capture their interest for a moment, and convince them to act (participate in your sales program, use your marketing campaign, read some content, etc.).

So how does Fortnite relate to partner engagement?

The creators have cleverly embedded engagement tools in the game that all marketers should envy.

  • Seasons – Fortnite’s year is broken up into seasons that last around ten to fourteen weeks. Each season has a theme with new, interesting content.
  • Challenges – Within each season, there are daily and seasonal challenges that offer the player rewards for doing everything from routine to extraordinary tasks in the game.
  • Limited Time Modes – Taking a break from the standard gameplay, limited time modes offer a new set of rules for a day or several days. Once the mode is gone, it may or may not come back in the future.
  • Battle Pass – For players who want to work on additional challenges and earn special awards, they can purchase a Battle Pass that is only good for the season. As they earn levels, known as tiers in the Battle Pass, they unlock new characters, accessories, and the popular Fortnite dances.

When you think about all the facets of the game that drive engagement, there are some concepts we can re-use in our channel marketing programs.

  • Themes – A year can be long and boring. Breaking up your channel programs into seasons, each with a unique theme, can help break through the monotony and attract interest and inspire action among your channel partners. Seasons don’t have to map to fiscal quarters. Make them fit your needs by adjusting the duration.
  • Urgency – With time constraints, like limited-availability premium content, partners should feel the need to act now rather than waiting and missing out. Rather than making every campaign available forever, consider some limited-time campaigns in addition to your evergreen content.
  • Rewards – A new character or dance move might not motivate your partners, but they do love coffee, gadgets, and more extravagant gifts. If you’ve ever taken home a prize from work that caused your family or friends to “ooh and ahh”, that’s the effect you want to produce in partners. Yes, partners should want to do the things you’re asking them to do without being incentivized but putting some rewards on the table helps drive interest.
  • Exclusivity – What if you made each campaign only available to the first fifty partners to publish and share it? It’s worth an experiment to see how partners would respond. You could always bring the campaign back later as a limited-time offer.
  • Fun – No offense, but most channel programs aren’t fun, engaging, or interesting. Some of the products and solutions being offered, particularly in tech, are dry. Intentionally adding fun to your programs will go a long way to attract interest and inspire action.

 

Want to learn more and talk about how to apply these concepts? 

WEBCAST: CHANNEL MARKETING LESSONS FROM FORTNITE

Thursday, January 24, 2019 10 am PST 1 pm EST

(we're giving away V-Bucks)

Channel Programs

Mike Moore, Averetek

Posted By: Mike Moore, Averetek

Mike Moore serves as Averetek's Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. Mike has spent twenty-four years in the IT channel as a channel partner and as a channel and field marketer for software companies like Microsoft, GE Healthcare, and Progress Software.

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