The recent announcement that the Monopoly game will no longer include the thimble token got me thinking. Over 4 million Monopoly fans voted which game tokens to keep or discard. The thimble token has been around since 1935. It is the first time in the game’s history that the future of the game was crowd sourced. There are over 300 versions of the game and recent variations include a cashless version using bank cards and electronic banking.
Jonathan Berkowitz, Senior VP of Marketing for Hasbro Gaming said “We’re always listening to our fan base. They’re very engaged with the brand, especially on Facebook. We want them to continue to weigh in with ideas.” The final results of the contest are not going to be announced until Mar 19 by Hasbro; additional pieces may be retired and new token pieces, like the hashtag and emoji’s, may be added.
So, if a board game that has been around for almost 100 years can adapt and use social media and crowdsourcing to increase interest in the game, what else can be learned?
Strategy & Luck
You may believe that a board game, like Monopoly, only requires luck or chance to win. While luck and chance certainly plays a part (just like in real life), having a strategy to win increases your odds. You may think a game like Monopoly can’t teach you anything about content marketing, but I have a few insights to make you think differently.
The thimble token is perhaps a symbol of “outbound” marketing techniques. Not many people use thimbles today as fewer people sew. Similarly, cold calling, tv advertising and other outbound techniques that do not tailor the message according to the audience are favored less by today’s modern marketers.
You may also believe the game is purely a game of chance. However, the wise player should have a strategy for playing the game. Just like you should have a well mapped out strategy for your inbound marketing. The blog content you write, social media posts and which channels are used must be carefully thought out and the message crafted to appeal to your target market on those channels.
Your website is like a game board where all the pages, including blog posts, are potential areas where visitors may land. Keeping a visitor on your site with engaging content that answers their needs is like a killer game of Monopoly where the excitement builds until the last roll of the dice.
Many Monopoly players have house rules where cash is added to Free Parking and taxes and penalties paid by players is added to this fund. Landing on Free Parking and getting a quick infusion of cash may allow you to develop properties sooner.
In the marketing world, creating a viral post or video is like landing on Free Parking. Having a plan for what to do with the 15 minutes of fame is important before it occurs. That way, you can harness the traffic to lead them to the next step preferred by your brand.
On the other hand, there is no such thing as “free parking” in the marketing world. All of your social media channels should perform for you or be eliminated. There is no point in having a social media presence without having conversations with individuals. Having a social media presence and not actively engaging on it is a waste of resources. All the content you produce should fill a need or answer a question your customers have during the buying journey.
A common strategy in Monopoly is to buy as many properties as possible. Buying properties in Monopoly is like creating content in marketing. The different property color groups are like different personas or different stages the customer may be in on their buying journey. As a marketer, you want to cover the whole board to reach all your potential customers at every step of their journey.
Don’t Buy Utilities
Buying Electric Company and Water Works is useless or equivalent to throwing your money away. In marketing, I would liken this to Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising without having a definitive strategy behind it.
Get Out Of Jail
In the game, at the beginning you should get out of jail as quick as possible until you have established a monopoly. After all, you want to be a part of the action while the land grab is going on. Once you have some properties, you can collect money while you are in jail.
The inbound marketing equivalent of jail is any activity that will cause Google to penalize your website. Black hat SEO tactics will land your site in Google “jail”. After all, if potential visitors can’t find your website on SERP, then you are not going to get as many customers or dollars coming into your business.
It will take time and several trips around the board to get a monopoly. It also takes time to see the results of your content creation efforts and white hat SEO optimization.
Keep a Few Hundred Bucks on Hand
Once you have a monopoly, mortgage everything to build as many houses and hotels. However, keep some cash on hand. It is extremely bad form to get elected Chairman of the Board or land on a property and have to sell back a house to pay the rent.
Having cash on hand in monopoly is like having evergreen content already written. It is there for you when you need it. Got an important project deadline or meeting with an important client, deploy the evergreen content to keep the content flow consistent.
Get 3 Houses per property ASAP
Getting 3 houses on a property significantly boosts the amount of rent collected. For example, the rent for Illinois avenue jumps from $300 for two houses to $750 for 3 houses. The exponential increase in rent is similar to the effect of having an inbound marketing strategy working for you. Each element in the marketing mix is working together to attract visitors to your website, convert them as leads and close them as customers. You customer fans then leverage all your work to promote your brand; thus delivering higher revenues.
Investing in 3 houses will pay off in increased rents like killer content continues to draw new visitors sometimes years after it is created.