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    3 Fascinating Ways eSports Companies Market To Players With Examples

    eSports companies need to win over digital native audiences who are already inundated with distractions and attractions the moment they wake up and hold their phones to their faces – so finding inventive ways to captivate players is the main struggle in this space.

    Of course, lots of brands manage to make the most of their marketing campaigns, so learning from established strategies is better than attempting to reinvent the wheel.

    With that in mind, here are some methods that blend psychology, technology, and community in a way that breaks the traditional advertising mold.

    3 Outstanding Marketing Strategies For eSports Companies To Win Digital Market

    1. Marketing aesthetic items, e.g. skins

    When it comes to eSports, visual appeal can be almost as vital as gameplay. Exclusive aesthetic items have become a cornerstone marketing ploy for companies aiming to draw players deeper into their gaming universe. 

    Here’s how they’re doing it:

    • Exclusivity drives desire: Offering limited-edition skins creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity among players. It’s the virtual equivalent of a rare collector’s item.
    • Tools of personal expression: Skins allow players to customize their in-game appearance, thus aligning it with their personal identity within the game world.
    • Status symbols: It’s true that upgrading CS: GO skins or obtaining items from an esteemed tournament can confer status within the gaming community, signifying skill level or commitment.
    • Engagement through event tie-ins: Aligning skin releases with events keeps the hype going and ensures continuous engagement from the player base.

    The gaming skins market alone is valued at over $50 billion, so there’s lots of money to be made here, alongside the marketing potential represented by in-game cosmetics for eSports.

    2. Pursuing cross-brand collaborations

    Forging alliances with brands outside of the gaming sphere offers a portal for eSports companies to access new demographics and freshen their image. Here’s what this can involve:

    • Cross-promotion mastery: Partnerships often lead to cross-promotion, elevating both brands involved. A sneaker company might drop a limited line featuring game iconography, while an eSports tournament simultaneously promotes that brand. We’ve even seen Puma make dedicated eSports sneakers, so broad-ranging tie-ins are also possible.
    • Influencer integration: Collaborating with influencers who resonate with diverse audience segments can catapult a product or event into viral territory.
    • Lifestyle branding: Companies expand their reach by associating with lifestyle brands that appeal to a player’s identity beyond the screen. This has been pursued as a strategy by fashion brands like Lacoste and Burberry, for instance.
    • Merchandising opportunities: Leveraging the production of physical goods can heighten engagement and create tangible connections to the digital realm.

    The scale of the eSports market is alluring for potential brand partners, with revenues set to top $1.8 billion next year. This demonstrates that incorporating broader cultural elements through collaborations is economically savvy, since it gets exposure for all stakeholders, and ties into the wider expectations of modern consumer audiences.

    3 The gamification of player engagement

    It’s no secret that games are attention-grabbing by design – and gamification has been applied in the workplace as a result. But what happens when eSports companies gamify the very act of engagement? 

    The end result is even more alluring and can play out in a few of the following ways:

    • Reward-based interactions: Platforms that provide rewards for watching streams or participating in community events capitalize on the principle that rewarded behavior is repeated behavior. For instance, Blizzard is particularly savvy about this, providing cross-promotional benefits for people who get involved with its regular conventions and eSports events across titles like Hearthstone and StarCraft.
    • Interactive viewing experiences: Some companies offer interactive choices during live broadcasts, such as predicting match outcomes, which can lead to prizes or recognition.
    • Engagement through completion: Encouraging players to complete a series of tasks or challenges in exchange for exclusive content maintains interest and commitment.
    • Loyalty programs: Much like frequent flier miles, some organizations have developed point systems where fans accumulate points for engagement, redeemable for digital or physical rewards. It’s all part of wowing customers and keeping them loyal.

    These strategies have been amplified further over the past decade thanks to the rise of platforms like Twitch, where live-streamed events not only build the careers of individual players but also give brands a way to engage with a dedicated audience.

    So for eSports operators, events like Games Done Quick can tie in their brands with good causes and multimillion-dollar fundraising efforts, while also cementing the idea of gamification being advantageous even when audiences would normally have been passive.


    These eSports marketing strategies may seem like they only have an application in the context where they’ve found success, but every company can take note of what successful operators in this space have achieved. These examples serve to show what’s possible with a little ingenuity, and a lot of hard work and refinement.

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