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Marketing Second Life: We Can Do Better


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So these are apparently the kinds of images of that Linden Lab is now using to represent Second Life in advertisements to an uninitiated audience.

SL-Adverts.jpg

(Images courtesy of Jo Yardley and Botqirl Questi)

To be clear, I know that there is SLex in Second Life, and that many people either come to this platform expressly to form romantic attachments, or stumble upon them by accident. And I am absolutely fine with that.

But does this really represent the full potential of Second Life? And is this approach -- presenting SL as a kind of upscale IMVU -- really the best way to re-awaken interest in virtual worlds, and in this platform in particular?

One could spend a great deal of time analysing these images, and discussing the implications of their messages. I think many of us would echo Jo Yardley's thoughts on this:

This advertisement tells me that SL is not for me, that I do not want my family members to ever hear about it, that if my friends told me they were into SL, I’d be embarrassed to know them. (Jo Yardley's Second Life)

But it might be more constructive if those who know Second Life intimately, and understand what it was that attracted them, and keeps them here, provided some guidance to Linden Lab's poor benighted Marketing Dept.

So I'm looking for suggestions to Linden Lab on how to best market Second Life. It would be great to see some real, concrete suggestions as to how Second Life should be represented to the world. 

Suggestions, examples, and even mock-ups are welcome!

Let's show LL that we can do better than this!

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I'll get things started. 

Most of the advertisements for Second Life I've seen, or the suggested approaches to marketing it, have revolved around the avatar. I think that, to some extent, makes sense.

What about, however, focusing instead more upon the beauty of the environments that residents have created? What about featuring some of the astonishing art and sims that exist to be seen? It's an approach that could also be used to demonstrate how far Second Life's graphics have come in the past 5 years.

Personally, when i come into SL, I want to go places and see things. Yes, I dress up my avatar, buy new hair, etc. But were this just a 3D paper doll app, I wouldn't have come here, and I certainly still wouldn't be here.

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I would never venture a guess as to why others came into SL.  When I signed up, I had never heard of it before.  I wasn't aware of any kind of reputation bad or good.  I had never heard of SLex.  I simply clicked on an ad I saw at random that said something about meeting people from all over the world, expanding my horizons, a place to for being creative and learning new things or something like that.  It has been a few years...

I am probably not a good example of the average SL user (if there is such a thing), but that ad worked.  I live in a very small, isolated town, so chatting with people from other places, having a world to explore and learning a new skill sounded good to me.  I worked at home at the time, so it seemed like a fun little escape.  It still is all that for me except I work out of the house now.

If those are the only 2 pics they use in their ads, they are appealing to a very specific market.  SL is much broader than that.  If they want to advertise, they should target an audience.   A different picture might work for gamers, something else for the stay-at-home mom, a little something for the retiree, another for the creative builders or scripters we need here, something for the academic.  Those pics would not have appealed to me.  I was not looking to befriend Biff and Buffy.  I wanted an adventure, an escape that was different than real life.

An ad campaign should encompass a broader audience.

But what do I know?  Maybe Biff and Buffy are the only ones with money to spend...

 

 

Edited because I couldn't form an actual sentence...

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I don't think shifting the focus from the avatar is the right idea. Our avatars represent us and in a great many cases very nearly ARE us. Not so much in how they look but in how we respond when we are inside our avatars. For a great many of us (you included, I'm certain) the great draw of Second Life is the social interaction. That being said....

Why couldn't the picture of the guy and girl show them in one of those cool motorboats in the Grand Canyon sim? Or if full-on romance is what they were pushing, why not dancing in one of the several formal dance clubs, and with a bunch of other people in the picture? That doesn't have to be staged—that actually happens, every day! Anyone with an ounce of artistic ability could stage any number of romantic scenes in one of the dance clubs, from 'across a crowded floor' to 'I could have danced all night'. And in fact they'd really BE representative of what happens here, or can happen here. You could even just do a few shots in a place like the [irish club that's named after that silly rock: I had typed the actual name but realized it might be agin the rules], to make clear that anyone can come here and just.....enjoy. Learn. Become part of the madness. However it's done, I think advertising the social connection is a good idea.

I'm not a social networker. No Twitter, no FB, no Linkedin (sp?). The social connection is definitely not why I came here. But it is without question why I won't leave. If it could drive a nail through me, it can probably do so with others. I don't think it should be ignored.

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i think that the ads should say things like

loser? fat and ugly? socially awkward? handicapped? tongue-tied confronted by the opposite sex?

come to second life where none of these things matter and you can get laid if you can cut and paste dialogue from women's magazines

 

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:


MizzFuzzyMoran wrote:

loser? fat and ugly? socially awkward? handicapped? tongue-tied confronted by the opposite sex?

/me clutches his pearls

How dare you refer to me as tongue-tied when confronted by the opposite sex? :matte-motes-silly:

...Dres

i delibrately said sex not gender

 

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I normally fire this in LL's direction but before something can be successfully marketed, the target audience needs to be defined.

Before throwing out images of "cool stuff" in SL, who do you believe is the best target market?  Avoid a shot gun approach of "SL is this to some, that to others, bit of something else" as that can be confusing leaving people still wondering what *is* SL and why they'd sign up.

Recap:-

Educational establishments - cancelled

Teens - cancelled

Businesses - cancelled

Adult - swept under the carpet


So, if you were LL at this point, who's the target customer and why would they come? 

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If you look who invested most into Second Life, it's not Linden Lab. If you look who would benefit most from new clients, it's not Linden Lab. The answer to both questions is, The Clients.

So from that perspective, who should be most responsible for Advertising? It's the clients.

There are not many client initiatives when it comes to Marketing and Advertising and I'm kinda surprised by that. Perhaps the step to do so is too big.

There should be a client driven initiative that Linden Lab could support and help. Some sort of platform where clients pay to get their ads shown outside Second Life so that new clients would go to those places and spend their money there.

I also have a dream where Second Life can be used as a Games Platform. People that try that would not know they are using Second Life. But tI guess that would be too complicated.

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Cinnamon Mistwood wrote:

I would never venture a guess as to why others came into SL.  When I signed up, I had never heard of it before.  I wasn't aware of any kind of reputation bad or good.  I had never heard of SLex.  I simply clicked on an ad I saw at random that said something about meeting people from all over the world, expanding my horizons, a place to for being creative and learning new things or something like that.  It has been a few years...

I am probably not a good example of the average SL user (if there is such a thing), but that ad worked.  I live in a very small, isolated town, so chatting with people from other places, having a world to explore and learning a new skill sounded good to me.  I worked at home at the time, so it seemed like a fun little escape.  It still is all that for me except I work out of the house now.

If those are the only 2 pics they use in their ads, they are appealing to a very specific market.  SL is much broader than that.  If they want to advertise, they should target an audience.   A different picture might work for gamers, something else for the stay-at-home mom, a little something for the retiree, another for the creative builders or scripters we need here, something for the academic.  Those pics would not have appealed to me.  I was not looking to befriend Biff and Buffy.  I wanted an adventure, an escape that was different than real life.

An ad campaign should encompass a broader audience.

But what do I know?  Maybe Biff and Buffy are the only ones with money to spend...

 

 

Edited because I couldn't form an actual sentence...

This is nicely put, Cinn . . . and I think that your experience, and reasons for joining (and staying), are probably fairly common ones.

I certainly agree that SL should be appealing to a broader audience, and I think that the mistake that they may be making is in trying to identify "niches." Ads that just appeal to the social media set, younger users, those looking for relationships, those interested in art, etc. are all going to be inadequate because they erase the diversity of the Second Life experience.

And maybe that's the question: how does one capture that "diversity" in one or three advertisements?

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Dillon Levenque wrote:

I don't think shifting the focus from the avatar is the right idea. Our avatars represent us and in a great many cases very nearly ARE us. Not so much in how they look but in how we respond when we are inside our avatars. For a great many of us (you included, I'm certain) the great draw of Second Life is the social interaction. That being said....

Why couldn't the picture of the guy and girl show them in one of those cool motorboats in the Grand Canyon sim? Or if full-on romance is what they were pushing, why not dancing in one of the several formal dance clubs, and with a bunch of other people in the picture?
That doesn't have to be staged—that actually happens, every day! Anyone with an ounce of artistic ability could stage any number of romantic scenes in one of the dance clubs, from 'across a crowded floor' to 'I could have danced all night'. And in fact they'd really BE representative of what happens here, or can happen here. You could even just do a few shots in a place like the [irish club that's named after that silly rock: I had typed the actual name but realized it might be agin the rules], to make clear that anyone can come here and just.....enjoy. Learn. Become part of the madness. However it's done, I think advertising the social connection is a good idea.

I'm not a social networker. No Twitter, no FB, no Linkedin (sp?). The social connection is definitely not why I came here. But it is without question why I won't leave. If it could drive a nail through me, it can probably do so with others. I don't think it should be ignored.

Excellent! This is sort of what I was thinking.

It should be possible to suggest social connection and even romance within the context of amazing content and virtual environments? Show a couple (do they have to be a heteronormative couple all the time?) being amazed by an art sim, or dancing at a live music concert, or parajumping from the top of the Eiffel Tower!

It should be possible to appeal to several demographics all at once, right? And most people do experience SL as a diverse experience: they aren't only going to dance clubs, or only going to art sims!

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MizzFuzzyMoran wrote:

i think that the ads should say things like

loser? fat and ugly? socially awkward? handicapped? tongue-tied confronted by the opposite sex?

come to second life where none of these things matter and you can get laid if you can cut and paste dialogue from women's magazines

 

Or we can imagine a new advertising slogan:

"Second Life: Land of the Free Disposable Avatar, and Home of the Troll!"

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:


MizzFuzzyMoran wrote:

loser? fat and ugly? socially awkward? handicapped? tongue-tied confronted by the opposite sex?

/me clutches his pearls

How dare you refer to me as tongue-tied when confronted by the opposite sex? :matte-motes-silly:

...Dres

Don't listent to him . . . er, her, Dres.

S/he doesn't know you like we do.

(Are they nice pearls? Where'd you get them? Can you post a pic?)

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Sassy Romano wrote:

I normally fire this in LL's direction but before something can be successfully marketed, the target audience needs to be defined.

Before throwing out images of "cool stuff" in SL, who do you believe is the best target market?  Avoid a shot gun approach of "SL is this to some, that to others, bit of something else" as that can be confusing leaving people still wondering what *is* SL and why they'd sign up.

 

Maybe . . . I'm not so sure.

The problem with "target audiences," if by that you mean "niche" audiences, is that while they may draw more of that audience to the place, they can actually work to exclude others.

This is the problem with the current marketing campaign: had my initial exposure to SL been what these two ads communicate, I would not be here now. It's not merely that they don't appeal to me: they are a turn-off. So you need something, even if it is relatively narrow, that is still in some sense "inclusive."

The other question is, as you note, identifying a target. Do you want to appeal to a demographic that you know already comes here, or to a new audience that might find the place appealing, but don't know enough about it, or that have been turned-off by SL's reputation (and past marketing)?

Is playing up the 'relationships" and "slex" side of things really achieving much? This is what people already think when they think of SL. Why preach to the converted?

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MizzFuzzyMoran wrote:


LaskyaClaren wrote:

 

Or we can imagine a new advertising slogan:

"Second Life: Land of the Free Disposable Avatar, and Home of the Troll!"

if itincreeses the numbers they can show investors waht do they care

 

Oh well then . . . carry on, right?

(And if might just repeat something I've already said to Derek: I do the dumb blondes around here, ok? All the rest of you are just second-rate imitators.)

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Sassy Romano wrote:

Ok, so substantiate the reason why.  Facebook and SL are VERY different from each other. 

Define the target market with concrete reasons as to why they're the target market.

Um. You're being trolled?

(Another way that SL is different from FB!)

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This from someone called "Pep" on my feed:

As an aside, the main problem that LL has in marketing SL is the fragmentation of the "Community". Pep (No, you can't effectively target with a blunderbuss -
but it is ridiculous that in an age of personalisation that LL doesn't run a multiplicity of tailored campaigns.
)

YES!!!

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LaskyaClaren wrote:


Sassy Romano wrote:

Ok, so substantiate the reason why.  Facebook and SL are VERY different from each other. 

Define the target market with concrete reasons as to why they're the target market.

Um. You're being trolled?

(Another way that SL is different from FB!)

i think that vidio rases some intresting ishues

its from the onion

 

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MizzFuzzyMoran wrote:


LaskyaClaren wrote:


Sassy Romano wrote:

Ok, so substantiate the reason why.  Facebook and SL are VERY different from each other. 

Define the target market with concrete reasons as to why they're the target market.

Um. You're being trolled?

(Another way that SL is different from FB!)

i think that vidio rases some intresting ishues

its from the onion

 

Oh, if only you were more like "Pep," who has some REAL contributions to make to this discussion!

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LaskyaClaren wrote:

This from someone called "Pep" on my feed:
As an aside, the main problem that LL has in marketing SL is the fragmentation of the "Community". Pep (No, you can't effectively target with a blunderbuss -
but it is ridiculous that in an age of personalisation that LL doesn't run a multiplicity of tailored campaigns.
)

YES!!!

can you ask that pep guy to use some shorter werds so the rest of us can understand waht hes saying

[That request was relayed via me from the offices of LL's PR and Marketing Department]

 

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Vick Forcella wrote:

If you look who invested most into Second Life, it's not Linden Lab. If you look who would benefit most from new clients, it's not Linden Lab. The answer to both questions is, The Clients.

So from that perspective, who should be most responsible for Advertising? It's the clients.

There are not many client initiatives when it comes to Marketing and Advertising and I'm kinda surprised by that. Perhaps the step to do so is too big.

There should be a client driven initiative that Linden Lab could support and help. Some sort of platform where clients pay to get their ads shown outside Second Life so that new clients would go to those places and spend their money there.

I LOVE this idea!! Why on earth not?

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