Could You Be Reaching More Customers?
Going out into your community to promote your store is an important move for specialty retailers. Schools, movie theaters, even church groups—community hubs like these can help you connect with folks who are gamer-adjacent, or even people who are completely outside gaming culture.
But is targeting non-gamers a good use of your resources? Won't you get a better conversion rate by targeting existing gamers, since they're already familiar with your services? And won't the lifetime value be higher, since they're more invested in the culture?
Before you jump to those conclusions, consider:
1. They're likely to stick with you.
Our in-store play data show that players are not very migratory. They tend to stay where they started, and if they leave their LGS, they've probably left the Magic ecosystem entirely—at least for a while. So, once you’ve secured a new customer, chances are they’re yours for the long haul.
But note that the reverse is also true: if a player is already a member of another store's community, they're not likely to become a member of yours. Meanwhile, non-gamers—the type of folks you might reach at a movie theater or a library—are unaligned.
So the notion that you'll get a better conversion rate with existing gamers doesn't really track, since it's tough to pull gamers away from their LGS. And even if it were easy, there's a case to be made that non-gamers represent the greater reward anyway:
2. They represent better expected value.
If you play Magic, you've probably done at least some basic expected value analysis. It's a kind of return-on-investment calculus gamers do to figure out which players are "correct" mathematically. The idea is, even if a decision has a low success rate, it's still worth it in the long run if the reward is high enough.
Let's do a quick thought experiment to investigate the expected value of marketing to non-gamers.
Say you're in a medium-sized U.S. city of about 40,000 people. The neighboring store's community is sixty players deep. Let's be optimistic and say that if you target those players, and you can win twenty percent of them over. That's twelve players.
Now imagine you put those same resources into marketing out in your community—libraries, movie theaters, and so on. We'll be pessimistic and say you connect with 500 people. At a conversion rate of just three percent, that's fifteen players—a worse conversion rate, but a better reward.
Now imagine you convert five percent. Seven percent. Ten.
You get the idea. Non-gamers represent the greater reward, simply because there are more of them.
But of course there's a missing variable: how much will each group spend in the long run? There's reason to believe that there, too, non-gamers come out ahead.
3. They may spend more.
This is mostly relevant to "outreach" in the traditional sense—things like charity events, volunteering, and so on. A Harvard Law study found that community outreach leads to, among other things, a willingness to purchase at a higher cost.
It doesn't necessarily follow that customers acquired through outreach will have greater lifetime value—just that there's a connection between your behavior as a community member and the perceived value of your services. Customers naturally associate greater social responsibility with greater value.
The point is, potential customers are everywhere. Not everybody is a gamer, but everybody games.
So try new things. Step out of your traditional comfort zones. Getting those new customers is the best way to build your community.