This week, AMA was proud to be joined by marketing professional and entrepreneur Nathan Groce, a UMD Smith alum and Director of Marketing at the American Red Cross! In an engaging presentation and interactive group activity, Nathan was able to guide AMA members in exploring the new frontiers of the digital marketing field. This exciting workshop gave members a unique inside look into nonprofit marketing through the innovative channels of live stream and gaming.
Everyone has heard of the American Red Cross, and the live streaming platform Twitch. So how do these two services come together for a great cause? Since its founding in 2011, Twitch boasts their title of most popular streaming service according to gamers in the United States. Nathan and his marketing team at the American Red Cross utilize this platform by working with social media influencers and corporate partners to advertise and fundraise for their cause, which has proven to be successful in making a positive impact.
Many nonprofit organizations continue to fundraise millions of dollars annually through live streaming technology. It is a fun and modern way to engage Generation Z and Millennials in donating, esports tournaments, corporate activations, and athletic events, so it is no surprise that digital marketing is growing exponentially in this sector. Live streaming and gaming marketing holds a competitive advantage over traditional marketing strategies. Its main strengths are that it reaches more specific consumer segments, it is highly interactive thus leading to deeper customer engagement, and it allows the ability to assess campaign data in real time and adjust accordingly faster.
Some examples of live streaming in gaming that the American Red Cross operate are live tournaments and gaming events such as Bleed to Lead, Mission Roja, and Rescue Royale. These games had a colossal impact on raising awareness to increase blood donations. One blood donation can save up to 3 lives, and since approximately 150,000 people donated because of these games, about half a million lives were saved in return! It is a win-win situation for everyone: Twitch users enjoy fun and entertaining content, and the American Red Cross attain their fundraising and advertising goals.
So, how does Nathan go about finding influencers to help make this process happen? Well, it starts with the influencers and gamers being willing to market the American Red Cross to their audiences. Nathan admits that some live streamers say no because they do not gain personal profit from giving this advertisement. There are so many streamers that say yes, however, that they have still been able to make a great impact on donations. Lots of trial and error goes into choosing streamers to reach out to, as Nathan explains, but the main strategy is to target influencers who have an affinity for charity based on their profiles and target their distinct audiences as well.
To give AMA a glimpse, Nathan's activity split members into four groups and gave a unique scenario to each. Each group worked under a set amount of time to develop their skit, script, or pitch in response to their live stream marketing prompt. The teams, all with a different demographic for their marketing strategy, had to decide the best fit for both paid media (TV, radio, billboards, etc.), and earned media (media coverage, third party reviews, etc.) given their scenario. Hearing the clever ideas from each group allowed AMA members to engage in realistic marketing experience.
It is also important to note Nathan's five examples of success strategies. The first is to build an inclusive program. Streaming is a much larger phenomenon than just gaming, it extends to the beauty, food, sports industries as well. It is to the marketers best advantage to touch on all of these areas to maximize their reach. The second strategy is to tell your why, also known as your call to action. Here, marketers convey why people should donate to their cause by creating infographics and videos and spreading them on social media. Third, embrace your community’s creativity. Live streamers and gaming influencers are good at producing creative content, so it's important to capitalize on that and use it to your advantage. Similarly, Nathan's fourth strategy is to embrace the fun of your industry. Even though there are heavy topics such as hunger or homelessness, you can create fun and engaging content that incites people to help resolve these issues. Lastly, the fifth strategy is to steward and thank your community by expressing gratitude to big brands and corporate partners for their donations. The American Red Cross actually had an Amazing Streamer Spotlight, where the donor had opportunities to be highlighted on their website and social media, taken to gaming conferences, and given merchandise.
Are you a young and enthusiastic person that is passionate about fundraising and marketing for a good cause? Then the nonprofit market is calling your name. If you are looking to break into the digital marketing and live streaming world, remember Nathan's five strategies. Nathan also recommends important steps you can take right now to gain insight on the field:
Learn the basics of the field through coursework and online seminars.
Apply for internships at companies active in the space and targeting younger demographics.
Build experience by freelancing in digital marketing roles or volunteering at a nonprofit.
Attend conferences and club meetings like AMA to hear about career opportunities.
There are plenty of ways to get involved. Check out www.redcross.org if you are interested in learning more about their organization, applying for positions, or just donating to a great cause! Thank you so much to Nathan Groce for taking the time to run this workshop with UMD AMA!
- Megan Carey