Food for thought:

BlizzCon, the annual conference held by Blizzard Software to discuss their products with their customers, is happening right now. Blizzard’s conference and convention attracts fans from all over the world to ask questions, try out beta software, and give feedback about their stuff.

If you’ve ever been at any company’s product launches and reviews, you’d expect this to be a small and rather boring affair. Quite the opposite. BlizzCon attracted 26,000 customers to its fourth annual event.

When was the last social media event that attracted 26,000 people in one setting?

Here’s another twist: every attendee paid $125 (plus travel and expenses) to be at BlizzCon. People who purchased the pay per view (yes, pay per view) stream paid $40 – and there were 50,000 of them. Blizzard, from what’s effectively a product review meeting, raised $5,250,000 from its customers.

When was the last – or any – social media event that brought in that kind of cash?

Here’s the real head exploder for you: not only did Blizzard get 26,000 fans to show up for a product review, not only did it get them to pay, not only did it get another 50,000 to pay for the video stream, but the tickets for BlizzCon, when they went on sale, sold out in 56 seconds.

56 seconds.

Probably faster than it’s taken you to get to this article and read it so far.

Has there ever been a social media event that’s done that? Or any event, besides headline rock star concerts?

How, you ask, does Blizzard do it? How do they put together an event that is the envy of anyone who’s ever planned any kind of meetup or event? How do they make tens of thousands of people pay to show up not even for a commercial, but a product review and beta test, and pull millions of dollars out of the air in less than a minute?

It comes down to the same essential qualities we’ve been talking about for so long: being awesome. Blizzard’s products are nothing short of awesome, and they always have been, ever since Diablo I and Warcraft: Humans and Orcs first rolled out over a decade ago. They consistently create and produce top notch products, products that are worth talking about, products that are unbelievably high quality compared to their competitors, and that reputation and attention to care for their customers has not only earned them customer loyalty, but earned them a mountain of cash as well.

If you’re in marketing, if you’re in advertising, if you’re in media, this is the high water mark, the bar, for all of us. This is the kind of devotion that we all seek to achieve, and the lesson from Blizzard is that there aren’t any shortcuts. There’s no magic bullet, no instant potion that confers awesomeness. If you can create a decade of excellence, of being best in class or nearly best in class for what you do, then you have the opportunity to create a legacy like Blizzard.

If you are not best in class with your products, services, and media, you will never achieve this level of success. Ever. For every Blizzard Entertainment, there are thousands of game publishers that come and go all the time. If you know that your company, your products, your services aren’t best in class and you’re not fighting to get them to that level of achievement, the best you’ll ever be able to do is muster up envy of what Blizzard has done.

First and foremost, focus on being awesome. I can’t beat this dead horse often enough. Besides, I play a Death Knight in World of Warcraft, so we’ll just raise the dead as an Acherus Deathcharger and beat it some more. Focus on being awesome, because Blizzard Entertainment and BlizzCon prove that awesome is one of the most fun places you can be.


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