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Forza Motorsport and Paid vs. Organic Marketing

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In this episode of marketingXP—Forza Motorsport and Paid vs. Organic Marketing—Rachel shares how video game settings in Forza Motorsport led to a revelation about paid vs. organic marketing. Listen to the episode to get started or ramp up your marketing analysis and, if you’re looking to impress a client or executive in your life, access the PowerUp for this episode >>>

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] everybody. I’m gonna kick things off with an apology , because I’ve recorded and published out into the cosmos of podcasting six episodes of marketingXP. Now. They’re good episodes in so much as they explain marketing. But this whole endeavor started out with me wanting to mash up two things.

[00:00:32] I love marketing and I love video games. Okay. And I was like, I’m gonna bring these two worlds together. And the whole premise was hey, you know how like in a video game you get XP because you do side quests, you do the main quest, you do the story, you know, you’re, you’re trying to level yourself up.

[00:00:49] So are marketers. And so I was really like, Ooh, I’m gonna bring these two things together. The apology kicks in right here. I did not ensure that there was a lot of video game referencing and topical stuff in those first six episodes of my podcast, I got super into the weeds in the marketing.

[00:01:08] Hardly touched the video game stuff. That stops now. All right. This episode’s gonna clean the slate. People may go back and say, oh my God, the first six episodes- so boring. From here on out, very heavy on the video game references and how they correlate to marketing. Two things I love.

[00:01:30] All right, so this episode, let’s talk about the video game aspect. And I will share with you what happened this last week on the video game front.

[00:01:39] One of the games I’m playing right now is Forza Motorsport. My husband is the car driver, the car geek in the family.

[00:01:47] He was a Volkswagen mechanic for years. He’s building a rat rod right now. We purchased for him when he had Forza Five on Xbox Game Pass. We purchased him an Xbox steering wheel with pedals. So he got will really into that. My daughter and I also got into Forza Five a bit. And we’ve let it sit for a while.

[00:02:06] We have not been into it, but Forza Motorsport is available on Xbox Game Pass. And I downloaded it the other day and I was like, Ooh, I’m gonna try this. Now I’m really gonna age myself here. I loved the game Pole Position when I was young, and for those of you who don’t know what I’m referencing, it’s not something nasty like pole dancing or anything, but it is a car driving racing game.

[00:02:31] Super simplistic if you can compare it with today’s Forza, okay. But it was what we had. I loved that. I, I loved competing on that. It was an arcade game, so, you know, a car driver racing game. So I do like that stuff. I’m certainly not into the mechanics of cars, but I do like the games so.

[00:02:49] Downloaded Forza Motorsport. Now my husband hadn’t had an opportunity to play it yet, so I played it a little bit. It was really cool. Oh my God, the graphics, I can’t say enough. And I played Forza Five, as I mentioned, so I really do love, you have a pretty authentic feel. I will also tell you, my husband, actually, he has a Ford Bronco today, but he test drove that in Forza Five to get a feel of it.

[00:03:12] And he said it’s a very, you know, it’s very apples to apples with what the feeling is. Obviously you’re not in the actual Bronco. If you’re off-roading, your couch can’t replicate that. If some of you have that out there, I’d love to hear about that. Do tell. So I downloaded Forza Motorsport getting into it, and then he reminded me that we have a steering wheel.

[00:03:31] I’m like, Ooh. So. So I set it up the other day and I got about 20 minutes in and he came upstairs and he was not feeling well. He is like, all right, I wanna play now. And I like, I love that now that I’ve hooked up the steering wheel, you wanna play. I was fine with that though. I had to do some other things.

[00:03:48] I needed to take a break. So he starts playing. Now, I’ve gotten a little bit further into the game than him. But he starts playing right out the gate and you know, he’s testing stuff out and whatever, and you know, he’s, he’s just feeling things out. So then he takes a break and I get back on.

[00:04:05] Now he’s sitting there watching me playing and I’m at the point in the game, in the career, ’cause you can follow the story where you’re a driver and going through cars and races. And so he’s watching me and I am crushing it. So y’all, I’ve gotten so far where I’m like, I had placed 11th, then I’d gone up to third, and then on all the subsequent races, I was first place and I am having a ball.

[00:04:28] I’m sitting here with the steering wheel and the pedals and I’m like going through and, you know, first like two laps by the end of the, like third lap usually I am, you know, passing everybody. I’m now in first place and as long as I don’t wreck, I, and I’m rewinding a lot too, ’cause you can do that in Forza, but as long as I don’t wreck, I’m placing first.

[00:04:46] Now he’s watching this and he’s like, I’m sorry. I don’t understand what is going, why are you, why is it, it seems so easy for you. And then he is watching me and he’s watching my feet. And as I’m turning into turns, I’m basically just letting off the gas and not having to brake much. And I get through the turn just fine.

[00:05:03] And I keep accelerating. He’s like, hold on a second. He’s like, when you get done with this race, let’s look at your settings. So we did. We looked at my settings. Y’all, I was on heavy assist. I didn’t realize I was on that. I know I put some settings. I think I was on sport to start and I thought, oh, that’ll be tiny, bit more difficult than club.

[00:05:23] But no, apparently I had heavy assist on, and he’s like, oh my gosh, I totally see what’s going on now. He did not have heavy assist. He was on super light assist, very little assist going on in his settings. Whereas I was basically like, I was at the point where if I let off the gas, it was automatically braking me through a turn.

[00:05:42] Now here I sit. I’m all like, I had been thinking, I’m like, this feels a little too easy. But it’s so fun. I am not someone who gets online and plays online against other people. I go into video games as a catharsis, but I don’t wanna compete with anybody. I wanna feel good about myself and I wanna escape.

[00:06:01] Those are my goals. Okay. We’re gonna talk about goals in a little bit here too. Further down into the podcast. Those are my goals. Now he’s in there ’cause he wants to master driving and get better at it. And it’s a great game to do that with because you can get all into that and stuff like that.

[00:06:19] You can refine your skill level and it lets you do that so. That’s where we were differing, and it was very hilarious because y’all, I, I wish I was able to take a picture of his face because if you could’ve seen it, there was just this like percolating frustration of like, why are you doing so much better?

[00:06:40] I just played and it’s not this easy. Are you that good? Answer is no, and that’s okay. I’m okay with not being that good. The funny part is . I went ahead and changed my settings to be harder, and so then I start driving again. Oh my gosh. It was radically different experience. I was not scoring first or placing first.

[00:07:02] I was crashing at every turn. But I was learning a little bit as I go and I am probably gonna settle for somewhere in the middle.

[00:07:09] I’m gonna keep trying to skill up in my driving, but he and I are gonna be, have different paths with that, where I correlate this over into my other world that I love is marketing.

[00:07:21] All right. . . Now, when I speak about marketing, there’s typically kind of two camps of marketing overall . I’m not talking about different channels or different approaches, but what I am talking about is when we’re thinking of is it paid marketing or is it organic marketing?

[00:07:37] Now, when we say the word organic, that really just means, Hey, I’m gonna go publish something out onto a social media feed or a video, or on my website. I’m not gonna put any money behind it. I’m just gonna go set it out into the wild and see how it does, how it survives. All right. And see if people like it or if they don’t versus paid marketing.

[00:07:59] You can have that organic, but now you’re putting some budget behind it and you’re giving it some legs like you’re doing that assist. See where I’m going? You’re giving some heavy assist or moderate assist, but you are assisting, you’re giving a bit of carriage to that content, that marketing you’re putting out there so that it has a better chance of compelling someone into action, of converting someone into a sale, of getting someone to click on your stuff and you’re just giving it more oomph, if you will. But that’s where I’m correlating that. I think if I’m comparing Forza Motorsport to the art and craft of marketing, digital marketing specifically, Heavy Assist is your paid marketing. Hopefully the more budget you have, the heavier that assist. It’s gonna really help you out and get more mileage, yes, pun intended, out of your marketing. Versus the Light Assist or no assist is your organic marketing. So that’s the first thing I wanna point out.

[00:08:59] The second thing I wanna point out is this really boils down to how fast you want things to happen. So going back to Forza, I am there for a fun time. Okay. I, I wanna feel good about placing high.

[00:09:12] I like the experience of the driving not competing. Okay. But it does feel nice to be like, y’all remember what I said? I was at 11th place, then third, and then first it took me three races to get to first place. And then I was there every time because of heavy assist. That so much ties into marketing when you’re putting a solid paid budget behind it, you’re gonna succeed faster. You just are. You’re gonna hit goals faster. You are gonna convert people faster, more people faster. Particularly if you’re talking about companies where like, we have to grow fast, we gotta scale fast, grow fast. Startups do this a lot.

[00:09:44] Or if you’re just trying to push and stuff. If you put money behind your marketing, you’re gonna get there faster. You just are. Versus my husband, he’s doing no assist or light assist on Forza. It’s gonna take him longer to learn how to level himself up to, to hone his driving, to use the skill and build the skill to start placing higher in the races if that’s his goal.

[00:10:06] That’s how this works though, within marketing. It really does make a difference. Now, you might be watching this or listening to this, and you might be a fantastic organic marketer. You come up with freaking amazing content that compels people. I’m not gonna say yes, it goes viral all the time.

[00:10:24] Y’all. If people could do that, they don’t need a job. They’re gonna go be a gazillionaire, because that’s a hard thing to do. But you might be a fantastic organic marketer. And with your skill and just knowing when to publish stuff and what content, what copy, what visuals, all those things to put it together and piece that content together. You might be amazing and you might get comparable mileage for your brand or your goal to what someone would get with paid.

[00:10:54] It’s very few and far between though. Paid is just going to give you that much more amplitude and reach and results for your marketing goals.

[00:11:06] So my third thing I wanna talk about: Brands, I’m talking to you because I’ve worked for brands throughout my whole marketing career. And anyone else working in marketing, you either worked for a brand or you worked with them as a contractor.

[00:11:20] And what does every brand want? They want the immediate results. They want instant payoff, and the cheaper they can get it, the better they like it, right? They’re like, I wanna go viral. I actually interviewed with a founder of a startup. He needed to hire a marketing role.

[00:11:35] We had a conversation and we talked, kind of started getting into his philosophy around marketing and he’s like, well, I just don’t think you need paid. I think you can go viral purely organically. And if you can’t, then I don’t think you’re a real marketer. I’m like, well, I think we’re done talking.

[00:11:49] I was done talking about that because that is a very naive perspective to have. And his whole thing was that he said, we’re gonna go viral with organic marketing within just a few weeks. I’m like, I’m sorry? Are you gonna have someone stripped down on video camera and you’re gonna put that out into the wild?

[00:12:04] What are you planning to do to do that? I mean, that’s shock value y’all. And guess what? A lot of brands, they may think they wanna go that way. But in the end they don’t because their audience is gonna tell ’em really rapidly if that’s the kind of content that’s gonna you know, compel them.

[00:12:19] And if that’s the kind of audience they want. Is that the kind of customer that they want? Is that the kind of conversion they’re going to get? Do you just want attention or do you want revenue? Ask yourselves that, and that’s what I’m posing to brands right now. Because you can say that, oh, well, we’re gonna get everything we need out of our marketing.

[00:12:37] I’m not gonna put any budget to it. No paid anything. It’s gonna be all purely organic. That’s great. You can absolutely do that. I will tell you, you’re gonna get your results slower than if you did paid marketing, and that’s okay. If you’re okay with that, be okay with that. I just don’t want brands to have these unrealistic expectations around saying, Hey, I want 500,000 leads in two months, and no money for your marketing budget. You just do it all organically. Well, let’s see if we can do that, but I guarantee it’s gonna be a challenge. Alright.

[00:13:14] Organic marketing is hugely valuable. Because you really are relying on skill and you’re relying on content that’s gotta be good. Okay. It’s gotta be so good that it compels people without any money behind it.

[00:13:30] They’re just finding it in the feed and it’s finding its way into people’s feeds, through people’s sharing or tagging or anything like that. It’s spreading because it’s so good and that’s the kind of content all of us want. Okay. You should be striving to make content that good. Also with organic marketing, you really can cultivate community, authentic community, your fandom who really is gonna care about you without you having to have like gone on and peppered that into their feeds.

[00:13:58] They found you kind of by sheer accident and also by virtue of your audience, sharing it out with other people. If they like your content so well that they’re sharing it and giving you that, that mileage that paid marketing would give you, then that’s amazing. That’s what you want.

[00:14:15] My premise is that I think you focus on the really good organic marketing, but now do put some paid behind it because if it’s going far anyway just by dint of it being awesome, by dint of skill and will, imagine how much more you can convert if you’re putting some paid budget behind it. And I do wanna give a quick shout out to, I just talked about all that goes into organic marketing and how difficult it is to create something that good on a consistent basis. If you talk about paid marketing, demand generation experts, that is a skill unto itself too because y’all, if I go create a piece of content for a social media feed, it’s gonna be way different than what I put on a Facebook ad or an Instagram ad, or a YouTube Google search ad.

[00:15:03] It’s different. And that takes its own set of skills to be able to wield paid marketing platforms and campaign managers and all that stuff.

[00:15:11] So brands, if you’re watching or listening, if you happen to be a person who in any way is influencing your marketing team, your marketers, your content marketers, particularly if you have control over budget, I would just encourage you not to be stingy with the budget that you’re giving your marketers.

[00:15:27] Now, if you’re a nonprofit or if you’re in a budget crunch, you know, the people still freaked out about the recession. Is there gonna be one? Is it still coming? Is Covid coming back? You know, or anything like that? Everybody always wants to hold on tight to those purse strings. I’m telling you though, that if you wanna go farther faster, you need a heavy assist.

[00:15:49] Like in Forza, you need paid, you need some money, you need to put some budget behind it. But do not devalue organic marketing. Really good organic marketing because that is the stuff that even when you’re out of money, really great organic marketing is going to keep bringing people your way to help achieve the goals you wanna achieve.

[00:16:13] So back to Forza. I do plan to get back on Forza Motorsport. I’m trying to think how far I got. I got through the first three races. I cannot remember the name of that one. But I’m in the middle of the second. I think it’s a five pack of races and I am planning on maybe not doing heavy assist going forward.

[00:16:31] I think I’m actually gonna increase the difficulty just a little bit. I’m not gonna go to no difficulty ’cause remember what’s my goal? My goal in games is to enjoy myself, to find some catharsis, and to escape. And I don’t wanna compete, so I might be like, ah, I still wanna enjoy myself driving. I actually got really tempted too to go back to Forza Five because one thing I do like about that you do race in that.

[00:16:54] But I like the open world aspect of it, though to be fair, I have barely scratched the surface within Forza Motorsport. And I am playing that as a little break between playing Starfield. I’m slowly working my way through the story in there. Right now I’m basically doing the side quest where you’re posing as a pirate, as the Crimson Fleet and you’re trying to go basically tattle, you know, lie and be a mole on, on all the goings on in there. And that’s been a fun mission to do so. But yeah, I love those video games. I do gravitate more toward Xbox lately. PlayStation though. I think they just got the new Spider-Man 2 game on that, and that’s pretty cool.

[00:17:35] I have Miles Morales downloaded over there as well. Oh, and one thing cool about the PlayStation 5 that I noticed I’ve got some old discs of games that were on PS4. Oh my gosh. I had an old Tomb Raider game from PS4, and it installed within like, like 30 minutes. It was super fast, and I was able to play it, and I’m like, oh, this is great.

[00:17:56] So big props to PS5. I don’t know that I’d really tapped into the processing power it has over there, but it was pretty cool. All right, well that wraps for this apology tour episode of marketingXP. Now y’all can find marketingXP anywhere you like to listen to your favorite podcasts. . There’s already six episodes out.

[00:18:15] This will be the seventh when it comes out. Like I said, you’re gonna find that the first six are super heavy on the marketing how to, and pretty light on any video game references. And like I said, I wanted to fix that with this episode because I was like, what am I doing? This isn’t even fun.

[00:18:30] It’s not fun for me to listen to. I wanna be more interesting. If you like super educational podcasts, you’re gonna love those first six episodes. But yeah, I, I love video gaming and I had to get back to the heart of this mission which was to develop xp not just in marketing, but also in video games.

[00:18:48] So anyway, that’s been me, Rachel Moore. I will be dropping some more episodes in the future, maybe I’ll keep trying to do these live streams on TikTok and see how those go. But I’m definitely recording these. For those of you interested, I’m recording these via Descript’s new partnership with Squadcast .That may make my subscription to Riverside.FM moot if anyone’s else is into podcasting, things like that.

[00:19:10] But that might be going that direction. It’s odd because the second I started using Squadcast, I’m starting to get emails from Riverside. That’s pretty funny.

[00:19:18] So thank you all for listening. Thank you all for playing whatever game you’re playing. There will be a landing page on my website,

[00:19:29] There’s a landing page for every one of these episodes, including the transcript and comment section. Wanna hear about you from you in the comment section. Plus you’re going up on my YouTube channel, marketingXp. Alright, y’all, may you gain all the XP you want in life, whether that’s in marketing or gaming or otherwise, and I will catch you all on the next episode of marketingXP.

[00:19:54] Bye everybody.

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