What These Digital Heroes Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing

Tennager playing a video game
When Pong became the first truly successful video game in the 1970s, few could have expected the video game boom that would exist 40 years later. These days, blockbuster games cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, and their marketing budgets are just as high — if not considerably higher.

This got us thinking about a simpler time, when games didn't rival Hollywood hits in budget or revenue. Here are some of our favorite iconic digital heroes of the '80s and '90s and what they've taught us about digital marketing in the 21st century.


Mario is arguably the most well-known video game character in the world, which is amazing considering his first appearance was in the game named for his nemesis, Donkey Kong. But whether he was hopping over Donkey Kong's barrels or facing a never-ending swarm of Koopas, Mario always kept his focus on his ultimate goal: saving the princess.

Just as Mario never lost sight of his goal, you need to keep you digital marketing strategy focused to deliver a consistent message. It's easy to think you need to be involved in all of the social media platforms in today's digital world, but when you chase every digital bell and whistle, your message can end up seeming fragmented. Aim your digital marketing at one consistent goal, and leads will come.


Sonic the Hedgehog was a heavyweight contender from the start, going toe to toe with Mario to win the hearts and minds of children in the 1990s. With his bright colors and never-slow-down style, it's easy to see why Sonic was a favorite of many.

Much like Sonic, today's consumers have a go-go-go attitude — so it should come as no surprise that they want things on the go. Mobile internet usage exceeded desktop usage for the first time in 2014, and it showed in the way consumers preferred to use mobile devices when online shopping. Make sure your website is mobile ready and can be navigated on small screens. A non-responsive site might push your prospects to your competitors' websites.


To today's video gamers, navigating a repetitive maze and gobbling up tiny dots might seem dull, but in the '80s and '90s Pac-Man was arguably the king of the arcade. The menacing ghosts really ratcheted up the intensity, especially as you got deeper into the game. The only way Pac-Man could defeat the ghosts was by chomping up some big dots; so of course, those were always sought after.

Pac-Man's food of choice is a bit like search terms. There are thousands you can use (small dots), but only the really good ones (big dots) are worth your time. Pac-Man has it easy since he can see which dots are the biggest and thus most advantageous. But as a marketer, you have to do research to optimize search terms and find which ones work best. A program that tracks online-to-offline conversions can help you sniff out the big dots.

For more tips on improving your digital marketing, check out this infographic.