If you’re a professional marketer working in the industry you probably think you have a pretty good handle on video games marketing. You know your marketing touch points, what works, what doesn’t Maybe you are super analytical and can follow the exact life-cycle of users from curious investigative prospect to full monetized core player. Maybe you work on massive high profile campaigns with super-sides on buses and YouTube home page takeovers. You have brand guidelines and typical user profiles to help steer your campaigns to your target audiences.
And you have no idea how the game you are selling works.
Luckily there are a bunch of guys that do. You will be able to spot them pretty easily; they are the guys that don’t want to talk to you, maybe even don’t like you very much. You do after all work in Marketing….
By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. [Bill Hicks]
I am talking about video game designers/developers. They have spent months maybe even years carefully crafting, honing and perfecting a game that has probably occupied their every waking thought. It’s finished and now they have to hand over their baby to you to sell it and they most likely have no control how you do that.
Now maybe you know your industry and marketing, maybe you are even a hard core gamer yourself, but if you are going to market this new game the best way to do it is to know your product inside and out.
So who knows a game more than the people who built it?
Spend time getting to know the game designers, artists, story boarders, QA, Music technicians, animators and everyone who is hands on making the game. These are the people that really know what makes the game tick, they have spent countless hours making the navigation panes in the options work perfectly or the sound a tin can you will never need makes when you accidently knock it off a table. Can you think of anywhere else where you will find this level of in depth knowledge on a product you want to promote?
Now for any developers feeling smug at this point the door swings both ways. If you are sat in a meeting planning how monetization will work or how log-in pages should look, go find yourself someone from Marketing.
Do you have any idea how marketing will drive users to your game? No? So grab someone from marketing and involve them in the actual building of these mechanics. They may not have any idea how to build a web page or the finer points of C++ but they should be able to tell you what kind of page layout converts users quickly or how a player might arrive at your game and in what kind of mindset.
At worst they get a heads up of what kind of experience a player will have and its damn sight easier to market a game when you know what is going to happen than try to work it out and then change things later.
So if you’re a video game marketer make sure you are following game development from the earliest point possible. It will make your marketing more targeted and successful.
If you are a game developer don’t ignore marketing. Sooner or later you need to promote your game and if no one knows about it, no one is going to play it.