Breaking The Wheel

Marketing

An image of Facebook's ad campaign interface which can be used to estimate the upside of a market segment

Video Game Market Potential: How To Quantify Your Odds of Success

Once you’ve drilled down into your target segment and tested some of your assumptions, you now need to quantify whether that segment can be profitable. If you work for a major publisher, you have access to a professional marketing department that does this sort of thing for a living. But if you don’t, you’re not out of luck. You have an amazing tool at your disposal for free: Facebook.

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A picture of a question mark, because customer interviews involve questions. Get it?

Customer Interviews: Conducting Effective One-On-Ones

Henry Ford once famously said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” More recently, Steve Jobs said “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” What these quotes are really getting at is the danger of interview-driven design. If you ask people what they want, they’ll just say “faster, better, cheaper.” And creating new products is YOUR job, not your customers’. It’s unreasonable to expect customers to tell you what products to make. Imagining completely new products is not their in their skillset.

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A picture of our hypothetical buyer persona, Rita Roleplayer

Buyer Persona: Identifying Your Hypothetical Player

Once you have identified a target segment, your next step is to learn as much about that segment as you can. But how do you even know where to look? The first step is to imagine a person who embodies that segment, in the form of a buyer persona.

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Example diagram of video game market segmentation

Video Game Market Segmentation

One of Sun Tzu’s most quotable lines from The Art of War is “Know thy enemy and know thyself and in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.” And while you should never think of customers as the “enemy,” it’s still crucial to understand them in order to wage a successful marketing campaign. Understanding your customer means figuring out who they are, what their needs are and how you can serve those needs. And the first step in that journey is video game market segmentation.

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The leadership team of SHAEF from WWII, an image relevant to marketing strategy

Game Marketing Strategy: Mapping Out Your Path to Success

Sun Tzu once said “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.” In order for your tactical marketing decisions to be effective, they need to be coordinated around a central strategy. Your strategy is your guiding light for more than just ads. It impacts your target customers, your choice of platform and publisher, and how you respond to competition. In this post, I’ll walk you through the fundamentals of establishing a video game marketing strategy.

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A picture of Sun Tzu's the Art of War, which, it turns out, is an amazing book about marketing.

Marketing Games: Sun Tzu And The Fine Art of Succeeding Before You Begin

Marketing games. Some people consider it a necessary evil at best.  At worst, it’s the root of all of the industry’s ills. But what is marketing? The problem is that most people don’t know – and don’t realize they don’t know. And if you don’t know what it is, you can’t effectively develop a marketing strategy or manage the people who do so. You can’t ask your marketing department the right questions if you don’t know what the right questions are. So, before we dive into the functional aspects of marketing, let’s formalize our understanding of the field.

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Sunk-Costs and Ugly Babies: On The Value of The Scientific Method – Game Planning With Science! Part 8 Featured Image

Sunk-Costs and Ugly Babies: On The Value of The Scientific Method – Game Planning With Science! Part 8

It struck me one day that “Game Planing With Science” has a glaring omission: the value of scrapping a plan. The goal of “Game Planning With Science” is to forecast, not predict. It’s to estimate and understand, but not to codify. You can’t codify the creative process, or the future for that matter. Just as important is the fact that life doesn’t care about your plans. Reality is going to be what it’s going to be. You can’t change reality to fit your plan, so modifying your plan to fit reality is the only path forward. As Dwight Eisenhower, one of the most immensely quotable people ever, once said, “Plans are useless, but planning is everything.”

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A picture of a menagerie of animals

Monday Menagerie: Sept 26th Edition

In “Monday Menagerie” I share the most interesting articles I’ve seen around the interwebnets. This week: the two simple questions you should be asking (but probably aren’t), the four signs that outsourcing can be your best friend, and the one biggest secret to making great hires.

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A image of Marie Curie in an mobile x-ray unit

5 Vital Business Principles in the Form of Pithy Quotes

I. Love. Aphorisms. Sure some are pure hogwash. But the really good ones convey a lot of truth in a small space. In this post, I gathered 5 of my favorite quotes, and explain how they relate to effective management.

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A diagram of Porter's Five Forces Analysis

Five-Forces Analysis has Grim Tidings for Free-To-Play on Mobile

This post about five forces analysis originally appeared on my old blog and Gamasutra. I find that it’s as relevant today as it was then. Mobile is still a hot bed of both independent and publisher-backed development. And for good reason. There is a massive addressable market and mobile devices have high user engagement. Mobile also supports smaller test launches and rapid iteration, meaning that developers and publishers can treat mobile games less like products and more like businesses. Add to that the lack of any marginal production or distribution costs, and you have a super-sexy platform. And that’s exactly the problem. Mobile is so attractive and so accessible that the market place is perhaps the purest example of “perfect competition”, the yin to a monopoly’s yang.

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