Breaking The Wheel

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

Video Game Marketing

Marketing: the topic everyone loves to hate! Well, don’t tell anyone I told you this, but marketing is also one of the most fundamental, and critical, aspects of an effective company. Along with finance and operations, marketing is one of the determining factors of who succeeds and who fails. Who grows and who collapses. In other words, understanding proper video game marketing will give you a significant advantage over your competitors. And that’s where I come in!

Video Game Marketing Table of Contents

Overview of Marketing Games: Sun Tzu and the Fine Art of Succeeding Before You Begin

Given the pervasive misunderstanding of what constitutes video game marketing, I’m starting the series with an overview of the field. In this post, I define marketing and clear up some common misconceptions.

Game Marketing Strategy

Before you can effectively coordinate the tactical elements of a marketing campaign, you need to establish a central, coherent strategy. This post covers the fundamental approaches to strategy (top-down or bottom-up) and provides a framework for evaluating strategic decisions (the 5-C Framework). Finally, I move to the ultimate goal of marketing strategy: establishing an optimal value proposition.

White Space Analysis: Avoiding The Commoditization Trap

One of the most fundamental concepts of marketing is the “white space”: finding the combination of attributes that makes a game stand out. And a really simple marketing exercise to find that combination is the white space analysis. This post walks you through how to conduct and interpret and such an analysis.

Video Game Market Segmentation

With a strategy in place, the next step is to select your target customers. And the first step is to break the market into segments. I explain why segments are necessary, the requirements for effective segmentation, and how to determine the optimal level of segmentation.

Buyer Persona

Once you have a notion of to whom you want to sell (via a persona), you need to understand that segment. The first step in understanding is to create a “buyer persona” – a hypothetical encapsulation of the segment in the form of an imaginary person. While the exercise seems cheesy, it’s remarkably valuable for generating a series of testable hypotheses.

Conducting Effective One-On-One Customer Interviews

It’s not enough to have hypothesized your target segment. You need to go out and find members of the segment and talk to them. But there’s an art to customer interviews. So, in this post, I provide some pointers for the most basic type of interview, the one-on-one.

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

Once you’ve refined your target market through field work, you need to estimate the revenue potential of that segment. In a major corporation, this would be up to the marketing department. But, if you’re an indie, there is still a powerful tool available to you: Facebook.

Market Positioning: The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

Perception is reality, as the saying goes. Market positioning is the act of controlling consumer perception of a product. This doesn’t mean misleading people or bending the facts. It means establishing the context in which you want your customers to consider your product. And effective positioning can make a world of difference between standing out from or getting lost in the crowd.

Marketing Communication Strategy

Before you go throw the time and expense of cutting ads for your video game, it’s important to think about the communication strategy behind the ads. And the considerations are more esoteric than you may realize.

Video Game Advertising Strategy: Ladders, Bridges, and Sniper Rifles

Making an effective ad isn’t just a matter of capturing footage and slapping it up on YouTube. The modern world is drowning in advertisements. If you want your target audience to notice and, more importantly, remember yours, you need to think through your advertising strategy.

Effectively Critiquing Your Game Advertisements

Once you have an idea for, or a treatment or cut of an ad, how do you know if it’s any good? Well, there’s a simple, reliable framework to help you: ADPLAN. In this post, I’ll walk you through the questions you should ask about an ad. I also provide an example of ADPLAN in action, using the famous Dead Island reveal trailer as a guinea pig.