At 10:00am on 4/18/2018, I attended the presentation “Marketing Your Game in 2018 and Beyond”, Presented by Logan Williams Founder of Indie Wolverine, at the 2018 East Coast Gaming Conference in At the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC.
Logan Williams of Indie Wolverine is a marketing & PR specialist in the video game industry. Logan has supported over 12 games in the span of 2 and a half years and has helped his clients earn coverage from the largest gaming publications around the world. Notable games Logan has supported are GRAV, Cosmic Trip VR, Heart Forth Alicia, Polygod, Reflex Arena and more.
More games are being released at a higher volume than ever before on the largest PC game digital distribution platform (Steam). With the mobile market and now PC games market becoming overcrowded and overly competitive, it’s feast or famine. Marketing isn’t an option and influencer marketing is no longer low-hanging fruit.
In this talk, we broke down marketing & PR in the video game industry to simple terms and begin to expand on more creative ways we can communicate the values of our games to our target market. This included ways to utilize guerilla marketing tactics and how to get the most out of our launch (Early Acess release, full release, major update etc..).
I hope to leave this talk with a new understanding of marketing and PR in the video game industry and the added creative knowledge of how to make the most of existing communication strategies.
This talk was aimed at industry newbies to professionals.
Catch the whole slide presentation at: https://www.slideshare.net/LoganWilliams2/ecgc-2018-marketing-your-game-in-2018-and-beyond
Indie Wolverine operates by default using guerilla marketing. Most customers have a few weeks until launch to gain coverage when they walk into the office.
FAILURE IS A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
Last year, their business had a large-ish failure. They worked with a VR team with Steam Early access title, and they handled the process from early release, and they were picked up by tons of attention-getting youtubers. The attention converted into sales. Sales were great and the alunch with early access went well. rather than small updates, the teams focused on 2-3month update cycles.
Due to the large success in the past, expectations were high. Kotaku noted his game was the favorite VR game to date. They felt they could reach out to positive reviewers. A 3-week pre-release note went out with reviewers and new press. The first round went out with virtually no response. The 2nd-week pre-release note got little or no responses. People were opening the email, but there was no response. The development team was stoked, but red flags were flying all over the place. As this was a first in-studio experience he could see the excitement. On launch, only niche clients responded, and sales did not meet expectations.
On the flight home, he was disgusted, felt sick to his stomach. Mitigating the risk and stress became his mission moving forward. We’ll talk about PR but its really about mitigating stress on launch.
Steam mechanics here show that in 2017, 7,700 games were released- roughly by the numbers that’s 20 new games every single day. As noted repeatedly in podcasts by the Jimquisition, having so many products available there is no way to get your product noted and its very easy to find your materials reshuffled out of sight.
This is something which is important and will always be important. These are your embassadors. They are ready and available on day 1. So have an incentive- give them a reason to buy your game. Engage that community- let them know and listen as they are an extension of your studio. Leverage that community- build the community and use that to make a following that uses the products, informs developers and community, and entices others to take part.
An incentive might be exclusive access to an exclusive build. Getting them in the door isn’t the last step, but rather the first step to building that community. Have team members amke contests, make them feel safe and valued and engaged. Leverage that community to validate the material you’re producing. Use the community to leverage merchandizing, partnerships, etc.
It can get worse. Self-published book authors might face 100,000 fiction books each year and they’re marketing on amazon. Building the community is the answer. How? Through mailing lists, connections, etc. The connected community are your footsoliders. They aren’t being paid, they’re paying you!
He used discord to build a dream community for our game descenders. WIth numerous options, they built a discord server with an exclusive release. They gave competition through team, protected channels, built community, and used the data to buildi nthe features which were used most by the community. You cannot depend on the game or mechanics. Community you can control
From the beginning of game build, you’ll have newsworthy beats for the media. Be organized. Have the ammunition and planned communication. Writers are trying to delight the reader. Give them good amunition. Be clear. Always have a clear call to action. Be clear to the media on what is new, what you’re doing, what they’ll like, where they should go, how you’d like it covered, how to contact you. This is for any communications. Have goals. What is the end goal? Organize your news feeds with a goal in mind. If the announcement gets on IGN, and you didn’t provide next steps for the readers, and the product doesn’t launch in the next month, you’ll disappear. If you have an exclusive beta on discord, include that info.
If you have a moment to shine, don’t step back and say “I’ll be back in 6 months”
the abilty to understand… Empathy and creativity aligns you for success. This is especially good when dealing with the press. they have an audience. They need great content that the audience wants to know. The bigger audience the author can leverage, the more they can command value and attention. Put yourself in the shoes of the writer. not only that, but the audience of that writer. What does the reader want and how do you get them stoked toplay/buy this. What’s your value to the publisher? what’s your value to them
Google, twitter, and easily voila norbert.
Last night in the AIRBnB, he searched for the google query only in the IGN website AND VR. Here’s the result
Finding writers who like the genre and game type you create can be found this way. Use the tools button to change the date back to certain dates (not more than a year ago). This is a great way to reach out to writers who will likely have well-received reviews. In this example, I might not choose Calum Marsh, as he have only 1.5 stars. Rather than a cold email, a twitter contact might be good- we have their email, but in this example:
You might get immediate feedback. If you want anything, ask immediately. Even if it says they won’t, ask anyway. You won’t get anything if you don’t ask.
I don’t know how it finds these email addresses, but it does! first 50 are free. You can always get another gmail account.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVITY
Dominic had roughly 2 months to lead his game. he didn’t have a website, online presence, no press kit, nothing. But, after playing the game, they chose to take it on. Barebones wouldn’t work- no press releases, and they needed a spark for the launch- some newsfeeds (3 guarantees). To take it out of the hands of the press, they needed to get creative. S-nce binding of isaac had a hug following, they chose to go for that audience. Those who played it, and LOVED IT. Since his game was so hard, it was an easy fit.
So what did we use? WordPress website, press kit, press lists, some other tools. The headline of the writer and the audience needed to match. SO what they did was choose that if you could receive a certain achievement on another super-difficult game with a massive following: Binding of Isaac (BOI), then you can have this game for free. It had to be a timed contest. Content creators, press, etc. They earned mass cover on the first day and it snowballed. They earned a ton of attention, but people who followed the influencers found out about this. They tweeted to other game developer and major content creators, and some of them picked it up
Mind Mapping For Success
The creative process through mind mapping can be visualized. They worked with a developer after the early access and launch. How could they inject that spark. THey added some materials which raised and lowered the difficulty level based on bitcoin rates. Using the advanced queries in google, they found games in FORBES magazine and website which likes video games and bitcoin. This person was able to take up the idea and really run with it. Once it rolled in FORBES, a few more places immediately picked it up.
Guerilla marketing is low cost, high risk, high reward. More often than not, that brings some nice feedback
when should you present? as soon as you’re presentable. Should niche games be the next big thing? Do what you’re passionate about. if its indy, if its the best new chess game, go for it. What if you have no specifc launch date, still show? yes, not a problem. What if lauch is approaching and you have no community? put yourself in the audinece shoes and give them what they need. get creative and think outside the box. use a simple demo. It may not be a high conversion, but it may bring coverage. Organize what you have, use it, and then extend into guerrilla tactics and target the people you genuinely believe will like it. It only takes a single reviewer to see things snowball. be thorough, find the best people and make it happen.
At 4:00pm On 3/21/18 I attended the Certiport certification lab presented by Certiport at the 2018 NCCIA Conference located at Asheville-Buncomb Technical Community College in Asheville, NC.
ESB Mastery status in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certification (ESB) Achieved!
I chose to attempt this exam because the ESB certification is built to test and validate knowledge in entrepreneurship and small business management, and as a senior partner within a design firm, as a design firm owner, and as an individual who works relentlessly with small business clients, I felt I would have a good handle on these objectives. Tested core concepts included entrepreneurship; recognizing and evaluating opportunities; planning for, starting, and operating a business; marketing and sales; and financial management.
The Official Breakdown of Subject Matter
Certiport’s official exam page for this test: ESB Certification outlines the following fundamentals will possibly be covered:
- Identify the characteristics of entrepreneurs
- Given a scenario including a self assessment outcome, identify the strengths, weaknesses, and risk tolerance the selfassessment identifies and how to compensate with services
- Given a scenario, recognize a business opportunity
- Identify the risks, benefits, opportunities, and drawbacks of being an entrepreneur
- Identify the benefits and drawbacks of different types of opportunities (e.g., start a new business, buy an existing business, and buy a franchise)
- Given a scenario, analyze the demand for the goods or service and opportunities in an environment
- Given a scenario, identify the customers or potential customers for a business
- Given a scenario, recognize a value proposition
- Identify the purposes and value of a business plan
- Identify the appropriate legal structure, benefits and drawbacks for different legal structures for a business
- Given a scenario, identify different types of licenses and regulations that are required
- Identify the benefits and drawbacks of various sources of start-up funding: Equity (friends/family, angels, venture), Debt (bank, credit cards, personal loans), and Grants (government, foundation, corporate)
- Given a scenario, identify support that is available for the business on a local, state, and federal level
- Identify the ethical practices and social responsibilities of a business
- Identify potential exit strategies for a business
- Given a scenario, identify key positions and human capital needs(including compensation and benefits)
- Given a scenario, determine whether work can be completed by the owner or whether employees or service providers are needed
- Given a scenario, identify the taxes that are required
- Given a scenario, identify intellectual property issues of trademarks, copyrights, and patents
- Given a scenario, identify standard operating procedures (e.g., setup, conduct, internal controls, separation of duties)
- Given a scenario, identify the factors that lead to sustainability
- Given a scenario, identify milestones as part of a growth strategy
- Given a scenario, develop a sales strategy and identify characteristics of a successful sale
- Given a scenario, identify and analyze the costs/benefits of finding customers/li>
- Given a scenario, identify how to retain customers and develop a relationship with repeat customers/li>
- Given a scenario, determine value and methods of communication including: web sites, brochures, social media, and advertising
- Given a scenario, interpret basic financial statements such as income statements and balance sheets
- Given a scenario, identify the factors that influence credit ratings and the importance of a positive credit rating
- Given a list of expenses, identify which are fixed versus variable
- Given a scenario, identify the factors that impact the price to the customer
- Given a scenario, identify and analyze cash flow including: accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, and debt
- Given a scenario, create a cash flow budget
- Given a scenario, identify the break-even point for the business
All in all, this test was well worth the time and effort. ESB is the first certification product in the new Certiport Business Fundamentals Certification Program, and the ESB exam is intended for use primarily in academic settings including secondary schools, vocational schools, community colleges, and technical colleges. I was to have key conceptual knowledge of entrepreneurial and small business principles, as well as real-world experience as a small business manager in order to take and pass the exam. I feel validated that the skills and knowledge I have gained working in a service and trade profession as my own boss as well as working with small businesses is recognized by a premiere training institution.
On May 4th, 2015 I achieved the Diploma in Social Media Marketing offered by Alison.com
Alison.com — Diploma in Web Business Development and Marketing Achieved!
This coursework was completed over a few days of intense study. Having a business presence on the Internet has become a necessity in today’s world. This diploma course guided me through the initial steps of setting up an online business, from choosing a web hosting account for your site through registering your domain name. The course then explored some of the essential tools in building a working business website, including HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and Adobe Dreamweaver. Also covered was information related to affiliate and e-mail marketing, as well as the use of social media marketing to help build your business. The Diploma in Web Business Development and Marketing can be seen as ideal for anyone who wants to set up a Web business but feels they need more guidance on the required skills, or for those with a desire to further their understanding of how online businesses work.
Upon completion of this course I have a greater grasp on the abilities of creating a fully functioning business website. I also feel my understanding of web design concepts such as domain name, hosting, nameservers and web editors has improved significantly. I have gained a good knowledge of images, text and the color aspects within a website, and I know how to publish to online hosting companies. I understand HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, Dreamweaver and how to index my business website successfully. I have learned of different ways to make money from an existing website, and how not to overdo it. I fell I know how to use autoresponders to automatically answer emails, and I know how to create confirmation emails and messages in AWeber. This course has introduced me to affiliate marketing and showed me how to increase traffic to my and my clients’ websites.
This year, I was selected as a Juror for the 2011 WebAwards presented by the Web Marketing Association (WMA).
WebAwards 2011 Juror: Tyler Dockery
Initially, I opened my own WebAward nominating account, receiving this message:
Thank you for creating a WebAward Nominators Account. This account is going to be your portal to the WebAward competition. Here you will receive news regarding the awards only provided to participants. You will be able to see the current status of your entries and edit them if necessary until the beginning of judging. In addition you have valuable tools to help market your award if you win.
However, after nominating several websites and filling out my profile, I was contacted by several members of the WMA. Their phone messages were short and sweet, suggesting that my personal work, website, and career path would make me an excellent judge in this juried competition. I accepted their proposal, and subsequent invitation.
In this competition, I judged many, many applicants. In the final round, I judged 18 applicants. This was a fantastic competition, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating and representing both Wake Tech Community College and Dockery Design.
Winners should be available: September 2011