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The importance of Marketing

03-03-2010, 06:22 PM
#1
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Santa Clara, California
Posts: 22
The importance of Marketing

I've noticed a general increased trend in the number of topics about marketing our games. In general, as a community of developers, it seems that we are all collectively coming to the same conclusion: having a kick-ass App is no good if no one knows about it. Threads about companies that offering marketing services generally seem to be frowned upon here (posting guidelines, I'm looking at you).

So here's my question: does it make sense to have a separate forum section devoted to marketing Apps and discussing the various services available (perhaps a sub-forum of "Developer Services and Trade"? As a new developer, I know that I would find this information very useful.

Thoughts?
03-03-2010, 08:16 PM
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stook View Post
I've noticed a general increased trend in the number of topics about marketing our games. In general, as a community of developers, it seems that we are all collectively coming to the same conclusion: having a kick-ass App is no good if no one knows about it. Threads about companies that offering marketing services generally seem to be frowned upon here (posting guidelines, I'm looking at you).

So here's my question: does it make sense to have a separate forum section devoted to marketing Apps and discussing the various services available (perhaps a sub-forum of "Developer Services and Trade"? As a new developer, I know that I would find this information very useful.

Thoughts?
I will be honest: I think marketing services for iPhone apps are a scam. It is my opinion that eliminating these so-called services from this forum is probably a good thing.

A marketing service is not a publisher. A publisher can actually be a positive influence in the industry; a marketing service is nothing but a regurgitative spamming machine. Where a publisher will focus on quality, a marketing service focuses on quantity to make its profit.

Do we need a separate marketing forum? I don't think so. This developer forum covers a lot of topics, and as you stated, certain trends seem to be on the rise. This isn't saying that marketing is more important than it used to be, it is just an acknowledgement that standard marketing practices do not work (which is another reason marketing services are a scam).

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

03-03-2010, 10:47 PM
#3
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Santa Clara, California
Posts: 22
I understand where you are coming from, but I'm still not sure why you think that companies working to develop marketing solutions for iPhone developers are either ineffectual, or scams. Are you suggesting that any company that promotes your App, or provides additional visibility is simply out to make a quick buck? Do you think the banner ads on sites such as TA are scams?

Most of us are indie developers, technically or artistically inclined, and (for the most part) naive in the ways of selling a product. We need to grow up and realize that this is a business. We can't continue relying on basic marketing techniques such as lite versions, or hope and pray that we will luck out and become the next Doodle whatever. We need a place where we can share ideas and strategies for making the App Store landscape more than a billboard top 100 chart where the top 2% survive.

On a side note, coming from the wider game industry, I have to disagree with you that publishers are a "positive influence in the industry". To easily do you become a slave to them, and too often do they work to stifle creativity.
03-04-2010, 04:07 AM
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stook View Post
I understand where you are coming from, but I'm still not sure why you think that companies working to develop marketing solutions for iPhone developers are either ineffectual, or scams. Are you suggesting that any company that promotes your App, or provides additional visibility is simply out to make a quick buck? Do you think the banner ads on sites such as TA are scams?

Most of us are indie developers, technically or artistically inclined, and (for the most part) naive in the ways of selling a product. We need to grow up and realize that this is a business. We can't continue relying on basic marketing techniques such as lite versions, or hope and pray that we will luck out and become the next Doodle whatever. We need a place where we can share ideas and strategies for making the App Store landscape more than a billboard top 100 chart where the top 2% survive.

On a side note, coming from the wider game industry, I have to disagree with you that publishers are a "positive influence in the industry". To easily do you become a slave to them, and too often do they work to stifle creativity.
Banner ads do not work. Banner ads do not generate sales. I really don't know how many times I need to say this. There are a whole lot of other things that need to be in place waaaaay before banner ads are considered.

Banner ads are used for branding, and they are virtually the final step in the branding process.

I think you chose a very poor example to make your point. Yes, there are 'marketing services' out there that are nothing more than a front to get you to buy banner ads through their associates. There are marketing services out there that will nickel and dime you to death, and the developer will see ZERO benefit.

The problem is, the developers are not educated in marketing. Developers get notoriously panicky when it comes to poor sales. Developers are willing to do absolutely anything, and I mean this literally, in order to gain a glimmer of hope.

There are hundreds of people out there willing to take advantage of your situation.

My ex-wife was/is a brilliant marketing person, capable of rolling multi-million dollar accounts and negotiating six-figure employee salaries. I'm not a stranger to how marketing does and doesn't work, nor am I ignorant of marketing-person speak; I lived with it for 10 years. This doesn't make me qualified as a marketing strategist, however I do understand aspects that many other developers don't.

I said a publisher CAN be a positive influence on the industry. A lot of indies carry the illusion that they can do whatever the hell they want, and somehow, they still expect the sales to come rolling in by the truckloads. No industry in the world works like that.

There is a difference between creativity and recklessness. There is a difference between artistic license and laziness. There is a difference between innovation and 'really stupid ideas'. Sometimes these lines are blurred, and we can't tell the difference.

What is creativity? We work within the confines of a system that threatens our creativity. We are restricted by hardware, software, approval process and even our own abilities- a publisher is the least of our concerns. Whether a developer decides to use a publisher is entirely up to them, I do not think anything less of developers that choose to go that route. A publisher provides a certain amount of direction: in order to effectively sell a product, the publisher needs to be able to sink its teeth into an idea.

In general this is simply good advice from the publishers: create an idea that the general public can sink its teeth into.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

Last edited by Flickitty; 03-04-2010 at 04:10 AM.
03-04-2010, 06:13 PM
#5
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 5,305
I've said this before as well...advertising doesn't work, especially not by itself. I've talked about this before, but you need to be planning your marketing strategy and tactics way before you even launch your game. Without regurgitating everything, you need to make decisions on videos/screenshots, community development (blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.), site reviews and promos. Marketing needs to take place before, during and after your game launch. What you do before the launch is probably the most important part of it all. There isn't a tried and true approach, but a variety of marketing tools are available. Advertising plays a very small part in generating sales, and if you're relying solely on ad banners, you're doomed...guaranteed.

More importantly, develop a week-by-week plan that details activities similar to what you would do on the development front and meet those deadlines. Start treating marketing as a significant part of your business rather than as an afterthought. Treat all of this as a marathon and not a sprint.

Are there any guarantees? Of course not. Your game and the value of your game determines the degree of success. Marketing is intended to help you maximize that success.
03-04-2010, 09:38 PM
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Albie View Post
I've said this before as well...advertising doesn't work, especially not by itself. I've talked about this before, but you need to be planning your marketing strategy and tactics way before you even launch your game. Without regurgitating everything, you need to make decisions on videos/screenshots, community development (blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.), site reviews and promos. Marketing needs to take place before, during and after your game launch. What you do before the launch is probably the most important part of it all. There isn't a tried and true approach, but a variety of marketing tools are available. Advertising plays a very small part in generating sales, and if you're relying solely on ad banners, you're doomed...guaranteed.

More importantly, develop a week-by-week plan that details activities similar to what you would do on the development front and meet those deadlines. Start treating marketing as a significant part of your business rather than as an afterthought. Treat all of this as a marathon and not a sprint.

Are there any guarantees? Of course not. Your game and the value of your game determines the degree of success. Marketing is intended to help you maximize that success.
I would definitely agree that pre-launch promotion is the singlemost important thing a developer can do. You have a very narrow window at launch to make an impact, and you need to have everything in order when that hits.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone