Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conventional Learning for Marketers

Conventions, whether they are fan shows or trade shows, are great places for marketers to perform one of their most important functions: Learning about the market. Getting the most actionable intelligence from a convention requires some preparation and some quality time at the show. (Pictured: The GenCon show.)

Set your goals. Figure out what key info you want to get from the show before you go. Distribution contacts? Sales numbers on competitors? What's the latest trend in sales?

See the show. You have to take time to walk the show floor. You'll see people you know, hopefully make some new acquaintances. When the small talk is over, go back to walking. You need to see the whole thing, at least one walkthrough. This will give you an idea of what's drawing crowds, what's not interesting to anybody, who's spent a lot of money on their booth, and who's spent their marketing dollars wisely. Make some notes of what you like and don't like, marketing-wise. Some sign struck you as unreadable? Note it. A flier really caught your eye? Grab a copy and make a note.

Inhale the trends. Get a feel for what people are talking about, what's dominating the conversations. There will usually be one or two items that always come up in a chat with someone. Try not to let your thoughts influence this; ask questions like "So what's the buzz?" or "What impressed you the most at the show?" You can always offer your opinions later. Remember the ears/mouth rule; you should listen/speak in the same ratio as the number of ears to mouths.

Competitive analysis. See what the competition is doing. Don't have any? Oh, yes you do. It may not be direct, but some products or services are competing for the dollars of your customer base. Figure out how they're connecting with customer's wallets, and then you can figure out how you're going to do a better job of that. It's marketing warfare, and you've got to scope out both the battlefield and the opponents.

If you can, have some of your other team members (or trusted friends) do the same thing, and then compare notes after the show. This info can help refine your marketing strategy.

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