Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Targeting Your Marketing

One thing that's often overlooked when marketing a game is the need to focus your marketing. It's very easy to see a game (especially one you've created) as appealing to a wide variety of customers. Why, sure, teens would love this game! The whole family can play it! And it's educational... maybe teachers will want to use it. Certainly kids as young as 8 can play... and grandma will enjoy it, too. Perhaps that's all perfectly true, but it all gets in the way of effective marketing.

For one thing, a message designed to appeal to teens (with the sort of language, graphics, sound and style) is not likely to appeal to seniors. In fact, just the visual style of such  marketing would be enough to cause seniors to turn away and not even look at the marketing. The same is true of a marketing piece aimed at seniors. While your marketing may appear in a setting frequented by both groups, you need to pick one and target them. Forget about the other group.

What? Give up potential sales? No, not at all. If you really think your game has serious senior appeal, craft a different marketing campaign for them, and use channels where seniors will be likely to run across that message. In an extreme case, you may even want to retitle your game and change the game graphics to appeal to a different demographic.

I am reminded of an old Strategic Simulations game, Dragon Strike, which was a dragon-riding simulator (read more about it here; video here). They thought it would appeal to flight-simulator fans and D&D players, so they tried to get both of those audiences to buy the game... with the same marketing. You probably see the ending already: Neither group bought the game, and it flopped. Flight-sim fans had no interest in dragons, and no belief that a sim with a dragon could have any resemblance to the kind of gameplay they liked. D&D fans had no interest in flight sims... and there was no connection to their characters or the stories they were interested in. So neither group bought the game... the marketing went directly between those two audiences (though I suppose it might have appealed to fans who liked both types of games... too bad there didn't seem to be any significant number of those).

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