Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, June 4, 2010

Booster Shots

Once upon a time, most games were fire-and-forget marketing efforts: You put all your resources into a successful launch to maximize sell-in, knowing that after a couple of months (and more recently a couple of weeks) the sales curve would drop off a cliff and the product would flatline. By, then, you would already be deep into the pre-launch preparations for the next product... or looking for a new job.

Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, games don't have to follow that sales curve. Any game can be given a booster shot of marketing and product development to keep it moving or even bring it back to a full life. This is even true of RPG books, board games, and card games. Sometimes it may require getting product development involved, which can be difficult at times. Some added sales can assuage the pain, though.

What can you do to boost sales? A little downloadable content (DLC) can work wonders. For paper games, this can be new rules, new scenarios, new character classes, or rule variants. While you can charge for this sort of thing, you need to keep in mind that your goal here is to boost sales of the core product. Providing this free DLC is adding value to the core product, which is then what your marketing will stress. "Now (unnamed game) is even better than before, with (cool added DLC)!" If you want people to act faster, make it "for a limited time only -- ACT NOW!" Maybe the DLC is priced at $9.99, but for the moment it's free... you can always keep it that way for as long as it seems to be helping sales. Remember, your DLC has only its cost of production to worry about recouping; there's almost no fulfillment costs, no inventory costs, no transaction costs.

For electronic games, DLC can of course vary depending on the nature of the game. You could just release a new version of the game with added features or content.

The key to a successful booster shot is significant added value to the game, and then getting the word out to your existing audience and to your likeliest customers. Your targets are clear, so the copy should be easy to write. And don't forget that new content is another reason to get new press coverage...

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