Victoria Tran, Communications Director at indie developer and publisher Kitfox Games (Boyfriend Dungeon, Lucifer Within Us), recently posted a useful thread on the logic behind some of the company’s marketing campaigns.
So! I work on games in VERY different positions.
⚔️ Boyfriend Dungeon – new IP
📸 Pupperazzi – minimal competitors
⚒️ Dwarf Fortress – established IP
Here’s how my marketing strategies differ based on an audience’s familiarity & competitors!
Thread 👇 pic.twitter.com/rzpNhscWQM
— Victoria Tran 🌱 (skeleton edition) (@TheVTran) September 25, 2020
She roughly breaks up marketing strategies into four types. Those are based on how established or not your IP is and how saturated the niche you are targeting is.
If you are launching a brand new title, Victoria suggests focusing on “INTRODUCING players to what the game actually does.”
Boyfriend Dungeon: “Dating simulator, dungeon crawler!”
Lucifer Within Us: “Mystery timeline scrubbing mechanic”
If you are targeting a niche with relatively few competitors, you should advertise your game’s benefits and why it’s fun.
Pupperazzi: “Take photos of cute dogs and upgrade your camera”
Mondo Museum: “Put your creativity on display to curate the world’s best museum!”
If you are enteing a crowded genre that you do not dominate, you might want to focus on how your title is different and what it does better than all the others.
Hades: “Unique melding of narrative and roguelike gameplay”
Lucifer: “Be an ACTUAL detective — no QTEs, only you and the clues”
If you happen to be a market leader or are working on an established franchise, appeal to players’ feelings and nostalgia.
Use jokes that the fanbase will understand and share community stories.
The biggest takeaway here is that your marketing messaging should take into account where you are with your IP.
Being restricted by Twitter’s word count, Victoria emphasizes that the examples are not necessarily the exact phrases she would use in the actual marketing communication. However, discoverability guru Simon Carless notes that being able to describe your game in four to ten words goes a long way. “I think the ability to describe your game – even minus visuals – in that short amount of space is a key to understanding if it’s hook-y or attractive.” Carless further argues that “the act of signing or creating a game and the act of describing/hyping it” should be treated like separate tasks. Thinking about an elevator pitch and how exciting it sounds (even without showing a game to anybody) can inform game design or publishing decisions very early into a project.