5 Common Marketing Problems Faced by Small Gaming Studios
by Game Marketing Genie, on 11-Feb-2020 11:03:19
Only half of all small businesses survive past their fifth year. This is because they face difficulties that bigger, established brands often don’t have to imagine. Smaller teams, lower budgets, less to fall back on - there’s a lot that can go wrong if owners aren’t aware of the signs. So, imagine how much harder it is for small gaming studios.
If you’re a small studio, you need to ensure that you know what are some of the most common problems that your company could face or is facing. Luckily, these issues can be avoided and planned around, so let’s dive into five of the most frequent problems that small businesses face and how they can work around them to help you achieve marketing success.
1. Cash flow
In a world filled with successful companies that pump out AAA titles, most small gaming studios find that money management is one of the scariest challenges that they face. Most businesses start with limited funds and it's hard to grow them when you’re balancing employees, players, PR and more. This lack of capital is the cause of 82% of all small businesses’ closure. That’s why every brand - whether they’re new or old, big or small - needs a realistic budget and a cash flow management system.
If you’re shooting for the stars, you’re probably going to miss. So, don’t aim up there, and instead work towards something more achievable. Smaller studios have the most success when they set a reasonable budget based on small quotas and are prepared to invest their own money when needed. But you need something to manage all this, or you’ll end up losing more than you’ll gain.
Tracking your financial investments, budgets, taxes, payments and credits is crucial to ensure that your business doesn’t end up going bankrupt. You need a system that advises you when and where your money is going. Say you have a scheduled payment due. If you have a system or plan that updates you when something is due then you’ve got the basis to analyze your budget and plan for the future. Make sure you plan out your investments, track your payments and stay aware of your money’s movements to manage your cash flow year round.
2. Lack of time
If you're trying to make or launch a game, you need to commit the time to making it grow. Spending too little time on any aspect of your brand’s growth guarantees that it will not succeed.
If you don’t have any experience in running a company and handling your product's (in this case, a game) growth, you’ll need to learn quickly. Take the time to understand your industry, how to sell and finance it and how to keep a happy and cohesive workplace environment for yourself and your employees. It is the investment of this time that will ensure that you and your employees are aware of the company’s goals and workload.
This workload can become overwhelming, and you might think that you can leave tasks until later or hope that others will do them. Putting off doing things you don’t enjoy or that don’t seem important to you will get you in the end. Evaluate what your priorities for success are and work towards them. Anything else can wait. You need to create a plan for your own and your employees’ priorities to ensure your work correlates to your company’s goals. Consider outsourcing certain tasks if you’re having difficulty keeping up.
3. Finding players
There’s no point in having a game if you’ve got no one that’s interested in playing it. You need to come up with a good digital marketing strategy to attract your target audience.
First, you’ll need to decide what your ideal audience looks like. Create yourself a few key buyer personas by asking yourself the following questions:
- Will my game benefit one type of person more than another?
- What age, gender, industry, interest or demographic does my game best suit?
- What do my competitors’ audiences look like?
- Where will my marketing reach them most effectively?
- Does my game or service fulfill a need or fill a niche?
Compile this information and create three to five buyer personas which symbolize the type of people that are likely to buy from you and why they would choose you over other brands.
Once you’ve got a general idea of what kind of people would be interested in your game, you’ll need to figure out how to reach them. It is not efficient to use all advertising channels. Your audience might flourish on certain social media platforms or perhaps are more likely to use search engines to solve their problems. But how do you find this information out?
Try looking at what businesses with similar audiences are doing - do they use social media? Video streaming? Search engine ads? Investing in those areas will help you start getting the customers you need. Once you start seeing customers interacting with your business, try and tighten up your personas so you don’t waste your time and money investing in audiences that won’t invest in you.
4. Keeping up with technology
This aligns with many of the other problems small businesses face. If you’re not aware of how you could be reaching more customers, automating your processes or tracking analytics more effectively, then you’re wasting your time. Technology is increasingly becoming more innovative, automated and specific - and you’ll need to adjust to work alongside it if you want to keep up.
For instance, the ads you used last year might have worked, but will the same model work now? Chances are that the answer is no. You need to know about what the future may hold. It’s not possible to predict what’s going to be the next big thing, so you’ll have to stay on top of trends.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing, what’s happening to tech you’re already using and what your audience is interested in. Don’t be afraid to try something new, as you don’t want to be left behind. Make sure your audience isn’t going to other brands and keep ahead of the curve.
5. The right team
You want to hire the people that have the skills to create (and market!) a game that suits your brand's vision. But sometimes these people just aren’t the best fit for you.
Your staff might possess the specific skills necessary to make your game. This doesn’t mean that they embody the same values or standards that you do. Consider investing the time into training a person who may not have all the necessary skills but instead has a strong belief in your company and its future. These employees can be very strong investments in the long run and will grow with your business.
Your talent might also be inflexible. Perhaps you’ve got your eye on someone with an amazing skill set but their art doesn't suit your game's style. Maybe there’s someone else who won’t undertake tasks that aren’t directly specified in their role. As a small studio, you’ve got to balance their experience, willingness and cost against each other. You probably won’t be able to get someone who fits every facet of your company.
You need to manage your budget, expectations and needs of your game and company.
Want to learn more about digital marketing?
Digital marketing is a vast industry, and you need a strong understanding to master it. That's why we've compiled all of our best resources to create the ultimate guide to digital marketing. Check it out here: Everything You Need to Know About Video Game Digital Marketing.
Your video game studio is unique. This doesn’t mean that you won’t face the same types of problems that other brands do. Watch for signs that you're struggling and seek help where necessary.
At Game Marketing Genie, we understand how hard it is to get a small game off the ground and keep it going strong. We’ve got a team of digital marketing strategy experts, so take some weight off your shoulders and let us help you bring those customers in. We can save you time, money and make sure you stay on top of trends to keep your business at the forefront.