How To Choose the Right Video Game Marketing Company
by Game Marketing Genie, on 13-Jul-2018 10:45:26
Even though it is a necessity in today’s market, creating a game marketing strategy may seem unnatural to you if you are a mobile game developer. Luckily, you don’t need to do all the hard work yourself, as you can employ the services of a mobile game marketing agency who understands the market and knows the right strategies to get your game in front of the right people.
In an article outlining Essential Tips on Choosing the Right Marketing Agency for Your Business, Forbes Agency Council stated that, “Choosing the right marketing agency to work with your business is as important as picking the right partner. They need to be a good fit and mesh with your personality. They need to see your company vision and be able to execute your ideas with ease.”
In an ideal world, finding the perfect game marketing agency would be as easy as 1,2,3, but unfortunately it can be hard to find the right game marketing company that understands you, your game, knows exactly how to take the bull by the horns and make your user numbers increase in a reasonable amount of time. As Sajeel Qureshi points out on the Huffington Post, “Self-proclaimed ‘experts’ are everywhere, but you don’t know where to turn or which agency is the right fit for you.”
Common problems faced by developers
Oftentimes, developers can run into issues when it comes to dealing with a cross-industry marketing agency, simply because the right boundaries and expectations have not been set from the beginning. The scope isn’t clear, nor have you understood what exactly it is that you want out of the relationship. There is also a big chance that they don’t understand the gaming industry well enough, so you find yourself hitting your head against a brick wall time and time again.
It is possible that there comes a time when you believe that the agency is not doing enough for you and those mentally defined targets are not being hit. You must consider whether it’s time to cut ties with your agency and hire someone internally to do the game marketing work for you or do you move on to another agency and start again?
In Sajeel Qureshi’s Huffington Post article, he advises that, “The marketing agency you pick in the future should have a focus on your specific industry vertical to help you get new customers and become proven commodities at winning businesses for customers in a particular industry.”
To put it simply, dealing with a specialized digital marketing agency rather than a ‘jack of all trades’ agency is going to get you better results since they deal with your niche on a day-to-day basis and live and breathe your industry.
How do I choose a game marketing agency?
While there are not as many game marketing agencies as there are digital marketing agencies, you will still find that there are companies that are only in it for the money versus those that are truly passionate about taking your game to the next level and finding the right players.
Look for agencies in your city, but don’t forget that in this age of technology and with the power of the internet, you can deal with an agency remotely. Research a company and see what you can find out about them – check their website and find out what they offer. Do they sound like they know what they are talking about? Do they sound passionate about gaming? If you have acquaintances in the business, see if they can make any suggestions.
When you’ve decided on an agency to inquire with, get in touch and set up a meeting. You may be lucky if they offer a free consultation so you can get a true understanding of what they can offer before making a commitment.
How do I prepare for a meeting with a new potential agency?
When you meet with a game marketing agency for the first time, they are going to tell you about their company and the services that they offer. A good agency will want to learn about you, your game and your vision, so that they can put a marketing plan in place. Before attending this meeting, you should take some time to prepare yourself, so you can respond to their questions and get the information that you want from them.
What should I decide before meeting with the agency?
- How long will I give them to prove themselves? Since it is virtually impossible to see results from the first day you sign with an agency, you need to set a realistic time frame to ensure that they are doing the right thing for your game. We would suggest giving an agency a three-month opportunity, as this is a sufficient amount of time to get campaigns moving and to start seeing results from those campaigns.
- Who will manage our relationship? Deciding on who will manage the agency relationship from your end can be tricky but this is one of the first things you should decide. You’ll want someone that has experience with marketing and knows your needs inside and out. If you are the only one suitable to manage the relationship, is that going to affect the company in any way?
- How much creative and strategic authority will I grant them? If you already have all your creatives done, will you allow an agency to change them if they believe necessary? Are you willing for them to make all the decisions when it comes to the strategies for marketing your game or will they have restrictions?
- Do I want to buy a complete marketing capacity or something niche to fit my needs? This is all going to depend on whether you are just starting out with your game marketing or you have already been working on certain initiatives. Are you able to implement some marketing strategies yourself and let the agency cover the big things, or do you need them to do everything for you?
What questions should I be asking a game marketing agency?
There will probably be many questions that you want to ask them, but we would highly suggest that you include these following questions, so you can ensure you are getting all the information that you need and understand what they will provide to increase customers and sales for your game.
- What will be the first few strategies you will put in place to try to sell my game? There are many different strategies that you are able to implement yourself, so what strategies can an agency offer you? What do they think is the best way to start? Would they like to build on a strategy that you have already started yourself or do they think there is a better way to go about things? Understanding the first few things that they would do to get exposure for your game will help you realize if they are going to be a good match for you.
- What marketing tools and technology do you use? An experienced agency should have no problems being upfront with the type of marketing tools and technology that they use. Ask them to provide examples of the kinds of tools they use for specific projects and you should also ask them if they will use growth hacking to find ways for your game to grow its number of users.
- Can you draw or send me the marketing funnel you envision for our company? A marketing funnel is important as it illustrates to you a hypothetical journey that a potential customer of your game will take; going from someone who has never heard about your game to becoming a user. A game marketing agency should be able to provide this to you before you sign them on, so you can envisage how your game is going to be perceived in the market.
- What platforms will you be using? The agency should provide you with a scope of which platforms they are going to use to market the game, as well as marketing potential analysis and ideas for marketing copy and creatives.
- Do you offer a “trial month” at a discounted rate? This is an excellent question to ask as it will show you if the agency is willing to prove themselves to you and make sure that you are both happy with the relationship before progressing. A month is a good amount of time to see them put their strategies into place and understand if they can walk the talk.
- Does the agency outsource or do everything in-house? When an agency contracts out work, it can present problems such as the inability to deal with time-sensitive issues and communication problems. Due to this, it is better to deal with an agency that does everything in-house.
- Is there any deal where I can pay for results rather than a fixed cost? Knowing how you are going to be dealing with an agency financially can help confirm your decision to use them. While it may not be possible, you might like to ask if they have a payment structure where you will only pay them after you start seeing results. We talk about payment structures more in depth further on in this article.
- Who will manage my account? On top of deciding who will manage the relationship on your end, it is also important to understand who you are going to deal with within the agency before making any kind of commitment.
Anshul Sushil, founder and CEO of Boring Brands, shares some insight in this article: “One common thing that many companies complain of is that agencies over-promise experience but staff a junior team to manage your account and deliver results. Always ask about who will be responsible for developing and pushing out your marketing campaigns. You will naturally want only the experienced marketers staffed on your account to ensure you get the desired results.”
He also makes a good point about understanding the agency's culture. That small talk before and after a meeting can say a lot about them and help you to decide if their culture is in line with yours.
Pricing – what should I be paying?
Knowing how much you should be spending on your marketing campaigns is a kind of catch 22. You don’t want to spend too much in case your strategies don’t work yet you don’t want to spend too little and miss out on potential reach to attract new customers. According to FrogDog.com’s 2011 article on How Much Should Companies Budget for Marketing?, “As a general rule of thumb, companies should spend around 5 percent of their total revenue on marketing to maintain their current position. Companies looking to grow or gain greater market share should budget a higher percentage – usually around 10 percent.”
Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, as these figures are for six-figure revenue companies and may not suit you if you are just starting out and your revenue is low. This may be a hard concept to grasp at first since in both situations you are only making $5000, but $55,000 of revenue means that (a) your game is in front of more people gaining exposure, (b) there is a higher chance of attention from the media and potential investors, and (c) you’ll also have the chance to improve your product through customer feedback.
Game marketing agencies can work on a number of payment plan options:
- Hourly rate: Once you sign a contract with an agency and an agreed hourly rate is confirmed, you will be billed for the number of hours that they work on your marketing strategies. If you are given an estimate of the number of hours that it should take to complete a campaign, then there shouldn’t be too many surprises when it comes to billing time. However, time is billed whether they are working on a social media plan or sending a few emails and there is no requirement for urgency as the agency gets no benefit from working faster.
- Retainer package: Being on a retainer package means that you will pay a set fee, usually each month, and the agency should complete all specified tasks within this without charging you extra. This can work well as you know exactly what you’ll be spending month to month, and it’s up to the agency to deliver no matter how long it takes them.
- Milestone pricing: Milestone pricing refers to a fee-by-project basis, where the agency will quote you for each task or project they are going to undertake. This is a good option if you like to know what you are going to pay upfront and have different sized projects and it is up to the agency to ensure that they get the project completed in a timely manner.
- Commission based: This form of payment can be used with clients that spend large sums on media such as TV and radio. The agency receives a percentage of the total spend on media, usually around 15%, and is essentially a commission known as an agency discount.
- Revenue based: While still a relatively new way to work things, revenue-based pricing models can work in your favor. The agency earns a percentage of the revenue gained from their campaigns, meaning that you are not paying anything up front for them to execute a campaign, you just wait to see if it works.
To understand the payment structures that an agency uses, you should inquire at your first meeting.
Still overwhelmed with how to choose a game marketing agency?
Here at Game Marketing Genie, we can take the guess work out of the equation with a free consultation, so you can find out if our team of specialists can deliver what you are looking for. We can provide you with a full-service package or satisfy your niche needs in PR, ROI boost, SEO & ASO, growth hacking and much more.
When you sign up for your free consultation, you’ll get a 1:1 meeting with one of our dedicated and passionate professionals who will put together a game marketing proposal to suit your needs.
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