No Marketing Needed!
Breaking news: Marketing is dead!
An IS TV interview and an article in the biggest Finnish evening paper Iltasanomat states with big letters that a Finnish game house sold 1,2 million games in five months with no marketing whatsoever.
The article explains how the game house Mountain Sheep had a global marketing budget of just 8000€ for their game Death Rally, and how they’ve miraculously managed to sell their games purely via word-of-mouth marketing… …wait a minute, marketing, you say?
Ok, let’s start from the beginning. First of all it’s blatantly obvious that these guys have an incredible level of knowledge about their core gaming audience, and innovative insights on what kinds of games are great in which genre. Well, that’s pretty much the starting point for any self-respecting strategic marketer – customer understanding and deep insights.
Not knowing their working methods at all, I’d just ignorantly go and claim that their game development has been built upon this customer understanding, and the product management obviously has been tied in with this marketing knowledge. So basically they’ve done great marketing based innovative R&D to build their core products – which seems to be the main reason they’re selling so well with little promotion.
Oh wait, there's more! The Mountain Sheep guy also mentioned that they’ve published and sold their games through the Apple App Store channel… What was that thing in every marketing for dummies 1-2-3 book, the 4 Ps, or something silly like that, invented in the 60s? Was there something about distribution channel decisions to make buying convenient?
We already talked about the core products of Mountain Sheep being great (the 1st P etc.) and now I’m thinking, maybe the guys have even gone as far as doing some pricing too? Whoa – how radical would that be? This far still no marketing, right?
Well they didn’t do a lot of advertising, that’s for sure. But what was it that I heard in the backstreets of the Helsinki marketing ghetto about bought media being just a part of the toolkit for marketing visibility and promotion? And what was it that I heard in business school about PR? The guys obviously don’t do any PR either, right?
Ah, and yes, well they did mention that in addition to their great core product, their sales are mostly based on leveraging social networks and WOM marketing… Dude, I’m so, like, what’s that marketing, we don’t do any, we don’t need none… We just make games that are as good as possible and make them stand out from other games. Well that sure doesn’t sound like differentiation or that ludicrous concept of positioning that Jack Trout invented (also in the 60s).
The article also mentions a “non-marketing plan”, and at the same time holistic marketing – which basically is a mindset in which everything is considered marketing. So I’m still just kind of confused here, what was the part with no marketing in it?
I have to say that all in all I really do respect these guys. They’ve obviously done amazing work with market driven innovative strategic marketing. It’s also been amazingly cost effective – one of the big dreams for any self-respecting marketer. The whole new Finnish mobile game scene is doing great – honestly I’m proud of our startup guys.
I also do believe in holistic marketing, but instead of a holistic marketer I’m more of a raging marketing-a-holic myself. So if I’d get to rename the headline of the Iltasanomat article, it’d read: “Marketing’s the f****** king baby!”
Sorry for the rant – yours truly,