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Read December 23, 2005, 01:19:07 PM #0
Matt McFarland

The best Marketing Services?

Does anyone here use Marketing services to help market their games?  I have heard of www.vgsmart.com and because I am going to be releasing a shareware shooter in the new year I would definately like to hear about the pros and cons of Marketing services, if they should be used at all.


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Read December 23, 2005, 02:03:53 PM #1
Taiphoz

Re: The best Marketing Services?

That looks nice. I dont like the costs involved tho and would be more interested in a company that were willing to take a cut from any sales made.

I used to deal with a few when my older games were on sale but I would have to dig through a mountin of paper work to find them.

If I find the time I will post them, if they are still in business.

In terms of Free Marketing, perhaps thats a function this site could fullfil. You could move the fourms into a sub folder. and have the main domain pointing to a site for releaseing and selling our shareware shooting games, would probably also give you a line of income if you take a small cut of each sale that goes through your site.


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Read December 23, 2005, 02:16:41 PM #2
Matt McFarland

Re: The best Marketing Services?

I would like to create such a site, but I'm no web site expert so I would need someone to design a site for me that would be good for portals.  hmm.. 


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Read December 27, 2005, 09:12:51 PM #3
Matt McFarland

Re: The best Marketing Services?

Sounds very interesting.. I also hear that cloverleaf is a good portal Wink  If my game is good enough I might just have them publish it... if they do that sorta thing?


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Read December 27, 2005, 10:15:07 PM #4
joe

Re: The best Marketing Services?

http://www.indiegamebusiness.com will be launched, so I am told, in the new year. The services are common to that of vgsmart, the difference being that you subscribe to the service and make as many press releases as you want in the subscription period. $100 for 6 months subscription is a lot better then $100 per release.

It depends on the press contacts. I think VGSmart has a good list. Also: If too many press releases are being sent out, won't the editors on the list ignore everything from that source after some time?

I have booked VGSmart two times, and think he does a good job but although I got some coverage on variouse sites it didn't turn into too much sales :-(


Jochen Heizmann, Germany
Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
www.intermediaware.com
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Read December 28, 2005, 08:46:42 AM #5
joe

Re: The best Marketing Services?

I see, and I am very interessted when your service starts!!


Jochen Heizmann, Germany
Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
www.intermediaware.com
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Read December 28, 2005, 09:53:23 AM #6
Indiepath

Re: The best Marketing Services?

Hi Joe, I will be sure to notify you.

Tim.




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Read December 30, 2005, 09:33:38 AM #7
Nexic

Re: The best Marketing Services?

I don't want to bad mouth Joseph (vgsmart) because hes a great guy. But when he did the press release for Desperate Space it got a hell of a lot less coverage than Xeno Assault II did. I used a different press release service for that game, www.softpressrelease.com.

It's probably not his fault, could just have been bad luck that his contacts just didn't want to talk about that game so much, or it could have been the time of year (summer rather than winter). Eitherway for my next game I'm going to use softpressrelease again and see what happens. They are a lot more expensive though.
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Read January 02, 2006, 11:42:07 AM #8
joe

Re: The best Marketing Services?

I've also been thinking of using softpress release for my games. I don't see that they are more expensive. Their press release service for games only costs $100 or is this wrong?


Jochen Heizmann, Germany
Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
www.intermediaware.com
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Read January 02, 2006, 11:57:21 AM #9
joe

Re: The best Marketing Services?

Oh, btw: I think the german press release service from softpressrelease isn't worth anything. The german used is really bad!


Jochen Heizmann, Germany
Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
www.intermediaware.com
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Read January 04, 2006, 05:51:46 AM #10
Nexic

Re: The best Marketing Services?

Last time I looked VGSMart did the release AND the writing for $100. Softpressrelease require $100 just for the the sending, and another 100 if you want them to write it.
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Read January 04, 2006, 07:00:47 AM #11
Indiepath

Re: The best Marketing Services?

VGSmart are renowned for typos, sorry Joe, I'm not going to go into specifics. Now we do our own - IGB will utilise that database.




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Read January 11, 2006, 02:07:12 AM #12
vgsmart

Re: The best Marketing Services?

Howdy! 

I was planning on waiting for my first shmup press release to post here Smiley  Oh well.

First, to cover Indiepath and my typo-ography... One of the ways I keep the costs low on my service is to have the releases proofed by the sender.  In Indiepath's case, which we are definately not going to get into, there was a major hiccup in this process.  Long story short, as with ANY unsatisfied client I returned the money.  I can't go back and undo press releases, but I did send out a correction as well as a refund.  I take great care to avoid disatisfaction.  I believe there have been a total of two refunds in the last three years, regretfully Indiepath was on that short list.

As far as the original post: "Does anyone here use Marketing services to help market their games?"

I see a lot of discussion here about press releases.  This is exactly the stigma that irks me.  A press release service isn't a marketing service.  It is a cog in a much larger system of wheels.

I can't answer the question (If anyone HERE uses a marketing service).  I can say that using a marketing service will vastly depend on your type of game.  Lucky us, this is a SHMUP site so they are all SHMUPs.  Then the question comes down to originality and quality.

It may be simply this:  Most SHMUPs are NOT as marketable as other types of games.  A press release is an ok way to measure initial interest, but it certainly isn't the final step (its a lot closer to the first step, actually).

I've said it before a hundred times:  Marketing isn't hard.  It is merely time consuming.  There is almost nothing I do that a developer can not do themselves.  The only difference is, because I do it every day, I can do many things faster.

You could spend time collecting e-mail addresses and make your own press release list... or you could hire someone.  You could spend time calling all of the major publications, or you could hire someone.  You could spend time creating a sell sheet, or you could hire someone.  Nothing about any of those activities is difficult.

So, what are the pros and cons:

The pro is:  You save time.

The con is:  It costs you money.

A SIDE EFFECT, which can be either pro or con:  You are then tied to that person's reputation in the industry.  If they have no reputation or a bad reputation it is a con.  If they have an overall good reputation your product will be seen in a better light.  When you hire a marketing representitive they become your company's face to the media.

So, what VGSmart brings to the table isn't just a press release list and a lot of e-mails, phone calls, and various marketing doodles; it is also our reputation amongst the media.

Who do we represent?
We represent Tri Synergy (Retail Publisher and potentialy soon to be publishing independent products as well...)
We represent Matrix Games (Retail and Digital strategy game publisher)
We represent Wahoo Studios, AKA:  Ninjabee (Outpost Kaloki X for the Xbox 360 Live Arcade)

Those are the only people, at this time, we are representing.  In the past we have represented Sillysoft, Apezone, and Rampant Games

If you are hiring a marketing company for BEHIND the scenes work it isn't so important what their reputation is amongst the media.  It is important that they have the skills you need and are within your budget and timeline.

VGSmart does behind the scenes work with MANY companies:  Here are some noteables;

ArcadeTown (Major online portal)
Caravel Games (DROD)
Ogre Force (Just signed them this morning)
Kellogg Creek (Famous company that battled Hasbro in court)
Lamp Lighter Studio (AAA art studio for games and entertainment)

Behind the scenes stuff includes writing formal marketing proposals (sans any of my "infamous" typos), doing search engine optomization, doing sales marketing (to non press members), increasing web exposure, content marketing, or consulting... or really anything else where the marketing agent doesn't start with the line "Hi my name is X and I am calling on behalf of Y."

So these are some of the items that marketing agents do and how they are different.  I use VGSmart stuff because I can use it as a solid example... and it makes me groan at the quantity of work I am doing.

The reality is, if you look at those titles, how many of you guys have so much going on that you are in their same position of not having the TIME to do it yourself.  The answer is going to be VERY few of you... and if you take the time to e-mail me and talk with me about your project, the odds are I will reccomend you do a press release and then take over yourself from there.  How many marketing companies do YOU know who would turn down work because it was in the client's best interest?  How many refund money if you aren't 100% satisified?  How many give advice for free across a variety of forums as WELL as if you picked up the phone and gave them a call?  VGSmart is the only one that offers that kind of price and quality level, that is why we are popular and successful. 

If SoftPressReleases does a better job at press releases for SHMUPS, so be it!  You should try out Soft Press Releases for sure.  Compare the two offerings, run the test a few times, and make an informed decision... but know that I consider the press release service only a single step in a great stairway to success.  I say to Nexic- GOOD!  Use the service that will get you the most coverage.  If your next press release through SPR results in less than you anticipate, I would hope you'd come back to VGSmart for a second try Smiley

Ok... im done Smiley  I doubt that even scratched the surface of your questions, but NOW is the time to pick through this and come up with some more specific questions for me or any of the other marketing gurus out here.  I will answer completely honestly, even if it means less business for me.  (Trust me, I have no shortage of business!)

Best of luck with the SHMUP developing forum and all your projects,
Joe Lieberman
The VGSmartinator
« Last Edit: January 12, 2006, 08:01:56 PM by vgsmart »
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