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Marketing Strategy

AnashelAnashel Member UncommonPosts: 200

Hey everyone! I am interested to know, If you were in our shoes, what marketing action would you take? It could be an event, a contest, another mini-arg, community event...  Anything!!

it could-be the unboxing of a Black Watchmen iron-path since unboxing video are so popular! (878k views for two adult unboxing ponies toys...)

Whatever would make you pledge! (if you didn't already pledge at that stage)

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Comments

  • KiesteelKiesteel Member Posts: 6

    another mini-arg sounds cool, you could make it to where once it starts, an advertisement/announcement starts showing up on various gaming websites and forums, which allows people that are unsure if they would like ARGs a little preview and if they like it they will pledge and support it.  

    I think advertising on various retailer websites (especially those with high traffic) would bring in more people and pledges.  

    A TV commercial might be worth considering, but may be a bit too costly.

  • SantiakSantiak Member Posts: 130

    Well, seeing as it is an ARG game, it would have to cater to a certain type of player - I suppose. For some reason, I can't get the idea of a viral-video out of my head; some Cloverfield-esque kind of thing, where some civilians are getting dangerously close to a Rupture, but for one reason or other, are cut off shortly before the Rupture would have been "revealed".

    Perhaps a Soldier class player in semi-civilian clothing redirecting them, "Div 66" written on his back.

     

    It's mostly a brainfart, but that sort of thing would probably get my intention. It would also fit with the game, seeing as blurring the lines between reality and game are more or less its raison d'être. Finally, while very limited, it would also attract those that enjoy investigating things on their own (Looking up "Div 66" or "Division 66" on google quickly lists the game - or something connected to it - as one of the top hits).

     

    Could even serialize it, which would increase believability (or suspense of disbelief, at least), and you could target people suitable for the different classes with each new "episode".

    So where the above might speak to those somewhat interested in doing the kind of work a Soldier would, you could also do a "viral-guide" of someone going through the steps of some research/cracking activity, and happening upon Division 66, to attract the Cybertechs.

    Someone doing a new pop-experiment - be it feasible or not - on Youtube, using something Rupture related, perhaps in a box stamped with "Division 66" on it, to give the Scientist folks a poke.

    As for the Snipers, I imagine a witness filming someone trying to flee, either carrying a package reading Division 66 on it.

     

    While it may be a bit too intricate, you could try to set up the hints to lead the viewers to either "happen upon" Division 66 themselves, or upon a description of the class that triggered them to look it up.

    Either way, I don't think distribution would be that much of an issue. As long as they are believable and generate discussion as to their credibility, and you've already shown you have a nack for making sites so believable, that we had trouble deciding if it was or wasn't related - and with us around to help you distribute the viral-videos, I would imagine - or at least hope - that they'd spread quite rapidly. :)

     

    I don't think the conventional ways of advertising are bad, as such, but I am worried that it won't appeal to an awful lot of the people it would attract, and as a result the reputation of the game - and thereby the amount of potential players - might suffer as well.

    That being said, I'm sure the community will be just as welcoming and helpful as ever - I know I'm at least as keen as you are to see more people join us. So we do, in other words, "Have your back" on that one, should you choose to opt for the more common routes of advertisements. ;)

  • ZeroshZerosh Member Posts: 16

    I would try something like this:

     

    Phase One: The Media Coverage

    In this phase I would target social media. For instance, it could begin with a series of videos in YouTube (trailers, sneak peeks and/or the unboxing thing). This content should draw some attention that could be directed to TBW's facebook, twitter, whatever-social-network with the objective of keeping the people interested. Then comes in play phase two.

     

    Phase Two: The Honeypot

    Seizing the momentum generated in phase one, prepare some sort of event, announcing it everywhere possible. The purpose of the event could be introducing the people who became interested in pahse one to the ARG world, and it could be done making some announcements and setting some rabitt holes, for example. The main goal of this phase is show a glimpse of what could be behind and leave the people wanting more.

     

    Phase Three: The Hook

    In this phase I would prepare a lightweight mini-arg, plain and simple. Take the anticipation generated in phase two and throw the people the chance to experience a little of what this is all about. Something simple, something that could serve as an introduction to the TBW universe, but something that would left the participants wanting to know more, to do more, to take challenges, to pledge for the real deal and support the project  :)

     

    I know this is not too elaboted, but I thought this idea could be useful as a draft or base of some sort :P

  • AsleeraAsleera Member UncommonPosts: 21

    I'd do the exact same thing as Zerosh. But no matter what strategy you choose to go with, you should send out mails on a regular basis as well. Your newsletter is your way of reaching out to a massive amount of people: both the members you have already and those who were curious and signed up for it just to get news about the game. At the moment this is the number one way of communicating with your audience and providing them information. Those who visit the forum on a regular basis and read up on your updates do not necessarily make up the majority: the newsletter serves to remind everyone about the game at the same time. Without it, some will pay less attention to it, put it out of their minds or even forget about it entirely if they are less invested.

    Your last mail said "STAY TUNED FOR MORE CONTENT UPDATES IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS...". For when you send out the mail about the class information and the AMA, I'd like to make a few suggestions as for what it could contain. The poll about the AMA didn't include a time frame, but the mail would benefit from one even if it only says "from x PM and for y hours" or "I'm staying up all night". This way they know whether they'll be able to jump in later or if they cannot make it due to other arrangements.

    Where do you want to run it? In the ARG channel? Will you be making this a thread where everyone can jump in and ask? Your initial plan was to gather all this information and put it up later as well as revamp the website based on it. Whether you're doing this in a chat room and in a thread you've created specifically for this, it's a good idea to let them know what your plans are and that they'll still be able to read it later on. Even if they do miss out on the AMA, they still know they're not missing out entirely.

    And in that same mail: it would be a great chance to let them know when they can expect the new pledge and stretch pledge options to go up. You get to make everyone excited and let them know they should keep an eye on their inboxes/the forum on that date. Tell them that you'll be making an announcement by that day and then send out a mail once they've all been released. 

     

    EDIT: To better help us make suggestions, which venues did you use to advertise for the previous ARGs, if any? If you advertised in specific places or had certain people talk about it, now would be a good time to approach them and ask if they're up for it again. With some luck, some players might know a person or two who would also be able to help out. That being said, free advertisement is never bad: if you've previously had your ARG mentioned and you only got 25 people to check it out, that was still 25 people who gave you the time of the day :) If you get the same places to mention you again and the result is similar, it will still have been helpful. 

     It will also be easier for us to consider strategies and suggestions once we've looked at the others and seen what was effective and what wasn't. You have had 600.000 players before, where did most of them come from? What kind of people did you get, what did you do, what didn't work out? If If something didn't work at all and it cost you money, you might need to consider whether doing it at all is financially sound at the moment. But at the same time we might also be able to help out and think of possible ways it could go over better. 

  • mowzmowz Member Posts: 1
    Maybe boingboing will give you a plug.  It was through them that I found Cloudmakers and then Majestic.  This is the neat kind of thing a lot of their readers (like me!) love.
  • AsleeraAsleera Member UncommonPosts: 21
    I read up on the new Marketing Strategy status and everything sounds great. Perhaps you could arrange something special for when we reach 25k, to get players even more invested in working towards the 25k dollar mark? Create a small, extra stretch pledge based on feedback from players, but which you just couldn't implement before? Or if you have photos of some of the physical stretch pledges or artwork that you haven't shown yet, it might be an easy and cost free way to arrange a "reveal" of what's to come?
  • TCO_TSWTCO_TSW Member UncommonPosts: 50
    How about you guys do a mini ARG, like the very first one that Funcom did. Emails were send to big gaming sites with an image which led to a website with several puzzles. It was not revealed until later on, who were behind the ARG or that it was for The Secret World. That might help you guys get a bigger audience.
  • GlycerollGlyceroll Member Posts: 1

    Here's how I would go about it:

    Stage 1: Curiosity 

    • Youtube ads, something to actually get people curious. Here's what I imagine:
      • "It started with one phone call" part from the trailer on the main page - then it switches to Patient Alpha staring at the user and end with a blip of the website.  - This would play at the Beginning of videos. Quick and vague. Hit them with just enough for them to ask "wtf was that??" 
    • There's also an opportunity to partner with Youtube channels (Polaris, Geekandsundry, etc) to get a sort of "hacked" video on gaming channels. Here's an example of what I mean. It's really cool and gets people talking, and would fit VERY well with the game. 
    • Other viral marketing means. Vague billboards, phone numbers, leaflets, ANYTHING to get people curious. 

    Key points:

    1. Show next to nothing about the game, get curiosity to bring people in to find out more. 
    2. Show the website, expand out the website to include -all- information (Don't link to mmorpg.com, link to an actual site akin to the "tutorial/beta" page with plenty of information and a link to the pledge page)
    3. Word of mouth will spread it around. Journalists -will- cover it if it's piqued enough curiosity.  
     

    Stage 2: Going hard in the Paint

    Now is when the hardcore advertisements come in. I don't have a lot of experience in this area but here goes, I'm just gonna spout out some bland ideas that can be expanded upon easily:

    • Banner ads on things akin to MMO-Champion and Mmorpg.com
    • Developer interviews on larger video game sites
    • Magazine ads (Gameinformer, etc)
    • Including an "ARG-lite" that would lead in to launch would be supplemental and offer some sort of in game goodies as a bonus for completion would work well.
    • E3/Other convention advertisements, get the developers talking about your game. Throw up a banner/advertisement/billboard with The Black Watchmen eye on it and a phone number. Have the phone number draw people in and lead them deeper into the game. E3 is in June so you may not have enough time to organize it, but it's worth a shot if you can manage it!
    Key Points:
     
    1. This is when you need to expand upon/set in stone WHY people need to be hyped. Merging reality and virtual reality, real life consequences/interactions, RPG on a multidimensional scale, etc
    2. Enticing people to stay excited through launch 
    3. Continue drawing people in through curiosity. 
     
    These are just some points I thought I'd share! These can expand out and be manipulated to match the needs of the game really easily. I'm not an expert in advertising or anything, but this is how I'd manage the game marketing ^^
  • nikeliznikeliz Member CommonPosts: 51

    What I might like to see is a homepage for TBW that is independent of the pledge page. This way, you can have news about the project (like the AMA), blog posts with game mechanics and class system, links to the forums, user testimonials, descriptions, link to the pledge page, etc.

    From there you can send viewers to the pledge page with the idea that the pARG is from an established group (since we're now trying to attract a crowd that has not heard of Human Equation, and possibly not TSW either), there is a blueprint formed of the game. From the pledge page itself, there is no indication of what state the game is in!

    And with your own webpage, you can manage it and provide centralized updates better than on the MMORPG page.

    A.K.A. nikel

  • ciaranhciaranh Member UncommonPosts: 12

    I don't know why but maybe some kind of web series sprang to mind. It could introduce players to the characters and plots and even have mini arg elements if they wanted the player wanted to go deeper. 

    It wouldn't have to be expensive or high production just something that was out there. 

     

    Just thought.

  • JaedorJaedor Member UncommonPosts: 1,173

    There are some good suggestions here.


    Generally speaking, the marketing around TBW has been very confusing. Most people have no idea what an ARG is or how it works, so to reach more people (especially on this site!), you need to set a good hook and keep it current.


    I suggest you host your own website asap, as mmorpg.com has historically not hosted anything but mmos or mobas and all the various TBW links on here are quite confusing. I understand mmorpg.com is branching into new areas but for most users, this is too easy to disregard because they don't know what it is.


    In addition to the other suggestions, I would dig up some of the previous ARG data from TSW (especially chatlogs, videos, side links, etc.) to illustrate how they have worked in the past. Then you can segue into PARG and terrify the pants off everyone. ;)

  • VismalVismal Member Posts: 9

    Excuse my poor skulking skills as I have not ferreted all the forum posts as I should have before suggesting this. As such, I have observed tid-bits of information regarding friend invites.

    Has this been implemented yet?

    Otherwise, I do support this friend invite thing, as I would love to extend my friends living far away of this ARG...to expand my current network.

  • RowyneRowyne Member Posts: 6

    I think a mini ARG is a great way to go but how about taking it a step further.  Invite participation from contributors from gaming magazines.  PC Gamer springs to mind.  Offer an interview and then the opportunity for them to participate in the mini ARG event.  I think it would generate a lot of buzz and it would later educate people that are not really sure just what an 'ARG' is and make the concept more accessible to a greater player pool.

    I also would like have a refer a friend pledge drive with some fun rewards.  And a website.  We really need one that is dedicated to the Black Watchmen.

     

     

  • SantiakSantiak Member Posts: 130
    Originally posted by Rowyne

    I think a mini ARG is a great way to go but how about taking it a step further.  Invite participation from contributors from gaming magazines.  PC Gamer springs to mind.  Offer an interview and then the opportunity for them to participate in the mini ARG event.  I think it would generate a lot of buzz and it would later educate people that are not really sure just what an 'ARG' is and make the concept more accessible to a greater player pool.

    I also would like have a refer a friend pledge drive with some fun rewards.  And a website.  We really need one that is dedicated to the Black Watchmen.

     

     

    That's actually a really good idea!

     

    Design a mini-arg aimed at gaming news-sites and magazines, plant clues that relate to either their own material, or where they are based, and then let them report on how the game runs along, the challenges they face, and - if you opt to have the rest of your existing community participate, if however remotely - how the community bonds to overcome challenges.

     

    Would not only showcase ARGs, but introduce the TBW universe to readers, and once the reporters get that adrenaline rush from solving a puzzle, generate positive buzz about the game. :)

     

    Could construct the ARG as a meta-ARG; The Black Watchmen wishing to purposefully leak information, in order to recruit more agents. To get a hold of this information, the reporters would have to solve the puzzles that they are faced with, discovering the very news-worthy world beneath in the process. So even if they attempt to write the article(s) as objectively as possible, the fact that the ARG is designed to draw them in, leaves them in a catch-22; they were dragged into it and accomplished (perhaps) the goal, regardless of how out-of-character or in-character they decide to write the previews. ;)

  • RowyneRowyne Member Posts: 6
    Exactly Santiak! Looking back at it, if we had had a few intrepid reporters accompany the man with the briefcase in  Montreal as both ic/ooc news reporters but faced with their own unique puzzles to solve could have led to an explosion of buzz. Report for their periodical (ie PC Gamer) on how it works but also spotlight from their player perspective about their unique puzzles and have them reveal their own discoveries. And lets face it once you get a gamer excited its rather hard to shut us up.  And once they see from first hand play you just  pull back the curtain and show the levels of true terror that could leak into a players rl world to really enhance the gaming experience I think would generate a ton of interest.
  • MPAconMPAcon Member Posts: 5

    The mini ARG for Press is a good idea. 

    I was thinking earlier in the day about getting someone like Day9 or other notable gamers/streamers interested in the idea as any publicity on their sites/streams would get out to a lot of players. Getting them into an event like a mini ARG would be great

  • SantiakSantiak Member Posts: 130
    Originally posted by MPAcon

    The mini ARG for Press is a good idea. 

    I was thinking earlier in the day about getting someone like Day9 or other notable gamers/streamers interested in the idea as any publicity on their sites/streams would get out to a lot of players. Getting them into an event like a mini ARG would be great

    It's certainly worth a shot. I've already sent a mail to "NorthernLion" asking him to contact Anashel about how they might possibly co-operate on it.

     

    Even if their viewers tend to be focused around a certain genre of games, we know from our current community that we all have very different backgrounds, in terms of what types of games we usually played, outside of ARGs. So it's quite possibly, I feel, that even among the indie-crowd - for example - potential interested players could be found.

  • bssssdbssssd Member Posts: 1

    well i think the main problem is that most people dont know what an ARG is about, it took me a lot to understand what it is and still not sure how TBW is going to be played.

    based on that my suggestion is make a video of some guy, playing TBW,  like solving  a puzzle? getting a message on cellphone? thinking on the answer? something that shows, how am i supposed to have fun with this game.

     

    even better if you can reflect the diferences between playing with different classes. and inmersion, as i understand there will be diferent kinds of  immersion?

  • SantiakSantiak Member Posts: 130
    Originally posted by bssssd

    well i think the main problem is that most people dont know what an ARG is about, it took me a lot to understand what it is and still not sure how TBW is going to be played.

    based on that my suggestion is make a video of some guy, playing TBW,  like solving  a puzzle? getting a message on cellphone? thinking on the answer? something that shows, how am i supposed to have fun with this game.

     

    even better if you can reflect the diferences between playing with different classes. and inmersion, as i understand there will be diferent kinds of  immersion?

    It's certainly worth considering, but I doubt it's something that could be showcased in a brief period of time, and at that, not the most riveting of videos to watch.

    Unlike most other genres, there isn't an awful lot of action - there isn't even a virtual game-world beyond the hub - so cutting to those scenes is not really an option. One could perhaps show someone researching on the web, a plethora of seemingly unrelated topics displaying on the monitor, key-words that bind them all together highlighted, the person in an obvious state of frustration. The person's then interrupted by a phone-call. On the other end, a song is played at low-quality, with muffled voices in the background. Holding the phone to their shoulder, the person quickly types down what they can make out of the song, and looks it up on youtube.

    That "introduction"/promotional video, could then be the start of a very short ARG, that they can choose to attempt if they so wish - perhaps earning a slight discount on their next stretch-pledge when they do sign up(?) - or they can follow a link in the video description to TBW front-page, or Arawn's Youtube project, the official IRC channel, or what have you.

     

    The problem, as you rightly point out, is that it's quite hard to explain what ARGs are. More specifically, what makes them so great. It's all about the satisfaction of solving problems, of discovery, and last but not least, of co-operating with other players. It's akin to explaining an old-style adventure game, without any in-game footage, and attempting to convey what it was or is, that makes it as fun as it is. Like attempting to explain a joke nobody gets the first time around, to use the words of Elwyn Brooks White; "Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it."

     

    I think another possibility - working off your suggestion - would be to have an ongoing pre-ARG, as the current one loses a lot of its touch, merely by not being "active" anymore. The thrill of trying to be the first to find the solution to a mission is very much a driving force - for me, at least - and I'm worried that people will look at the current pre-launch ARG, go "Welp, this has already been solved, apparently", maybe give the first puzzle a few tries, and then give up, knowing full well that there isn't much to come after.

    In reality, even if you aren't the proverbial key-holder that manages to finally solve a mission, a lot of the "completion satisfaction" is carried over, when the entire community works together. Bouncing ideas off one another, finding dead-ends, following what turns out to be red-herrings, brute-forcing, whatever you tried; once it's solved, you get a satisfaction from knowing that every action you took, even if it was primarily Glasgow kissing bricks and fishing for red herrings, helped lead the community to the solution.

    And I can't really think of a way of getting that across, at least not in a format that - as already mentioned - could convey it in its entirety within a short timeframe, nor have that much action to keep the viewers attention for however long it would need to be kept.

  • SantiakSantiak Member Posts: 130
    Was wondering, what about allowing people to pledge for the two top tiers as lottery?

    For example, stretch pledge for James Bond experience lottery. You can donate X amount, which counts towards the actual pledge. A set amount equals one ticket, and people can alternatively donate towards the pledge, but opt out of the lottery.

    This way, people might be incentivized to donate money even small amounts, either in the hope of winning the lottery, or in the hopes of seeing the James Bond pledge come to fruition.

    The lottery donation could be set up as a separate donation drive, handled by HE for the sake of legitimacy.
  • nikeliznikeliz Member CommonPosts: 51
    Originally posted by Santiak
    Was wondering, what about allowing people to pledge for the two top tiers as lottery?

    For example, stretch pledge for James Bond experience lottery. You can donate X amount, which counts towards the actual pledge. A set amount equals one ticket, and people can alternatively donate towards the pledge, but opt out of the lottery.

    This way, people might be incentivized to donate money even small amounts, either in the hope of winning the lottery, or in the hopes of seeing the James Bond pledge come to fruition.

    The lottery donation could be set up as a separate donation drive, handled by HE for the sake of legitimacy.

    I talked about doing lottery style with anashel when coming up with ideas for my own kickstarter, and he said that it's definitely illegal on kickstarter and most probably illegal on other crowdfunding sites too. Lottery = gambling. Different sets of laws

    A.K.A. nikel

  • SantiakSantiak Member Posts: 130
    Aye, which is why I mentioned it as donations. Say HE establish a PayPal account, people can then send donations that go towards the realization of the game. If the donated amount reaches enough to pay for either of the two top pledges, they draw a player at random.

    the way to enter the lottery, would then be by attaching a comment with either contact information or agent name, or if one simply wants to donate, but have already bought the pledges they want - or can - can then opt out of the lottery, by not adding a comment.

    If neither pledge is reached, it is what it was advertised as: a donation. If it does, HE rewards the community by having a real-life mission, even if no individual pledged for it - which I know I, at the least, would be interested in, even if I wasn't the protagonist.

    Sorry for any odd wordings or appearing a bit blunt, at a family gathering and writing on a borrowed cell phone. ;o
  • RowyneRowyne Member Posts: 6

    Over the weekend I met with a few friends and suggested the Black Watchmen to them as an exciting new game.  They all liked the premise.  They all liked the concept.  But they all pointed to the lack of dedicated webpage to make them feel secure enough to commit to the project and to pledge funds.

    I am not sure how many potential players are being dissuaded by the same thing.  I know for myself I hummed and hawed a bit but in the end the itch of the concept pulled me in.  But my friends are opting to stand on the sidelines until they see a more 'professional' commitment from the game team.  A website.  Will keep needling them!

    Just my few cents on a west coast Sunday night

  • NigheanNighean Member Posts: 13
    Originally posted by Rowyne

    Over the weekend I met with a few friends and suggested the Black Watchmen to them as an exciting new game.  They all liked the premise.  They all liked the concept.  But they all pointed to the lack of dedicated webpage to make them feel secure enough to commit to the project and to pledge funds.

    I am not sure how many potential players are being dissuaded by the same thing.  I know for myself I hummed and hawed a bit but in the end the itch of the concept pulled me in.  But my friends are opting to stand on the sidelines until they see a more 'professional' commitment from the game team.  A website.  Will keep needling them!

    Just my few cents on a west coast Sunday night

    Hi Rowyne

    You can still direct your friends toward http://www.humanequation.co/

    It's not a website dedicated to this ARG but at least it gives an overview of what Human Equation's has already produced until now.

  • nikeliznikeliz Member CommonPosts: 51
    Originally posted by Nighean
    Originally posted by Rowyne

    Over the weekend I met with a few friends and suggested the Black Watchmen to them as an exciting new game.  They all liked the premise.  They all liked the concept.  But they all pointed to the lack of dedicated webpage to make them feel secure enough to commit to the project and to pledge funds.

    I am not sure how many potential players are being dissuaded by the same thing.  I know for myself I hummed and hawed a bit but in the end the itch of the concept pulled me in.  But my friends are opting to stand on the sidelines until they see a more 'professional' commitment from the game team.  A website.  Will keep needling them!

    Just my few cents on a west coast Sunday night

    Hi Rowyne

    You can still direct your friends toward http://www.humanequation.co/

    It's not a website dedicated to this ARG but at least it gives an overview of what Human Equation's has already produced until now.

    Similarly, I prefer looking at support.division-66.com so that I don't have to see these ridiculous ads quite so much (:

    A.K.A. nikel

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