What a video game marketer does and how you can become one
Class Summary: What Does a Games Marketer Do?
A video game marketer is responsible for creating campaigns before, during, and after a game’s release that will appeal to a gaming audience and reach as many relevant people as possible.
They set the party up for success by ensuring the hard work of their fellow animators, designers, developers, audio technicians, and the countless other people needed to release a high quality title gets viewed—and played—by enough people. This means deciding which channels to promote the game through and taking steps to ensure the audience’s reaction to it is positive.
Here are some tips to help you figure out if game marketing is the right career path for you, as well as some details on what kind of positions exist within this field. You’ll learn about how studios promote games and what you can do to set yourself up for success in a games marketing career.
Your Primary Quest:
Your mission as a games marketer is to drive awareness of your game and make people want to play it. Sounds simple, but there’s a lot that goes into that.
There are many different types of marketers needed to launch, and indeed sustain, a game title.
You’ll have your digital experts with an eye for numbers that are running paid campaigns.
Working with them might be copywriters, video editors, and graphic designers whose aim it will be to put together the best possible advert that highlights their game.
Social media is a must-have these days, so high quality, engaging social accounts are essential to promoting a game, as are PR and communications professionals to craft the messaging around its promotion.
All in all, marketing video games requires several different specialities.
The review process
A key element to video game marketing is the review process, where media outlets and content creators give their honest opinion on a game before it’s available to the public. This can be make or break for a game's success, and it is the marketing and PR team that is responsible for drumming up as much buzz and attention around their title as possible. This means reaching out to journalists and influencers, getting the game in their hands, and monitoring the feedback that comes in.
While a good game will naturally pick up positive reviews over time, marketing experts that can drive additional media attention around their titles are worth their weight in gold. A long list of contacts within the world of gaming journalism, as well as familiarity with how the review process works, will really help candidates excel in the world of games marketing.
In fact, a sizable portion of marketing and communications professionals in gaming come from past careers in journalism. If this is something that applies to you, then be sure to mention it in your applications!
Endgame content: staying with the game
While it might seem as though a games marketer’s job is done once their title has been released, this isn’t usually the case. It may be true for some contracted staff members who had been brought on specifically for the launch, but there are considerations to be made for when a game is out there in the world.
How can you keep new players coming in? How can you win back old players into returning? An online game that never brings in additional players is only going to lose its player base over time. Fail to provide a vibrant and active experience for your existing community, and you might find them leaving your game for another, more populated one.
This is why it’s important to maintain a game’s promotion after launch. From activating gaming influencers to promoting DLCs or major updates, it’s important that your game remains in conversation.
What skills do I need in games marketing?
While different elements of marketing require different skills, one that will always be relevant is being able to communicate effectively with people. And while this is a requirement for many jobs, it’s especially important in marketing; you’re going to be communicating your game’s appeal, features, and unique selling points for a living!
Both verbally and written, communication is a must-have skill for a games marketer.
Creativity is also essential if you’re considering this career field. Being able to think outside of the box and come up with unique campaigns or activations is going to help your game stand out from the crowd. It’ll also help keep your marketing campaigns unique and fresh, so the people that you’re reaching don’t feel like they’re always being shown the same message.
Being comfortable with data is another trait that a marketing professional should have. Once you’ve launched a campaign, you’ll need to stay on top of it — that means monitoring it closely and reporting on its performance. How is it doing? Is it bringing in players at a cost equal to or below your forecast? Is there any way to improve it? Data will bring the answers to all of these questions, so a games marketer should be comfortable around it.
Social media, being a digital native, and having a strong grasp of the gaming community also go into being a great games marketer. Here are some of the skills we see as being the most in-demand for marketing jobs in the junior, intermediate, and senior levels.
The Skill Tree
Comfortable on digital platforms
Knowledge of the audience
Able to adapt to a brand voice
Able to define a brand voice
So you want to be a video game marketer? It’s time to build your character profile then!
Don’t skip the tutorial
You don’t necessarily need a degree to be a video game marketer, but it’ll help a great deal. Many marketing jobs in the industry will ask for a degree or the equivalent experience, but this obviously leads us into the age-old problem of needing experience to gain experience.
What can you do instead, then, if a formal degree isn’t available or suitable for you?
In video games, a lot of marketing is done through digital channels. And, the good news here is that many of these forms of advertising have certificates or online training modules to teach you the basics.
Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and many more tools that are the bread and butter of many marketing professionals all have free courses available for you to study online.
For beginners, you’ll often be able to find the courses directly on these platform’s websites.
For those of you looking for something a bit more advanced, we’d recommend checking out our partner Skillshare where you’ll be able to access marketing courses for all kinds of experience levels.
One great thing about marketing in general is that, in essence, it boils down to being able to effectively promote and grow something: whether that’s a product, a website, a game, or something else. This means you can show a proficiency towards marketing even in your personal brand!
For beginners looking to enter games marketing, we’d suggest building a personal brand on Twitter and/or LinkedIn where you can connect with like-minded people, share content you think is relevant, and generally build a strong online presence for yourself. It could very well come in handy when you’re job searching, particularly in social media where the skills you’re learning from building your personal brand will be directly transferable to a formal position.
Think about it this way: if you can market yourself well, then a company is going to be more inclined to have you market their products.
Never start a quest unprepared. To apply for jobs in marketing, a professional resume and customized cover letter is likely all you’ll need. Be sure to check out our resume article if you need help there, as well as our cover letter guide to make sure you’re submitting your best profile each time you apply to a job.
Your cover letter is especially important to get right. Hiring managers will be looking for candidates with strong communication, impeccable writing, and the ability to present something well. All sounding familiar? They’re qualities you can demonstrate in your cover letter!
For that reason, be sure to proofread this document thoroughly, and feel free to get creative with how you present your experience and skills. This is gaming! There’s room for you to show some personality in the cover letter, especially in marketing positions.
Your resume should look as it does when you apply to jobs outside of the game industry. Keep it concise and informative. Aim for a one page document, especially for junior level positions, and use a modern design. Remember, you’re marketing yourself when you’re job hunting, so each aspect of your application needs to be as good as you can make it.
Advanced Classes: What Kinds of Game Marketing Jobs Exist?
As a games marketer, there’s numerous disciplines you can put your character points into.
Copywriters are the written experts in a marketing team. Responsibilities might include producing email newsletters, ad copy, social media copy, and defining the wider brand voice.
Influencer marketing has rocketed in importance lately. As such, it’s important for game studios to have influencers playing and talking about their game at key moments such as during launch and major updates. It’s an influencer marketer’s job to source these influencers and negotiate deals.
While digital marketing is certainly a broad term, you can expect digital marketers within the game industry to be supporting their team through media buying, campaign setup, and reporting of paid and organic initiatives.
Brand managers are the custodians of a company’s brand. From general messaging to events, experiential projects, and any other kind of consumer interaction, it’s people in this position’s responsibility to drive brand awareness and build a positive reputation for the company.
Product marketing is an essential function in games, with a focus on defining the game’s messaging, where it fits within the market, how it can be optimized for strong sales performance, and generally ensuring a strong product launch and post-launch strategy. More so than other marketing positions, product marketers might work closely with the sales team to monitor a game’s financial performance.
There you have it: a deep-dive into games marketing, what it entails, and what you can do to increase your chance of landing a position in the field.
If this sounds like your ideal career, then why hesitate? Take a look at all the video game marketing jobs currently open on Hitmarker here.
Good luck with your search — we're here to help however we can.