What is your job role and what does it entail?
I’m a freelance marketing consultant which entails working with developers and studios to help them promote their games. Depending on what stage of development the studios are in this can be anything from platform selection, branding or pricing; through to making trailers and the assets that will promote the game.
How did you start working in the game industry?
I was always a gamer growing up but I wasn’t a programmer or artist, so I couldn’t see a career for myself in the games industry. So, I studied languages at university and then I began a career in advertising, where it just so happened that one of my first accounts was Xbox. That was a lightbulb moment where I realised I could work in games and use my marketing skills at the same time.
What/who was your inspiration at school?
One thing that’s helped me in my career is that my Mum always said that I could achieve anything if I worked hard enough. So in terms of people that inspired me, definitely my Mum.
In terms of games that inspired me, I think the turning point was when I first played Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation. Having played games that were a bit more ‘kiddy’ it made me realise that games could also be these amazing immersive worlds.
Did you have a mentor? Do you have a mentor now?
I wouldn’t say I have any formal mentors but my old boss at Media Molecule, Siobhan Reddy was fundamental in helping me with the transition to go freelance. She’s a great person to work for and really bent over backward to ensure I could continue working with them whilst doing my own thing on the side as well.
Did you study anything at school/college that you think helps you in your job now?
I think with marketing you don’t have to have studied it to get a job in it but a general education has helped. For example, my degree in Spanish has given me analytical skills and a work ethic that comes from studying full time.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
When you have made and executed a plan; and then you see the results of that with consumers.
It’s really fantastic to see developers who have poured their hearts and souls into making something start to reap the benefits. Plus, the gaming community is so lovely, there’s so much nice and constructive feedback that comes back; seeing something you’ve worked on touch and inspire other people is great.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
Sometimes there can be clash between what you think you need to say to consumers as part of the marketing campaign and what the developers might want to say. So, they might love feature X, which is great, we love feature X too but if we talk much more about feature Y, it’s going to attract this whole new group of people who wouldn’t otherwise play it.
Can you describe what your average working day is like?
A lot of emails, I’ll check them then log onto social media and see if there’s any feedback on the things we’ve been doing. Then depending on where we are in the campaign I would start planning the next thing we’ll be doing, that could be anything from an announcement to the next event.
Building up to release you know the game is great but how do you convince everyone else to play it?
Depending on the size of a developer, and how much money they’ve got, there’s a huge variety of things you can do. There are things like social media and Youtube, so posting screenshots and trailers to excite an audience about the content of game is a good way to get them interested. If it’s appropriate then developer diaries too; talking about the process of making the game really interests people. For bigger companies they can do events, press previews, merchandise, advertising and maybe even promotional stunts. Whatever you do it’s important to engage your audience and respond to feedback; work out what you’ve done that is interesting people and do more of the same.
What three tips would you give to Young Game Designers thinking about their game systems for their application?
There is no one group of gamers, identify the most unique thing about your game and then you see what kind of audience that will resonate with. For instance a racing game could appeal to games fans that play other racing games but you could also be engaging people who are really into cars.
Keep learning from what you’re doing, listen to feedback from your community and don’t treat them like a vacuum.
Be original, if your marketing can be confused for another game then you’re doing it wrong. There’s so much noise out there that you need to stand out.