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Things that don't scale or marketing your game like a start-up

Although it's hard to see it at first, both Indie Games and Start-up world have plenty in common. Trouble marketing their products(games) is one of them. Answer? Do things that don't scale!

Albert Palka

April 21, 2015

3 Min Read

I am currently available for freelance projects. If you need some help with PR and Marketing, creating communication strategies or just want to talk about the weather, feel free to ping me on LinkedIn or send me an email at [email protected]. You can follow me on Twitter too! :)

Being interested in both start-ups and Indie games made me think about how similar those industries are. Obviously, as a marketer I focused on the marketing side of both.

What stroke me the most is that Indie Developers, especially new ones, have trouble marketing their game just like newbie Entrepreneurs struggle to market their product. It doesn't have to be like that. Both Entrepreneurs and Indie Developers focus the most on one thing - the product. They forget that development isn't enough anymore to make an impact on the market. 

The most common excuse for not marketing your game/product is the lack of money. You can't advertise if you don't spend enough, right? Well, This War of Mine became one of the most profitable Indie games of 2014 with almost no marketing budget at all.

What 11 bit studios did was they reached out to every possible media outlet on the market and that's how the hype begun. Because remember:

Reaching out to journalists is free!

Let's go back to my initial thought. In the startup world, there is this guy called Paul Graham and in 2013 he coined the expression, "doing things that don't scale." What does it mean and how does it apply to the Indie games' world?

Big corporations have been relying on the same marketing strategy for years. Every launch looks exactly the same if you have millions of dollars to spend; trailers, tradeshows, buying ads, buying retail space and hosting launch events. 

On the other hand you, the Indie Developer, can test new platforms and ideas no one has ever tried before. Not because it's not worth it, but because big guys can't afford it; they simply don't have time. But you do! Start blogging, doing YouTube vlogs and post more on Twitter, but also follow the trends and look for new audiences. Games' marketing isn't innovative enough, but it can be.

Doing things that don't scale takes time. Twitter and blogging take time. Answering e-mails and questions on forums takes time, but you off all people can actually afford to do it. And it works. But what's most important is that it doesn't cost you anything. You just need to constantly test your ideas, analyze the mistakes and continue looking for new growth opportunities.

Being an Indie Developer means you are your own boss, which means you can make risky decisions. I worked in large, 60+ people companies. CEO's and C-level management can't or don't want to take risks. Indie Developers can and should.

It's been working for Start-ups, and it can work for you!

And if you're not sure where or how to start, send me an e-mail at [email protected].
I will do my best to help you out!

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