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marketing a new family game

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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi All , Using this site a lot at the moment so thanks in advance for various bits of advice. Just had my family game rejected by a top store because of lack of marketing on my new game. As a small oufit how does one get around this without spending huge amounts on marketing? Are there any family game publications where one can advertise cheaply ( initially in the UK ) or any other means of getting the game "known" without huge cost? I am planning a website but I assume that will only be good for people who already know what they want to buy.

Joined: 10/16/2008
PR, Not Marketing!

Don't focus on marketing. Focus on Public Relations. PR is much cheaper than advertising and much more effective. Many companies send out a press release and say "cool. I'm done." Big mistake. Press Releases from small companies just disappear into the noise. You want to get interviewed, reviewed, discussed, and known. Here are some pointers...

Don't be stingy with sending out review copies, just make sure they're going to good locations. For example, contact the guys over at They did a great interview with me (pulpgamer) that I both enjoyed and appreciated.

Some other ideas are to get involved with your community: sponsor a little league team or something, write an article for the local newspaper, see if any of the radio stations are interested in doing a color piece on a local startup game company.

However, I will happily give you the True Secret behind good PR: don't focus on yourself, focus on your customers. All those ideas I listed above will only work if you've got something of benefit (above and beyond your product) to give to the people you're dealing with.

For example, after being here for a while, I realized that new game designers truly appreciate (and need) publicity. So, we ran a game design contest around SiegeStones where we awarded the winner some free signed games, a substantial gift certificate, and credit for the games (the winning design entries can be found over at I'll be posting other great entries over the next couple months (as I get time).

This promotion was a huge hit for us. It generated an article in Games Magazine, thousands of web site hits, and lots of web press.

The reason it was so successful is because it wasn't self-promotion. People are inundated these days with hearing other people scream "look at me!" Our game design contest wasn't about us, it was about helping out game designers. I'm not being hypocritical here. That's really what it was about. I'm a struggling game designer too, and when I saw a way to help out, I jumped at the chance.

The True Secret of PR is twofold:
1) Keep your PR focus on the people you're talking to
2) Stay honest
If you do these two things, you'll find that you don't have to look for publicity. The publicity will look for you.

An advantage of being in the family game business is that what we do (developing products that help bring families together) is a really good thing. People recognize that. Once they realize that you're one of the Good Guys, and not some money-grubbing sell-it-and-run type, they'll want to help spread the word.

Yes, it's true: nice guys do finish first. I can't count the number of writers I've talked to who have said "it's so refreshing to talk to someone who isn't just trying to sell, sell, sell."

Hopping off my PR soapbox for a moment, you should also realize that some stores simply create polite excuses not to carry your product. Don't overreact to one company saying "we won't carry your game because of this problem." You may discover that once you've solved that problem, they still won't carry the game. I'm not saying this to discourage you, I'm just saying to stay within your means. Don't overextend yourself.

Best of luck!

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