Sign in to follow this  
Hambone Wilson

What does it take to secure a marketing position?

Recommended Posts

I am looking for a change in direction and I have always loved video games. My dream job would be to hold a marketing position at either a publisher or a studio. However, I don't know if my personal skill set and experience is enough. I have been an independent sales representative working in the motorcycle apparel and accesories industry for six years. For the past year I've been working for one of the largest licensees of Harley-Davidson apparel and accesories, covering a territory that included the entire states of PA, NJ, MD, DE, and VA I have a four year BS in marketing. I have participated in roughly 21 trade shows during my career. I have a track record for increasing sales and pioneering new products succesfully. I have very strong presentation skills. I have excellent writing skills. I have great communication skills both face to face and over the phone. I have some experience developing product literature and newsletters. I know how to sell, its in my blood. If I am putting together a resume for a marketing position at a game company, what of the above would be useful? What do I lack that could cost me a position? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Ham, you wrote:
>My dream job would be to hold a marketing position at either a publisher or a studio.

Development studios don't have marketing positions.

>I have a four year BS in marketing. [And experience]

Good. Now all you need to do is live near game publishers. Location, location, location, right? Right? And start marketing yourself to game companies. And see the other tips in FAQ 27 - http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm
And I might have written a column on marketing - see http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_archive.php

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Afterthought. I recommend two books to you:
Secrets of the Game Business
Introduction to Game Development

And you should subscribe to GameBiz Daily and Gamasutra's daily newsletter. Google them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the great advice and resources. I'll be checking into those links and books. You'd be suprised by the way. There are developers that hire marketing people.

Also, one company I was looking at mentioned that a couple years experience in either games or consumer software was a plus. The games part is a no brainer, but it's good to know that if I can't break into the game industry right away, I'll probably have a much easier time getting into consumer software and can try again in a couple years with more experience under my belt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I found your column on marketing.

[url]http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_Feb04.php[/url]

Fantastic stuff. This really makes me feel good about my chances, as I did a lot of activities with "game activism" in college, and I have reviewed and discussed games on a regular basis for years on the BigSushi forums.

Thanks again for the helpful advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Ham,
You're welcome. But one thing. You wrote:

>There are developers that hire marketing people.

Teach me. Who are the clients? What kind of campaigns would you do? Is this full-time, 24 months a year, every year?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, there are two studios offering the position in my area. Bethesda Softworks is advertising a marketing position. They need a guy that can update their website with written content, help create packaging, manual art, etc. I'm applying there for fun, but I'm sure they are looking for someone experienced in the game industry. Also, they seem to be looking for a one stop shop marketing and graphic design guy. Unfortunately I'm not a graphic designer.

Mythic Games is looking for a marketing assistant, and their job description makes more sense for a marketing major. Helping to set product deadlines, doing threat analysis, helping to come up with promotional materials, being a liason with media and development partners, going to trade shows, being a "demo champion" (I guess that's the guy that demos games during trade shows), doing special projects. This job sounds like an overall entry-level marketing troubleshooter kind of job and I think it could be a good oppurtunity for me.

As far as the terms of employment, that's a good question and I don't know the answers. I'll let you know if they get back to me though. I'm going to contact all of the developers in my area and see what advice they can give. Unfortunately there are no publishers that I could find in my area :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Watching the management/marketing stuff from a developer's viewpoint, those guys are able to move between different industries quite easily. If are good at what you do and sounded like you'd researched the specifics of game marketing, I'd interview you (if I were a publisher I mean).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another option is to work for one of the many PR agencies that work within the games industry. Some of the really big developers (like Bethesda - who are basically a publisher) have in-house marketing/PR people but most others use an agency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks again. I have been researching locations of publishers and PR companies that work with game companies and it looks like there are a lot in New York. I'm working on my resume this weekend and will post it up for critique as soon as I'm done.

Edit: Here is the link to the rough draft of my resume. It's about done aside from a typo check and a proper reference section (the current one is just a list of who I need to reference). Please let me know what you think.

http://www.snowpeaksoftware.com/marketingresume.doc

[Edited by - Hambone Wilson on August 5, 2007 9:11:51 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry for the double post. I just wanted to make sure it showed that this thread had been updated and I wasn't sure if my edit to include my resume would do it. Once again you can check out my resume at,

http://www.snowpeaksoftware.com/marketingresume.doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just gave it a quick look, two things stood out immediately:
1) It is 3 pages long. Massive no-no, 2 pages at the very most
2) Your skills section:
Quote:
Skills

- Computer: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Quickbooks, Act.
- Excellent presentation skills.
- Great people skills on the phone and face to face.
- Expert at closing the deal.
- A team player and a self starter.

The last 4 mean very little at face value. What you need to give are examples where you have demonstrated these skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Regarding the length, I agree with you. This was a rough draft, and I never intended it to be three pages. The finished version rounds out at two pages and I will be posting it soon.

I wacked off the parts about being a self starter and a closer, because they sounded corny and awkward, but people love to hear that you have good people skills and presentation skills. If they want to know if you are really what you say you are on those fronts they can really only do so through an interview. Besides, my business experience section and activities section shows a history of working with people and selling products and ideas.

Thanks for your input on the length though. It would have been a costly error if I had intended it to be three pages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by tsloper
Hi Ham, you wrote:
>My dream job would be to hold a marketing position at either a publisher or a studio.

Development studios don't have marketing positions.

>I have a four year BS in marketing. [And experience]

Good. Now all you need to do is live near game publishers. Location, location, location, right? Right? And start marketing yourself to game companies. And see the other tips in FAQ 27 - http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm
And I might have written a column on marketing - see http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_archive.php

Good luck.


For someone who seems to write a lot about the industry, you sure have no clue about what positions are offered. No offense really...

A number of development studios have had some form of Marketing / PR positions available. The easiest would be branches off of Marketing with junior PR positions and such things like Community Relations or even some Web Administration Specialists.

So why do development studios have Marketing positions available? Not all do but in this day of age, a lot are starting to have them. Especially studios that work exclusively with online gaming or online distribution (Yes you don't need a publisher in some online distribution). Things such as Community Managers (Marketing or Operations depending on the company) are needed to help manage communications online. As well a number of other branched positions like Brand Managers, PR Specialists, Community, and so on.

There are a number of studios out there that are seeking good marketing teams and branches. You will find more developers slash publishers needing those positions more but they are still developers too. Blizzard, NCSoft, Fury, even some FPS (I've seen) developers have had ads up to fill different Marketing, PR, Community positions. You will find more publishers that have more of a calling for these style positions over normal developer studios but don't get it in your head that Marketing has no place with other development studios because that is clearly untrue.

[Edited by - Fastidious on August 7, 2007 12:59:26 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anonymous person wrote:
>There are a number of studios out there that are seeking good marketing teams and branches. You will find more developers slash publishers needing those positions more but they are still developers too. Blizzard, NCSoft, Fury, even some FPS (I've seen) developers have had ads up to fill different Marketing, PR, Community positions. You will find more publishers that have more of a calling for these style positions over normal developer studios but don't get it in your head that Marketing has no place with other development studios because that is clearly untrue.

Blizzard and NCSoft are publishers. If by Fury you mean the MMO being published by Auran, then again, we're talking about a publisher.
Community positions aren't marketing, IMO - they're public relations. PR is not the same as marketing.
The point you are making is that some rare special-case very large developers may have full-time positions for marketing and PR. This may well be true. That doesn't mean I'm lying when I say marketing is a publisher job.

There are always exceptions to every broad statement one can make (including the one I just made in this sentence). It becomes overly cumbersome to have to write disclaimers and exclusions with every broad statement one might make. If a thing is true in 99% of the cases, then to state it as true without mentioning the 1% is not to say something "clearly untrue."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by tsloper

Blizzard and NCSoft are publishers. If by Fury you mean the MMO being published by Auran, then again, we're talking about a publisher.


No, these are developers who also publish their games. Just because you do not need the support of a publisher does not mean you are not ALSO a development studio.A publisher is someone who only publishes or distributes games.

Quote:

Community positions aren't marketing, IMO - they're public relations. PR is not the same as marketing.


Community is one of two things. They are either branched from Operations (Customer Service) or Marketing. EA/Mythic for example lists it as Operations. Blizzard has lists as Marketing. You can argue that they CAN be PR but you will never find PR not a branch of Marketing. It depends on the corp structure.

This is not opinion but fact based off of job listings from establish publishers, developers, and developers who also publish their own games. It has been opinion that such marketing and operation (PR in your opinion) like community are either operations or marketing/PR. Those are only opinions not fact based on the company structure in which your team falls under.


Quote:

The point you are making is that some rare special-case very large developers may have full-time positions for marketing and PR. This may well be true. That doesn't mean I'm lying when I say marketing is a publisher job.

There are always exceptions to every broad statement one can make (including the one I just made in this sentence). It becomes overly cumbersome to have to write disclaimers and exclusions with every broad statement one might make. If a thing is true in 99% of the cases, then to state it as true without mentioning the 1% is not to say something "clearly untrue."


The thing is you are saying studios who also publish their games are publishers and not developers. Let me touch that statement a little bit.

Blizzard developed diablo, starcraft, and world of warcraft. They have a full development team in a structure which you know. There is no arguing that they develop and maintain there games for PC and online multiplay.

"The company developed games like Rock N' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings (published by Interplay Productions)." -Founded as a developer

Blizzard also publishes their own games. This does not mean they are now not the developers of their previous games nor a development studio now. They have a full development team dedicated to many projects under their own name. They do not advertise for seeking studio demo's in order to publish those games under Blizzard. They are the opposite, they see something they like and they buy it. Then they publish it after there team has developed it.

Activision in another example, the company you worked for is a publisher. The publish other studios and actively seek development studios to publish. This is what you would consider the ideal publisher. Which is not the same as Blizzard in example.


You were a developer for Activision. They are a publisher, so how were you a developer for a publisher? ;)

[Edited by - Fastidious on August 7, 2007 10:54:46 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anonymous person wrote:

>No, these are developers who also publish their games. Just because you do not need the support of a publisher does not mean you are not ALSO a development studio.A publisher is someone who only publishes or distributes games.
>The thing is you are saying studios who also publish their games are publishers and not developers.

No. A company can be a publisher and also a developer. The thing I'm saying is that marketing is a publishing job. If a company is both a developer and a publisher, then I consider that company primarily a publisher, and of course such a company will have marketing positions. A developer is primarily a company that makes games to be published by someone else. So once a company is publishing its own games, and not doing any contract work for other publishers, that company is no longer a developer in the usual sense.

>Activision in another example, the company you worked for is a publisher. You were a developer for Activision. They are a publisher, so how were you a developer for a publisher? ;)

You lost me. Are you saying I, Tom Sloper, was a developer? That's not the case. If that's what you're saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom's correct, while a company which develops and self publishes will do PR/Marketing these are primarily Publishing functions. Few companies that are pure developers will have PR/Marketing positions and those which do (the large super developers) will stick to marketing/PR relating to their own company brand. It is the publisher that handles PR for games and many/most development contracts specifically state that it is the publishers job. - obviously most publishers like the developer to be involved but PR/marketing decisions rest with the publisher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
> My dream job would be to hold a marketing position at
> either a publisher or a studio.

The video game ecosystem is much larger than solely the developers and publishers. There are a few companies related to game development you might want to look into, such as technology companies (AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Immersion, etc), peripherals (Logitech, MadCatz, etc), authoring tools (Softimage, Autodesk, etc), ... Such companies deal with publishers and developers every day in order to co-promote products, either at trade shows or through other forms of promotional activities.

-cb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this