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FenixKing

Do Indie Devs Hire Marketing Freelancers?

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I'm curious to know if anyone has (or knows an indie dev who has) hired a freelancer to handle the marketing activities or develop a marketing strategy for a project? If yes, is this common? and what freelance platforms - Upwork, Guru, Freelancer, Peopleperhour etc. - if any, were used?

As somebody with marketing experience and a decent understanding of the gaming industry, I was contemplating whether this would be a worthwhile niche to get into and try first hand at creating marketing and brand strategies for game developers. 

Apologies in advance if this has been covered before on another thread; I did look it up and couldn't find a similar post.

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Posted (edited)

For me, marketing is too important to let a freelancer without any references (other games he marketed successfully) handle it. I will hire a video game marketing and PR agency here in Germany, even if that is more expensive. They often have just better connections and more people who are experts in different fields (graphics design, PR, marketing, ...), something an average freelancer cannot offer at the same level.

I'm pretty sure some mid-sized indie developers will look for freelancers for their marketing. You could just search for projects on those websites to get your answer.

Edited by Magogan

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We have an agency on retainer for our indie game - we basically just talk to one person managing us, but I think their company is around the dozen staff size.

In my local indie scene, I used to be office neighbours to https://www.lumiconsulting.com/about/ who were 2-3 marketing people seemingly looking after half of the local indie Devs 😅 so I guess there was a bit of demand for help in that area. They've since pivoted to actual mobile development now though.

I think a lot of it will depend a lot on whether you market yourself towards "Indies" or "indies".

A small independent business spending a decent amount on a core activity such as marketing is a completely expected expense. A hobbyist who balks at the $100 steam publication fee will want you to work for free and not respect your time in the way that you will as a freelancer. We also do art outsourcing work and occasionally have people asking for ~$30k worth of work and offering a generous budget of up to $1k to get it done 😒 Getting known by the right kind of clients is important.

Also FWIW, I'd personally never use any of the sites like Upwork/etc to get anything done. They seem to exist to connect the cheapest possible labour to the cheapest possible clients... I don't know if that's a common view or just me.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Hodgman said:

Also FWIW, I'd personally never use any of the sites like Upwork/etc to get anything done. They seem to exist to connect the cheapest possible labour to the cheapest possible clients... I don't know if that's a common view or just me.

Yeah, I can confirm this. I tried to find some work on Freelancer.com but there is always someone from India or Egypt or other cheap labor countries who bids much lower than I can afford. I would have to work for half the minimum wage to compete with those people. That said, sometimes you can find some well-paid jobs, but it's very rare. In fact, I have seen one so far and that was a design contest for Airbus. And I got my logo there through a $200 contest. But if you lose you have worked for nothing so if you participate in a lot of contests you won't make that much on average unless you are really good.

I have looked on Freelancer.com for "game marketing" and couldn't find a single job. I guess you won't have much luck there, just do marketing in general (there are a lot of other marketing jobs) or look somewhere else.

Edited by Magogan

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18 hours ago, Hodgman said:

They seem to exist to connect the cheapest possible labour to the cheapest possible clients... I don't know if that's a common view or just me.

That's the impression I got, too, from my brief experience with it. 

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Posted (edited)

[OT] In the past, at the university and before getting a job in the industry, I used to freelance on all of these portals, doing random programming work and language translation (tiny jobs from $15 to $500). Nowadays it's true that even for us in Central-Eastern Europe, the prices undercut by even lower income countries are an obstacle. It isn't rentable to take such a job anymore. I haven't taken a job there for many years mainly because of the prices. I guess the only field left, for now, is human language translation, where there really aren't even a few individuals in all those BILLIONS who'd speak any of our many languages :) But for IT or even ART, ... It's hard to find any quality in the swarms of the absolutely low-cost jobs, you'd have to 'sample' many times until you find a really good freelancer (for example to help you with coding, art, testing, yet alone marketing). That's a risk. And at any time they might stop freelancing. [/OT]

It is possible, though, to get work done via freelancing portals. I wouldn't say likely, but definitely possible.

As for games marketing, I understand that (indie) studios haven't even started requesting marketing services through these portals yet? I'd try other channels - go to local game conferences and off try to offer your services to those who present their soon to be finished games, for example.

Edited by pcmaster

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Posted (edited)

I appreciate all the responses; they have given me a lot to think about.

Freelancing websites do tend to have members that offer more general marketing services and skills rather than ones directed at specific industries or niche categories. Hence, creating my own destination to promote know-how would be a more effective means to generate awareness. Maybe starting a blog solely on game marketing would be a good idea. The blog might then develop into a distribution channel to communicate with potential clients.

As some of you have mentioned, reaching out to game developers and attending conferences would be a great way to get on the map. This way I would also get a better perspective of what developers expect from marketers, budgets etc. Cheers, all!

Edited by FenixKing

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