What is Marketing?

Marketing is part of being a game producer – but not everybody really understand what the concept of marketing is all about. Here’s a basic definition by American Marketing Association:

“Marketing is a process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals”

In English: the mission of marketing is to attract, retain customers and provide value to all parties.

It’s purpose is to satisfy the needs of all parties. This is the main purpose of marketing. The aim is to provide value that satisfies all parties: buyer, seller, distributors – everybody. Firms can have highly satisfied customers if they provide their services for free. However, those companies are unlikely to live very long. Highly satisfied companies might have very disappointed customers or distributors at first – but those customers or distributors won’t stay long. The key purpose of marketing is to make all parties happy or companies won’t be able to survive in a long run.

Marketing is a process. Some people think that marketing is about making some nice banners for a while and then forgetting it. Marketing is a process that involves series of steps to be made: market analysis, market planning, action and control. Everybody in the company is doing marketing and marketing must be done on continuous basis. Marketing is not something you try and stop trying. Marketing is testing, evaluating, deciding, testing, planning, acting, refining – a never ending story that’s repeats, repeats and repeats until it’s successful. After that, it is repeated.

It involves several product, price, promotion, place and other modifiers. Marketing mix – use of product, price, promotion and place – is a framework for evaluating and processing needed elements to reach marketing success. Marketing takes into account the product (quality, platform, game type etc.), price (one-time, monthly etc.), promotion (advertisement, press releases, blogs etc.), place or distribution (direct selling, retail stores, portals etc.) with coordinated manner.

It’s about exchange. Marketing is not successful unless two or more parties exchange something. This might mean exchange of time, money, services, volunteering, donations or something else, but the one key element of marketing is to enable the transaction.

In summary, marketing is more than just banner ads – it’s a process that needs to be done properly for companies to prosper.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. @lezly: for starters, go to your local library and get books by Philip Kotler – he has written lots of books about marketing. Naturally I will publish more marketing related stuff in the future as well. Remember to check out also practical marketing category.

  2. i whis had more information about marketing
    because i’m interesting so please if you can send my more information about it please.
    lezly zetino

  3. I’m not sure what wording you meant, but the key purpose of marketing “making all parties happy” sort of includes “development” or suggest that development or game production goals are in line with marketing goals.

    I would also like to add the difference between market research and marketing research. Marketing research is a broad term covering research such as new product opportunities, research about brand image, current customer feedback, competition etc. Market research is part of marketing research – research focused on researching the current market situation (for example, trying to find out need for a new product). One practical example for marketing research could be finding out what players think about your game. That’s one form of marketing research that is very linked to development – it was no intention to say that marketing would be somehow external or not anyway linked to game development.

  4. The wording makes it sound as if marketing is everything else than development, which it is not.

    Typically marketing is used by publishers to identify opportunities in the market. This is done doing market research. Unfortunately not many companies do proper market research (especially not game publishers) and their recommendation tend to be along the lines of “well, game X sold a lot so we need one of them”. That’s the point in time where developers get to pitch their project or their take on a project if it’s a work for hire / licensing deal.

    Sales then step in and say “ok, if you make that game we can sell so and so many units, therefore the development budget is so and so big”. That’s the point in time where developers negotiate their contract. Of course, the more polished and representative of the final game a pitch or demo is the better predictions you get from sales.

    Next step is exposing the game to the market. There are three phases to exposure. One is early in development, another is around preview time and the last is review time. Sometimes, if the game is truly succesful, you get a fourth round which is follow up when the game goes platinum or something similar.

    These three steps of exposure not only serves the game but also the distributors and retailers as more exposure typically means more interest in the game from retailers to distributors and end-customers to retailers.

    The exposure is often orchestrated by a PR department that is the filter from marketing to the specialist press or other media. PR are the ones with the contacts to the “outside world”.

    Throughout time marketing has become a driving force in games development instead of the service organ that it once was. I don’t know if it the same in other businesses but personally I think marketing has too much power these days and share a great responibility in the creative stagnation of the games industry.

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