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Is marketing truly everything? 
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Post Is marketing truly everything?
Made in relation to a discussion on the GMDX thread about marketing.

Cybernetic pig claimed that Deus Ex had shit marketing but was still remembered for its quality. I disputed this, saying that before release it had gathered decent hype and was featured on several gaming magazines. Then he responded by saying that because of its lack of marketing budget, it didn't sell as well as Doom or Half Life, and that good marketing alone sells. He gave the examples of No Man's Sky and cigarettes as evidence of this.

The discussion went on for a while, but since it's occupying significant space on the GMDX thread, it would be better to bring it into a new one. I also request the moderators to move all posts related to it from the GMDX thread here. Anyhow, discuss whether marketing really is everything, or do other factors play a role. I'm of the opinion that marketing does have a huge impact but it's still limited and a lot still falls down to how interesting the product itself is relative to the market offerings of the time and reputation, among other things.


Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:52 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
I kinda agree with you. Deus Ex won GOTY 2001 . PC Gamer, GOG, IGN many other sites too had reviews of DX. As for marketing, DX was so popular, that in 2003, there was a film adaption too. 8)

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Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:23 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Alright, we'll aim to start fresh and reestablish normalcy.

Quote:
I'm of the opinion that marketing does have a huge impact but it's still limited and a lot still falls down to how interesting the product itself is relative to the market offerings of the time and reputation, among other things.


Marketing/advertising is literally everything between financial success and failure, few exceptions apply. It's the bridge between the product and the consumer. If the consumer is unaware of your product, then you didn't advertise, or didn't advertise well enough. Cigarettes was a perfect example of the influence of marketing. Another is boobs, which are everywhere. Just the other day I subconsciously clicked a "recommended for you" youtube video because boobs in the thumbnail, aka clickbait. Why was that video even recommended? Because data mining determines I like boobs. Much of many things in this world is an ad, often hidden in plain sight. But I digress off topic a little. quality does matter, other factors also matter, but of utmost relevance is ultimately marketing your product. To make the consumer even aware of the product is the first necessary step. quality means fuck all if they're unaware it even exists.

...But hey, I'm not the marketing expert as we all know.

Disclaimer: the above doesn't apply to absolutely necessary goods and services as much, such as food.

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Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:53 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Cybernetic pig wrote:
Marketing/advertising is literally everything between financial success and failure, few exceptions apply. It's the bridge between the product and the consumer. If the consumer is unaware of your product, then you didn't advertise, or didn't advertise well enough.


While true, this only talks about the basic function of marketing. There's a point after which more marketing doesn't really get any more benefits. It's called "over saturation" in economics. There's also factors like word of mouth and the general trends of the audience. For instance, Citizen Kane initially did poorly but over time, it garnered fame because people spread information about how good the film was, and it became known as an important landmark in American cinema. There are also many examples where even after extensive marketing budgets the product didn't fare well. For instance, Duke Nukem Forever was massively hyped and before release it had many pre orders, yet its sales failed to meet expectations.

Your examples of cigarettes and breasts aren't good ones because there are many other psychological factors behind people liking them. Cigarettes mainly consist of nicotine, which was an integral part of many cultures and a symbol of wealth and luxury way before there was extensive advertising or a formal advertising industry. Breasts are in effect genital parts that arouse reactions from people of the opposite gender, so their appeal is more natural than manufactured.

To get back to the original claim, do you have any particular example of how Doom and Half Life fared better than Deus Ex in marketing? Especially since Deus Ex was featured in several gaming magazines, had a decent amount of hype around it, and was commercially successful.


Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:24 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Quote:
There's a point after which more marketing doesn't really get any more benefits.


Yet cigarette companies are still investing billions in marketing today...

I'm sure diminishing returns comes into play at some point, however they're still returns.

Quote:
There are also many examples where even after extensive marketing budgets the product didn't fare well.


Marketing budgets do not accurately represent the effectiveness of the marketing, similar to how you can have a big budget AAA that's a load of trite.

Quote:
Cigarettes mainly consist of nicotine, which was an integral part of many cultures and a symbol of wealth and luxury way before there was extensive advertising or a formal advertising industry.


Half true. ("It [nicotene] constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco").
I'm not sure if the true part of that statement is relevant either. Cigarettes are a different conception. Smoking is damaging. Nicotene however "Beyond addiction, both short and long-term nicotine exposure have not been established as dangerous to adults".

Before smoking, nicotene was primarily used as fertilizer.

Quote:
There's also factors like


In the very same post you're quoting I had already acknowledged said factors (like word of mouth) and how they can make a difference. Many of your counterpoints are written as if you didn't read the following:

Quote:
quality does matter, other factors also matter, but of utmost relevance is ultimately marketing your product. To make the consumer even aware of the product is the first necessary step.

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Last edited by Cybernetic pig on Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:50 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Cybernetic pig wrote:
Marketing budgets do not accurately represent the effectiveness of the marketing, similar to how you can have a big budget AAA that's a load of trite.


And what does, then? How many people talked about it, or how well it sold? If it's the former, there are examples of products with the former effect failing. If it's the latter, then it's just a circular argument. "It sold well because it was marketed well, which was because it would sell well if.."

Cybernetic pig wrote:
In the very same post I acknowledged said factors (like word of mouth) and how they can make a difference. Many of your counterpoints are written as if you didn't read the following:

quality does matter, other factors also matter, but of utmost relevance is ultimately marketing your product. To make the consumer even aware of the product is the first necessary step.


I did read it, but I didn't bother addressing it since it's an obvious statement. It acknowledges that other factors matter but then claims that marketing is the most important of all. I agree with the first but disagree with the second, since there are examples of products with lot of marketing not doing well and products without any marketing doing well. You also have to remember that marketing by itself eats into the available budget, and the effect of this on the product is something many people have to consider while drawing budgets.

Also while smoking is damaging, how does that explain the huge number of accounts of smokers here where marketing doesn't even get mentioned: http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/ ... view1.html . Surely that means there are reasons other than "A company advertised it aggressively."


Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:00 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Quote:
It acknowledges that other factors matter but then claims that marketing is the most important of all. I agree with the first but disagree with the second


Then you'd be wrong.

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Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:15 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Re: the request to move over the posts, I absolutely cannot be bothered to do that. But of course it's fine to resume the discussion here.

As for the topic at hand, I agree with MCP: marketing is incredibly important. You can get lucky and find financial success through word of mouth (or: viral, as it's also called), but that's a crapshoot. If you want to sell, you need to make sure the people who might want to buy it know that it exists, and the only reliable way to do that is fork over an insane amount of money to plaster your ads all over YouTube or whatever.

And as a game developer who is really fucking tired of getting one particular type of compliment ("wow this game came out of nowhere, I've never even heard of it but it's so great!") I can tell you I will never again underestimate the importance of marketing.

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Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:03 pm
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Jonas wrote:
As for the topic at hand, I agree with MCP: marketing is incredibly important. You can get lucky and find financial success through word of mouth (or: viral, as it's also called), but that's a crapshoot. If you want to sell, you need to make sure the people who might want to buy it know that it exists, and the only reliable way to do that is fork over an insane amount of money to plaster your ads all over YouTube or whatever.


I definitely agree. Marketing is important to create an impression and to reach out to as many customers as you can. I'm only disputing the claim that marketing is the most important part of success. I feel that effective marketing is good at getting people to try something, but beyond that quite a bit depends on the product itself too. For example, No Man's Sky while being successful also got many refunds and dashed the expectations of many people, so the marketing didn't help it retain an audience, and it will certainly be harder for the team behind it to convince people again. I don't want to discuss the cigarette example further, but the reason it can maintain an audience is precisely because it is a drug of sorts. Indeed, just in my previous post I gave a link to several interviews with smokers, and none of them mentioned marketing/advertising as an influence or showed brand loyalty.


Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
DevAnj wrote:
I'm only disputing the claim that marketing is the most important part of success.


Sorry, but it is, by a huge margin.

How else would No Man's Sky, a far from complete game, dominate the indie space? In how it presented itself, promised big and manipulated the market. It promised a AAA game. What it delivered was a AAA marketing campaign.
How would Revision be 1000x more downloaded than GMDX, the "definitive Deus Ex experience" as agreed by 99% of players? ;) Its website is better in presentation, its promises were bigger than what it delivered, its Square-Enix connection got every game "journalist" to write about it. The team formed a "company" with a fancy name. That's all marketing. They had a guy with a marketing degree on the team.

If Jonas were to hire an animation studio to make a high quality AAA style action CGI trailer for Expeditions: Viking and got it out there on all the channels, even if it barely resembled the actual game it'd do wonders for exposure. Exposure is all that really matters. "There's no such thing as bad publicity" isn't a well known quote for nothing.

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Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:56 pm
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Cybernetic pig wrote:
Sorry, but it is, by a huge margin.


If that were true, Duke Nukem Forever would not have failed to meet sales expectations, nor would Daikatana be heavily vilified by most players today. Both had very effective marketing and got many people to talk, yet in the end it didn't make them successful. Marketing is only that significant for success if the returns are more than the budget spent in marketing.

In the case of No Man's Sky and Revision, both heavily relied on smoke and mirror tactics, which only work well the first time. The teams of both products have subsequently lost a lot of trust and they'll have a harder time convincing more people to try/buy any future products from them. Do note also that neither spent a lot of money on marketing, in the case of No Man's Sky the hype was perpetrated by showing off a flashy demos with concepts that were new to the audience, which made many people take notice. In the case of Revision, they tapped into the inherent desire of many Deus Ex fans to see a remade Deus Ex, and they had someone in contact with Square Enix on their team who got it onto Steam for higher visibility. Also Revision came first and promised much more than GMDX ever did, after all GMDX is constricted by its claim of being "faithful to the original".


Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:04 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Quote:
No Man's Sky the hype was perpetrated by showing off a flashy demos with concepts that were new to the audience


SEVEN GAMES LIKE NO MANS SKY +10 HONORABLE MENTIONS

Quote:
The game [Elite Dangerous] features 400 billion different star systems of the Milky Way with real stars, planets, moons and asteroids fields to explore, the possibilities are pretty much endless.


Quote:
A sandbox game with elements of construction, survival, exploration and engineering, Space Engineers is a brilliant space sim with an amazing physics engine.
The game features both singleplayer and multiplayer


Quote:
Rodina is a space exploration game which lets you seamlessly travel across an entire, full-scale solar system galaxy.


why did NMS overshadow all these? Marketing, of fucking course. Promising big and not delivering (which is a false advertisement) . Along with the other factors I shall again acknowledge for your sake such as word of mouth, and being in the right place at the right time.

Quote:
If that were true, Duke Nukem Forever would not have failed to meet sales expectations


"in an earnings call on August 8, 2011, Take-Two stated that Duke Nukem Forever would prove to be profitable for the company."

Meeting expectations is irrelevant. Profitable despite being universally slammed and losing much of its pre-established fanbase after ten years of fucking about through many iterations and internal disputes = what? A result of marketing in the final days, of fucking course.

Quote:
In the case of No Man's Sky and Revision, both heavily relied on smoke and mirror tactics, which only work well the first time.


Maybe, yet who cares how many times? One huge success can set you up for life. One huge undeserving success can overshadow a more deserving one. Fuck knows how many indie games out there were deserving of a portion of the exposure NMS stole all of.

Quote:
In the case of Revision, they tapped into the inherent desire of many Deus Ex fans to see a remade Deus Ex


How'd they manage that considering the only elements of the game actually remade were the datavault images and the soundtrack? Other than that it's mostly a level design mod with expanded levels, with the occasional rearrangement, and the occasional level with next to no changes at all, like the airfield.
I don't recall them ever stating it was to be a remake, at least not where I looked anyway.

Revision promised much more than GMDX ever did? Are you conveniently ignoring GMDX's promise of "improving all aspects of design except the plot and soundtrack", because that's a bigger promise than Revision's to "provide an aesthetic-oriented approach to the original gameplay levels [and remake the soundtrack]".

Quote:
after all GMDX is constricted by its claim of being "faithful to the original".


Now this is just retarded. More than usual for DevAnj.

-Faithful to the original design principles. There's a difference, and it's not constricting, it's empowering, because:
-Every mod or game MUST be built with a set of design principles in mind, otherwise you get an inconsistent mess. Remind you of anything? It just so happens to be empowering because those design principles are very, very good ones ten years in the making culminating into Ion Storm and Deus Ex, and superior than anything some amateur modder could come up with. Just because I follow a discipline It doesn't mean I still can't get creative like adding spiderbots that perform maintenance and walk on ceilings.
-Every extensive mod SHOULD ALWAYS follow the principles of the game it is building on top of, unless it is a total conversion or joke mod. Why? Because otherwise you have a game defined by a set of principles, and mod on top with a different set of principles, with an extremely high probability of the result being an inconsistent mess. Remind you of anything?
-Speaking in pure marketing terms, a mod that is faithful to Deus Ex should have high appeal, as there's a lot of purists and Deus Ex is "The greatest PC game of all time".

As a result of following those principles I've made something very special. A level of design never achieved before by taking the greatest game of all time and giving it the makeover it deserved, to be grandiose. Yet that belief is reinforced by the critical acclaim its received and fan reciting of "the definitive Deus Ex experience", so I'm not talking out my ass. That is very empowering.

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Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:22 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
It depends where your values/interests lie. If marketing is everything then the most popular game with the highest marketing budget should be the best, but that is I believe the perspective of a select few people. Titles with vast marketing structures behind them can fail spectacularly if the quality of the title is poor - in fact the hype can work against them, as I believe it has with No Man's Sky. From now on people will rarely discuss the strengths of that title. Daikatana comes to mind as a classic example. Infamy is not a virtue as far as I am concerned. Deus Ex got a lot of marketing, yes, but its presence as an individual title and, more broadly as a phenomenon in video game culture, derives in large part from its quality and the value of its content.

I think other good examples of 'marketing isn't everything' can be found in the realm of independent games development nowadays. To say that the quality of a title can serve as the impetus for marketing and advertising campaigns that occur after the title is established as a quality indie or 'small-time' games title, helps to explain the success of many popular titles nowadays such as Dota or Minecraft.

As far as its effectiveness goes, marketing does not necessarily act as an educational or persuasive force. Sometimes it simply draws attention to something for better or for worse. Sometimes people are not as stupid as you think and can tell the difference.


Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:44 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
KDawg wrote:
If marketing is everything then the most popular game with the highest marketing budget should be the best


"Is marketing truly everything [between success and failure]" is the topic. OP left that important part out.

Also it's not the budget alone, it's also the effectiveness of the marketing strategy.

Quote:
in fact the hype can work against them, as I believe it has with No Man's Sky


Yes, the only indie game that existed in the masses' mind for two months was a bad thing for the developers. /s
...I get that it could have gone better for them if people didn't inflate expectations perhaps...except not really, because the developers didn't have anything much of substance at all so inflated expectations is the best possible thing that could have happened for them and they fed it with lies.
Doesn't matter either way. It's still a huge win, even after all the refunds.

Quote:
From now on people will rarely discuss the strengths of that title.


They're even discussing it at all, rather than it being entirely invisible like the hundreds (thousands?) of indie devs out there.
And more importantly, it doesn't matter. They've already won and become a success. Sales are most important around release when hype is at climax.

There's divides of indie success somewhere to be defined, works like typical capitalism and economic classes I guess:

Invisible indie dev. This is the majority. this is probably soul-crushing for those that put a lot of work in to their games, I'd vividly imagine.

Middle tier indie dev. Not too many of these, but they make enough money to make a better sequel. Sometimes a little in excess, sometimes not. Still frustrating, but livable. See: Logic Artists.

Jackpot indie dev: Minecraft, NMS etc. Few make the grade, and when they do it's almost always down to marketing and luck, and some of these (like NMS) don't even deserve it. The disproportion of success is also WAY OFF. These make shitloads, while tier 1 invisible devs are in the red and fall through and middle tier either barely scrape through or just get enough.
There can only be one of these max at any given time, because the masses only have the attention span to be hyped about and discuss one, apparently. I'm willing to bet the hype on that level is almost always semi-manufactured (through mass shilling and the like) anyway. why wouldn't it be? Is it illegal to manufacture hype? Nope. Will it make you a shitload of money? Yes. Almost certainly. You just need the resources and marketing savvy to pull it off.

So even if it could have gone better for NMS, they're still upper class or upper-middle tier at least, which is ALWAYS a win, no matter what. Congratulations, you rose above all the struggling invisible indies by telling lies. Hope you can live with that and don't choke on all that cash.

Again, not a paid professional with insider insight, but I'm confident in my observations. I do after all want to be an indie dev, so I hope I'm wrong because I don't have the resources to buy my way to the top, and I'll be lucky if I make it middle tier, only quality would put me there as it has with GMDX, as a middle tier mod (in terms of sheer numbers/download count).

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Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:01 am
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Post Re: Is marketing truly everything?
Cybernetic pig wrote:
Jackpot indie dev: Minecraft, NMS etc.


Minecraft is an example of a major success that didn't have much marketing, ironically.

Your list of games doesn't actually refute anything, since most of those are unreleased games or in Early Access, and in any case neither of them have promised procedurally generated space worlds, fauna, flora etc and more. Also don't bring MMOs to the equation since those typically tend to be large worlds hosted on a server, which is fundamentally different from No Man's Sky.

I would not call Duke Nukem Forever "successful" since these days for a videogame to be considered successful by its publishers it has to meet sales expectations. A lot of Square Enix's 2013 releases were profitable, yet they still cut down on the budget of those franchises since they didn't meet sales expectations.

Quote:
How'd they manage that considering the only elements of the game actually remade were the datavault images and the soundtrack? Other than that it's mostly a level design mod with expanded levels, with the occasional rearrangement, and the occasional level with next to no changes at all, like the airfield.
I don't recall them ever stating it was to be a remake, at least not where I looked anyway.

Revision promised much more than GMDX ever did? Are you conveniently ignoring GMDX's promise of "improving all aspects of design except the plot and soundtrack", because that's a bigger promise than Revision's to "provide an aesthetic-oriented approach to the original gameplay levels [and remake the soundtrack]".


The thing is, the way it was presented Revision never appeared to be just a "level redesign" mod, they made a big deal about improving on the visceral core and adding brand new aesthetic direction to their levels, and as such images of reimagined, stylized versions of Deus Ex levels that were somewhat bland before caught the eye of many a fan.

GMDX's promise on the other hand is rather ambigious and doesn't give much of a hook to catch onto. "Improving all aspects of design"? What does that mean? It just outright says that it "improves everything", and any mod that redoes the gameplay and more substantially can make such a blanket statement. You need to be more direct, need to give something more specific to the people.

Quote:
-Faithful to the original design principles. There's a difference, and it's not constricting, it's empowering, because:


I never said that faithful to the original design principles means you can make absolutely no changes, I just said that it puts more restrictions on what design aspects can be defended. For instance, since Revision never made any claims of being faithful to the original they can make all sorts of fanciful, nonsensical designs and any criticism levied against it can be shut down by saying "that's the point, it's not exactly like the original". Whereas with GMDX doing those sort of changes invites criticism that can't be handled as easily, for example the light aug taking 40 units/m instead of 10 was complained about since it didn't make any sense from the original's design perspective. Same with say, the karkians in the canals or the weird ranged Dragon's Tooth.

Quote:
-Speaking in pure marketing terms, a mod that is faithful to Deus Ex should have high appeal, as there's a lot of purists and Deus Ex is "The greatest PC game of all time".


No, because purists are more likely to stick to the same game they know and love. Especially since it's an old game, and as time passes people will be more interested in experiencing it as a piece of history than playing through it casually. That's not to say there'll be no market for your mod, and a mod that solely polishes stuff or fixes bugs might still be used, but a purist is not going to be weaned to a mod that just promises to "improve everything", especially since that implies significant changes to the game.


Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:52 pm
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