Thursday, December 30, 2010

Death to All Who Inform Me of Cool Things!

From the comments on Trollsmyth's latest post, among similar sentiments:
"The smell of marketing arouses in me the lust to kill."

From Wikipedia:
Marketing is the process of performing market research, selling products and/or services to customers and promoting them via advertising to further enhance sales. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.

In other words: Marketing is figuring out who might be interested in your product, where to find them, and how best to explain your product to them. It includes advertising, but it also involves establishing and maintaining relationships at all different links of the chain of interaction between the producer and consumer of a product.

Or, in other other words: Marketing is not lies and voodoo mind control. Marketing -- or at least, good marketing -- connects you with stuff you'd like but might not otherwise have known about. Please stop embarrassing yourselves.


  1. It's not all marketing--it's when marketing also includes changing the actual product in order to making all these wonderful connections that people object to.

  2. Or maybe it's a subtler point:

    Do the pictures included in an RPG product constitute marketing or part of the content or both?

    For me, I feel they should be considered part of the content. That way nobody "from marketing" gets to tell the artist what should be in them and the pictures are more likely to come out unique and personal. Telling Ian Miller or Frank Frazetta or Erol Otus or Trampier to draw a convincing heroic female instead of whatever they were gonna draw is a recipe for disaster and wasted talent.

    If, on the other hand, the image on the product is just--or even partially--marketing (which assumes you think, for some reason, that this marketing will work.) then you can tell the artist to just paint whatever the hell you want them to because if they don't they're interfering with getting the product to the market.

  3. @Oddyssey:
    Marketing is the science that works like voodoo: kinda sorta if you pray, and everyone's trying, and occasionally they succeed. Working in that place will disabuse of the nature of human perception: *hint* not what you think. Statistical misanalysis, data massaging, and entrenched ideals grate after awhile. Doing it is one thing, doing it well, is another.

    @ZAK S: Tight rein over artists is a Bad Thing: hire only those who come up with stuff you think is applicable. Frazetta can only draw Conan dudes, everyone knows that! :-) All kidding aside, Erol Otus can draw whatever the fuck he wants, He's awesome. No-one drew like him in the hobby, and like none, since. He's A#1! His stuff with Jim Aparo's(my opinion), is what awesome is supposed to look like!

    More convincing heroic females would be cool, not to mention more convincing heroic males(seriously, guys from early 2000's artwork, stop standing around, and looking at the viewer! Kill some stuff, or dungeoncrawl, or something...) In other words, Wayne Reynolds(and the like) can only illustrate every OTHER book in the industry instead of all of 'em!

  4. Just a question for Zak- Didn't you change the D&D edition that you guys play on the videocast to 4e in order to appease your sponsorship? Surely, that was a decision made with marketing in mind?

    Maybe I'm wrong. I check in on your blog from time to time, but I haven't really been keeping up with the videos. But if it IS true, I'd like to know how that decision was philosophically different than one that changes artwork to appeal, or not alienate, to a certain group.

  5. @thraxian

    No, I didn't. Where did you dream up that hogwash?
    In fact, the EXACT opposite--we refused to change it to 4e to appease the sponsorship.

  6. Okay, my mistake then.

  7. Zak S: The issue that brings up for me is, where is the line between product and marketing? To a certain degree every aspect of a product is part of it's marketing -- that's the concept of "brand."

    I think you're right and that you have an important point insofar as you say that art and artists really should be given respect on par with the writing sides of these projects, and some of the language that me and the "pro-marketing" side of the debate have been using obscures that. I don't think we'd agree about the appropriate role of commerce in making "good art," or the definition of "good art," but you're definitely driving home a point that us more writery types tend to devalue if we're not thinking about.

    velaran: Eh. Yes and no. What you're saying is probably true when it comes to advertising -- I'd say absolutely true, but I actually have no direct experience with advertising. But a lot of people get really confused about what marketing is and talk about it like advertising and marketing are the same thing, which is really what's gotten me grouchy here.

    GenCon, for instance, is basically one huge marketing event. The dealer hall is obviously wall to wall marketing, but the convention games are basically all marketing as well. Word-of-mouth advertising, maybe, but they still fall under that header. There are industry parties where you can meet folks who might be able to advance your gaming career. But it's a fun experience in itself, and even taken as pure marketing, it's a useful product -- go to GenCon and you're liable to find out about a bunch of cool stuff you wouldn't have known about otherwise, or a cool person who's perfect for your latest project. It's not fundamentally manipulative.

    JB: You dabble in the black arts under discussion, I take it? ;)

  8. @Oddysey:
    It's the nature of the beast, unfortunately. Marketing/Advertising is Forest/Trees analogy, ya know.(Hence why many people are befuddled at exact distinctions; sorta like Software/Hardware divide to those unschooled in rudimentary Computer Science.) It's not a fundamental evil profession, but it is chaotic.

    Death to Marketeers is a little much though, especially if Guilty By Association.(And they're not worth that much EXP.[Except flavorologists]) Of course, some people, for example: sociologists would posit marketing can go too far sometimes(as with anything), say particularly in the realms of politics: i. e. the 'pseudo-event'. The fear that the public is too easily swayed by superficialities like trivia, the physical image of celebrity, riches, etc... leads to: 'screw the guys who do that to us!' It, of course, is now standard to mention Malcolm Gladwell in these discussions, so: POW!

    I enjoy the blog. Glad to see you're still around!

    P. S. I responded to your comment under Marketing and Happiness in Trollsmyth's Blog, btw.

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