I think about this topic a lot and I think most people refer “Cult of the New” to the people who buy games and feed the machine with the 50 new Kickstarters this week from every board game publisher ever. There are so many new games coming out that it is very, very difficult to keep up with and truly a lot of them are not “instant classics” so they won’t be around long on anyones “must have” list anyway.
One of the things that disturbs me is the way publishers tend to ignore what they have already put out in favor of constantly having to put out a new game and keeping that excitement going. Yes it is exciting to put out a new game and have new product to talk about but really, all the time when you haven’t even begun to maximize the sale of your current products? What about the first 3 games you put out? Once the Kickstarter was done the publishers basically stopped talking their product. At the clip the board game industry is growing and the amount of new people discovering games and the hobby, publishers are doing themselves a disservice by not promoting your whole game library constantly. Just because a publisher has a new product doesn’t mean you forget about the old. Old being completely relative here as it maybe only 12 months old before it is basically forgotten.
Once the review cycle seems to end for a new game, you rarely see any promotion on a game. The publishers I guess don’t feel a need to keep promoting to potential new customers or maybe they think the distributor is supposed to do this? I am not sure.
I wrote a blog for the music/entertainment industry called “Creating a “Buzz,” It’s Your Responsibility” because so often people seem to miss the whole point of marketing, branding and selling. As the publisher it is no one’s but yours to sell your games. You can’t rely on Board Game Geek to be your only source of marketing as good as it is or the reviewers. There is so much new content on their everyday, it can be very easy for your game to be lost in the information vortex.
I can only assume the reason you went through all the trouble and hard work of putting out a game that you want to sell as many copies as possible for as long as possible. Yes, I know there are a few that don’t really care as I have talked with them. They just wanted to put out a game and hope people liked it. They had no desire to create a career of do the work of promoting the game itself. So if it is true that you want to sell as many games as possible, that means you commit to promoting for the life of the game.
In the excitement of putting out a new game, we kind of get addicted to having something new to promote and all the excitement that surrounds it. When we don’t have anything new coming out, we feel as if we are falling behind everyone else and possibly feel pressure to have new product all the time. Musicians do this all the time. They record 17 CD’s but only sold about 300 copies of each. They feel like their music is old but yet no one has heard it so it was fresh to the rest of the world and instead of focusing on a dedicated marketing and social media campaign, they rely on new music to have something to talk about. This is just throwing money down the drain constantly. Don’t do this with your board games. Work the plan and keep your games out there for new people to discover all the time. There is a reason that Ticket to Ride keeps selling. They are great games with a ton of work put in by Alan Moon at every convention possible and working it, working it, working it. Having your games listed on your site is not enough. That isn’t actively promoting or selling, that is passively promoting and selling.
Focus on great games, not quantity of games. How many Kickstarters have come out that you still want a year after they have come and gone?
As a business owner, don’t be a “Cult of the New” company. Be a “Cult of the Quality” company. Put out great games, developing a serious marketing campaign and a long term social media campaign for the long term on all of your games and sell more games!