Our series of Viking Profiles aims to shed some light on the some of the lesser-known roles in the gaming industry. Today we’re talking with Viking James to learn more about what it’s like to be a Product Marketing Manager at Big Viking Games.
What is your role at Big Viking Games, and how long have you been with the company?
James: I’ve been with Big Viking Games for over two years as a Product Marketing Manager for two of our titles YoWorld and Fish World.
What does a Product Marketing Manager do at a games company?
James: I work with the rest of the team to promote new features, events, and content that gets released into the game. We also work on the monetization aspects of our games, how to get new and lapsed players playing, and we analyze the team’s decisions to see what worked and what could be improved next time. It’s not all business though. We also do loads of fun things like put together email newsletters for our players, make trailers for exciting new features, produce fun social media content on Facebook, and conduct player feedback surveys which help us determine what our players like as well as what they want to see next.
What does an average day look like for you as a Product Marketing Manager?
James: The first thing I do is look at revenues from the previous day. I look at what went well and what could be improved. The rest of my day is dedicated to a variety of things such as planning for future releases and marketing campaigns, implementing these plans, or doing analysis on past marketing efforts.
“As soon as we started adding incentives like free items for returning, the click-through rates on the ads doubled.”
How did you become a Product Marketing Manager?
James: I went to university for business specializing in marketing. After completing the program, I started out my career as a Product Marketing Analyst at another games company called Magmic. There, I worked on mobile games like New York Times Crossword, Rubik’s Cube, Scattergories, and Apples to Apples. After a year or so I owned the marketing strategy for all of Magmic’s Mattel branded mobile games as their Product Marketing Manager.
How has your career progressed at Big Viking Games?
James: I started at Big Viking Games as a (lonely) team of one. Over time and as responsibilities increased, I was able to grow the team and we have since added six fantastic members across the Marketing and Content Marketing Teams.
What is something you enjoy as a part of your role at BVG?
James: I really enjoy the strategic elements, like coming up with new ideas for our promotions, executing them, and looking at how they performed. One fun example is that we were looking for ways to improve our ads that target people who have stopped playing our games. As soon as we started adding incentives like free items for returning, the click-through rates on the ads doubled.
What’s the best thing about working on Worlds products?
James: Definitely the people I get to work with; the team is so talented and energetic. Also, of course the fans who are so passionate about our games. It really makes you feel like you’re part of something amazing, that a lot of people genuinely care about.
What’s something you learned from working on Worlds products?
James: I’ve learned a lot about working on a live service game. That’s the main difference between our games and what I worked on in the past. We release new content every single day, so I’ve learned to be more agile in execution and also to be more thick-skinned – not all players will embrace everything we do.
What has been your favourite project so far?
James: Hands-down the YoWorld Piggy Bank promotional video. We basically bought a bunch of piggy banks and destroyed them in slow motion. We had a ton of fun, the fans loved it, and we got over 15,000 views on Facebook. I’m really proud of it.
“… Some of our players who met in the game are now married in real life.”
What does it take to be successful in Product Marketing?
James: I think it takes someone who is strategic, creative, and able to multitask. They should be willing to try new things and be reflective enough to learn from their mistakes. Knowing and understanding key metrics is very important as well as understanding as much as you can about the players and products.
What made you decide to apply to Big Viking Games?
James: It was a very unique opportunity as Big Viking Games had never before had an actual marketing team. I got to start from scratch and make some big, impactful changes. Rewarded video ads were something we had only scratched the surface of and with some key changes it started adding 5% to annual revenue. Email newsletters were alo something that we had to implement from scratch, and in a year we went from 0 to over 70,000 subscribers. Free lunches and the awesome people were also big incentives.
“… We are able to give our players a platform to express themselves creatively and socially.”
What do you find most challenging about your role at Big Viking Games? What do you find the most rewarding?
James: It’s most challenging trying our best to make sure all of the fans are happy. Since they’re so passionate, devoted, and diverse, making sure they all enjoy what we offer is quite challenging. We’re constantly consulting our internal community team, doing surveys, and thinking critically about the impact of our decisions on our fans. However, it is extremely rewarding to see positive impacts in general when we try new things.
Now that you’re in this industry, and you spend your days working with games and its fan base, has your opinion shifted about games and their value in people’s lives?
James: Yes, in games like YoWorld and Fish World, there is such as sense of community that offers players not only a chance to have fun but also to make new friends and create real, long-lasting relationships. For example, some of our players who met in the game are now married in real life.
The creativity of our players is also mind-boggling. It’s such a rewarding feeling seeing some of the houses and fish tanks that our players create. I’m glad we are able to give our players a platform to express themselves creatively and socially.
If you’re interested in starting a career in the gaming industry as part of our Viking horde, visit the Big Viking Games Careers page to see our current openings. If you have questions of your own about the gaming industry or how to make your start, tweet them to us @bigvikinggames.