The Wonders and Stresses of Social Marketing
Dear Loyal Backers –
Thanks to your generous contributions and pre-orders, this game is well on its way. This morning we hit the 90% mark of our fundraising goal, and again, it’s all thanks to you.
Taking a product to market is a very new experience for me, and very exciting. I recently described to my brother that, “I’m 24, I’m living in LA, and I’m trying to sell something.” I continued to explain how, “there are these grenades of reality exploding all around me and I’m quickly realizing things like: ‘Oh, that’s what advertisers are trying to do. Oh, That’s what sales reps are. Oh, that’s what business people think about. Etc”’
So maybe “grenades of reality” isn’t the perfect metaphor, but nevertheless, in the course of this project, I’m trying to relate that my understanding of the world is quickly expanding, and I’m gaining some new sensitivities to the processes of marketing and business at work in the world around me.
On a slightly different topic, some of you might have noticed that there was a delay since my last backer update. This is because I decided to step away from the game and the marketing for a few weeks in order to gain some perspective. In addition, I thought it would be nice to give everyone else a break – because there’s really no need to harangue people over the holidays. I try to be sensitive about haranguing people, but still, sometimes when I’m explaining the game, I feel like I’m cornering a person and all but holding them upside down by their ankles, waiting for the change to fall out of their pockets – convincing them that yes, yes they would like to buy a copy of my delightful board game.
I joke, but I really do hope that nobody feels harangued. One of my primary concerns is mixing my social world with my marketing world. It’s a dangerous territory to be in, and of course I sincerely invite your feedback and advice along the way.
At a little dinner gathering over the holidays, a family friend asked me what I do, and I said, “Well, I sort of hold people hostage and enthusiastically explain my board game.”
A little later in the same evening, several people asked to see it and I found myself bringing the prototype downstairs and putting it on a coffee table in the middle of the room where people gathered. For a brief instant, before addressing the small crowd, I wondered if I should just go ahead and lock the doors for good measure. I wanted to start by saying, “Alright, everyone just stay calm. This will only take a minute. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but nobody’s leaving until I’ve thoroughly explained my excitement about this board game.”
So, yes, I’m very thrilled to be selling this board game, but because I’m so new to this, I also want to make sure everyone feels good about it and no one feels bombarded, or turned off by receiving just one too many emails or pressured to buy a copy, or anything like that. That’s why I took some time off – just to make sure I’m going about things in a positive way as I continue to spread the word about the game.
I know myself too well, and I can easily envision, in some version of the future - I can just imagine myself taking it too far and shaking some little old lady by the shoulders and exclaiming: “I SAID, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY A COPY OF MY DELIGHTFUL BOARD GAME!?” ….Marketing, light robbery. Oh god, screw it, what’s the difference…
So, bottom-line, I’m thrilled about my board game (I built the symbolism in such a way that I myself would continue to find new meanings in it, and new threads of interpretation) but I’m also wary of how my marketing comes off and still learning a lot along the way. Thanks for your patience.
I have to say that, all things considered, my backers are my favorite people to address, because I feel like you’ve at least shown some interest in what’s going on here. You’re on board (or at least curious), and that means a lot to me. In a project like this one (which is very new and very strange and unusual) it’s very easy to get discouraged. Some days I’ll look at the box and materials and wonder. “Wait, what am I doing? Does this make sense? Am I deluded? Why on earth would anyone want to interpret the materials of a board game?” But then there are you, my backers, who assure my that – yes – this seems to make sense and it is interesting and unusual.
This means that all of you are not just my financial support, but also my secret stash of confidence and resolve as I move forward with this game.
Thanks so much for your loyal support. It goes a long way.
ps. If you find the opportunity, please help spread the word about the game. I will write more backer updates in the weeks to come.
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