First-Person Marketer

First-Person Marketer
Trolls, Haters and Flame War Generals… Thank You

JP Sherman | 7 Sep 2010 14:00
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If I find that there's a high percentage of Anarchist-Trolls, I look to see the comments that follow it. It's similar to politics, Anarchist-Trolls activate the base, they stimulate conversation and you can measure the relative size of your fan base by the arguments against these trolls.

Techno-Trolls are the best types. They'll scour obscure corners of the web to post new technologies that may be unknown to you to prove that your game sucks. They'll display their encyclopedic knowledge of past games that potentially could have the same flaws. Lastly, they'll drop links of other companies that may be doing something similar. Obsessive Techno-Trolls do a significant portion of your competitive research for you.

The Skeptic-Trolls find the weakest points in your message. They rip them out and dissect them in front of you until all that's left is the still beating heart. They're cold, they're calculating and they're the marketer's best critics.

The second best source for competitive research is the Brand Loyalist-Troll. Assuming you're not on the receiving end of their loyalty, there are no better curators of your competitors' history, plans, media and games. They're a regular contributor to their brands' forums and they're up to date with the news. More than once, I've gleaned critical information from a patent search, a few rumors and reading the apologetics of a Brand Loyalist-Troll.

The Fanboy-Troll is the weakest link in the troll ecosystem. They bring little to the conversation other than accusations and one-word rebuttals. Fortunately, good communities are quick to squish the Fanboy-Troll

Being a Product Fundamentalist, Yet a Data Agnostic
It's the marketer's job to be a bridge between the outside world and the production and management teams. A marketer needs to be a fundamentalist, without looking too crazy. To the communities, on the social networks, in the press releases and during interviews, the marketer's job is to present the product as having value to the right audience. Messages are crafted to make sure that audience understands that this game will bring hours and hours of fun. The marketing and PR teams brief the game representatives going in front of the public and in front of the cameras. These teams tell them what to say and what not to say.

Internally, the marketer has to communicate what the data shows. He or she needs to be able to balance the flames and the fans and collect quantifiable data to show the other teams. It's easy to find evidence to support marketing's internal assumptions, but any good marketer needs to understand that it's not about their own ego; it's about the people who want to buy and play their games. The best check against the marketer's own ego is looking at marketing through the eyes of trolls, haters and flame-war generals.

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