Advertising as a Subset of Marketing
I generally classify advertising as any form of media that presents the consumer with a clear "call to action." Simply put, the call to action is the button that says, "Click here." It's the voiceover telling the consumer, "Call now," and it's the banner ad that tells you, "Come Play, My Lord." The purpose of media like teasers, trailers and screenshots is to generate excitement and buzz. While I hate piling critiques on a person who I admire, Nicholas Lovell states in his article, "I mean any muppet could spend $1 million on some TV ads, a few magazine spreads and the usual web suspects like Eurogamer and IGN right."
Could that Muppet research the demographics and purchasing behaviors of the audiences of those selected networks? Could that hunk of singing felt create an online campaign tightly geo-targeted to population statistics and accurately distribute the media budget to the areas that have high concentrations of likely purchasers? It's doubtful. While I understand the tendency to view spending the marketing budget on advertisements about as accurate as a monkey with a machine gun. While, that monkey will hit the target every once in a while, modern digital media has become so accurate with targeting and reporting, I'd be able to tell you if the ad, "Buy Now!" performs better than the ad "Buy NOW!" (For the record, "Buy Now!" works better, apparently people think the "Buy NOW!" ad's yelling at them for some reason).
Now that I've essentially unloaded on an unsuspecting Nicholas Lovell, I think both he and Stew were mostly right. Integrating marketing during each phase of the game development process can lead to a better game, a clearer message of value to the community, an excellent reception upon sales day, and of course, higher profits. My disagreement was primarily to clarify some of the common fallacies that I've tried to address during my career as a marketer. Where do you draw those lines between marketing and development? Are those lines clearly delineated or are they merely fuzzy interactions of overlapping skills?
I call it "making sausage" because when the marketing, product and development teams start the process of balancing the different goals of each team, often, it's not a smooth process. The creative vision can be compromised with too much reliance on focus group information. The game could be a product of pure creativity and passion and yet have no audience. Technological constraints like game balance and level design can put artificial restrictions on the vision and limit what the marketer can reveal. When the smoke clears and the people are picking shrapnel out of their skin, the vision of the game, balanced with technology and marketing can produce amazing works of art. When they're out of balance, the game suffers.