Sample Marketing Plan


1.0 Executive Summary

Mobile News Games LLC (MNG) develops mobile games
relating to current news events. This marketing plan illustrates our
market segments and the strategies we are employing to get customers
and create a solid revenue stream. We are not just any mobile game
developer. Our unique focus of creating games with a news twist gives
us an advantage over our competitors by giving customers a new outlet
to enjoy mobile games. This fills a read need of not just traditional
gamers but expands our reach to people who would normally not play
mobile games yet are amused by the comical angle we use.

We will fund development of our own games by providing consulting services
to create similar games for corporations who are looking to create
mobile games for promotional purposes. These consulting assignments
will come from advertising sponsorship relationships that we will
establish with companies who are interested in embedding their brand
and offers inside our other games and would also like something more
custom that they can offer as their own game. In the first 3 years of
the business, we expect consulting to constitute a large portion of our
revenue stream.

Sales By Year

1.1 Vision

Our vision is to provide people with a brief escape of
fun over the course of their normal day. We do this by
providing them with timely interactive games that they can access on
their mobile devices – games that are easy to play and have some
connection with current pop culture news.

MNG leverages our team’s software development experience to create timely games quickly. Our
marketing challenge is to attract visibility
quickly and we intend to accomplish this by leveraging a multi-pronged
approach that involves social media, email marketing and search engine
optimization strategies to gain market share. As we gain traction in
the marketplace, word of mouth will lift our game downloads
significantly.

1.2 Objectives

  1. Generate over $400,000 in sales by the end of year 1.
  2. Increase sales by 100% by the end of year 2.
  3. Land 4 custom consulting game development projects within 12 months.

2.0 Target Markets

Our ideal customer is between the ages of 13 and 25
who enjoys playing video games and has a mobile phone that allows
applications to be downloaded, such as the iPhone, Android or
Blackberry. They often have an Xbox, Wii, Playstation or other
TV-based video game unit at home. They may also have a portable gaming
unit such as the DS/DSi and other portable gadgets such as an iPod.

Customers
are typically single and male and own or have access to a home
computer, PC or Mac. They have a wide range of disposable income. Some
are teenagers living at home, others are college students or those who
have joined the workforce in the last 5 years.

Our game design consulting customer is the VP of marketing or
equivalent position of a medium to large organization who is looking for
creative promotional methods for their products and services.

2.1 Market Definition and Segmentation

We target two segments: mobile game users and organizations that
want to reach them. In both of these segments, customers are computer
and mobile phone savvy and enjoy creative experiences.

1. Mobile Game Users

There are two types of customers that define the demographic of
mobile gamers: teens (including pre-teens) and young adults, which for
the purposes of this marketing plan will include teenagers age 18 and
above as they are considered young adults by the general population as
well as by the law. The primary difference between the two demographic
segments is who provides the money for game purchases.

Free mobile games:

  • We
    offer trimmed back versions of our games for free so that users can get
    a taste of the full game without committing any money up front.>
  • Some
    features of free versions are disabled and advertising is displayed in
    some strategic locations within the game so that users are not bothered
    or distracted by the ads. For example, a soda company may pay for a
    sponsorship and we might embed their name as a clickable (tappable)
    billboard that appears as if it is part of the game itself.

Paid mobile games:

  • Our
    paid mobile games contain a broader set of features. The price range
    is between $1.99 and $4.99 in order to create very low price resistance
    for customers.
  • Paid games are also monetized via clickable (tappable) ad sponsorships embedded within the games.

Games are available via instant download on their appropriate mobile platform (i.e., Apple’s Appstore for the iPhone).

2. Organizations That Want to Reach Youth and Young Adults

Additionally,
there
is typically one type of customer who purchases custom mobile
game development services: VP of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer.

Their intent is to promote their brand and products to the demographic
that overlaps with mobile game users.

2.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

Our strategy focuses on developing an initial set of libraries
containing game attributes that can be combined to create new games.
Upon launching the first set of games, we will stay in regular contact
with our customers via numerous online methods, including social media
and email marketing. After creating these libraries and games, we will
be able to market fast-turnaround consulting services to organizations
who would like their own promotional games.

2.3 Target Market: Mobile Game Users

Our mobile games have a timely connection to
current
news events. We release new games within two weeks of major news
stories. For example, if a politician is involved in a scandal, we can
leverage one of our current game architectures and customize it with
the names of people involved in the scandal and even make a comical
interactive spoof out of events. If a celebrity makes a foolish
comment, we access our library of features to put together a game that
pokes fun at the celebrity. The mobile game user market enjoys
interacting with games that give them a sense of power and excitement,
allowing them in some way to live vicariously through the game.

2.3.1 Needs and Requirements

Mobile game users get tired of games quickly and
are
constantly looking for new games to play. With the plethora of news
events always in circulation, we will target the news media so they
discuss games related to the stories they are covering. The games we
develop will target stories that are covered by the types of media
outlets this demographic consumes.

The
users in this segment also has limited financial capacity. Teens
typically get their money to make game purchases from their parents,
which can be in the form of gifts or allowances, or from low paying
jobs. Older teens and young adults also have limited financial
capacity yet choose to spend part of their disposable income on games
as one of their sources of entertainment.

Very
frequently, these customers talk to each other about which games they
enjoy, including strategies for playing and winning. They also
participate in online forums and discussion groups to gather tips and
other information to help them play or to find new challenges.
Additionally, they enjoy being listed as the “high score” when there is
a public setting available for players. We intend to offer this public
setting by allowing the customer to upload their score to our web site
for each game. The highest scores will be posted, giving the player
worldwide “bragging rights”. As a result, the word of mouth potential
for timely games is explosive.

2.3.2 Distribution Channels

iPhone games are distributed through the Appstore which is currently controlled by Apple.
One of the obstacles we have to overcome is the speed with which Apple
approves applications for downloading, which will be important for us
since our games have a time sensitive nature to them as they will be
popular as long as a news story is in circulation.

Google’s Android offers an open source model so they will likely surpass the iPhone in the number of applications
available soon. This also eliminates the need for review and allows us
to post new applications quickly. As more applications come out for
this device, it will gain marketshare. We want to be positioned so
that we provide excellent games for this community.

Blackberry applications are controlled by Blackberry through
Blackberry App World. Their users tend to be older and more focused on
business uses for their mobile devices. Because of this, we will not
focus our initial efforts on Blackberry. However, we do have the
expertise to build Blackberry applications and will create custom games
for this device for consulting clients who would like them.

2.3.3 Competitive Forces

There are many mobile game developers. However, few are actual companies. Most games are
developed by one person who does not have the marketing savvy to
integrate advertising sponsorships into their games as we have outlined
in this marketing plan. Our unique twist on the types of games is also
an advantage because we will not have to spend as much time and energy
thinking of the game themes – the news of the day will provide that
fodder so our efforts can be concentrated on developing that real-life
story into a game.

2.3.4 Communications

We will leverage social media and word of mouth for
the vast majority of our marketing using platforms such as Twitter,
Facebook, Orkut and MySpace. These platforms are widely used by the
customers in our demographic market. We will make announcements via
regular tweets and updates to our fan page on Facebook.

The
newsworthy component of our mobile games also makes it enticing for
traditional media to publicize a game that is related to a current news
story.

We
will also use our email marketing list which is comprised of people who
have expressed interest in knowing when we release new games. We have
segmented our email list so that we can send appropriate emails to
media and different ones to actual gamers, our customers.

2.3.5 Keys to Success

Each of our postings to social media sites will
include a trackable link so we know how many people click on each
post. Using online tools like link redirectors (i.e., bit.ly, tr.im
and others), we can also see how many of readers and followers repost
or forward such links. We will also include trackable links within our
email marketing messages.

Those
who click to find more information about a game will be directed to
landing pages, which are web pages that contain more information about
a specific game, including details and links to download the games.

These landing pages will be optimized for search engines (we have SEO,
search engine optimization, expertise) so that when Internet users
search on various keywords, our pages will rank highly in their search
results.

Using
online analytics tools, we will be able to see how many people click on
various links in our media campaigns to go to the landing pages and how
many click to download each game. However, online clicks cannot track
users who use their mobile phone to download the apps directly, which
may comprise the bulk of our downloads. For those, tracking of
downloads is provided by the platform such as Appstore.

2.4 Target Market: Organizations Who Want to Reach Youth and Young Adults

Mobile
game users consist of young people. Since the youth and young adult
demographic is so large, it is also very lucrative. There are
countless products targeting this demographic, from soda manufacturers
to clothing designers to hair product companies. This segment can also
consist of recruiters, which can be for military service or other
jobs. Companies who already spend millions of dollars on marketing to
this group are regularly looking for newer, more creative ways to reach
this market to reinforce their brand and sell products.

2.4.1 Needs and Requirements

Organizations
who want to reach males (and females, though it is a smaller proportion
of our defined customer base) between 13 and 25 realize that this group
has a lot of spending power. This age group is not yet used to saving
money so they typically spend a lot of what they earn. Vice Presidents
and Chief Marketing Officers of these organizations want to reach this
market early and need to do so in catchy, creative ways.

Much
to the dismay of an older generation, teens and young adults are
reading less and spending more time in front of a screen, whether it be
television, a computer or a mobile phone with a variety of
applications. The VP or CMO needs to reach their target market where
they hang out. They typically have large budgets to spend on marketing
and are not afraid to try new things, as long as they show results.

The
typical tenure of a VP or CMO is about 3 years so there is a good deal
of industry churn. This is a good thing for us in the sense that when
a senior executive like this leaves to go to another company and they
have had a good experience with our products and services, they are
likely to hire us to create similar results for them in their new
position.

Our job is to make them look good to their superiors
by getting them more entrenched with the demographic they are trying to
reach.

2.4.2 Distribution Channels

Reaching senior marketing
executives is typically done through a variety of means. Since we have
limited resources and need to manage our finances very effectively, we
will focus on two: advertising and networking. The advertising will
primarily be online via search engine ads so we can see the results
within days instead of not knowing whether a print ad has any effect.

We have identified 4 trade shows and 3 conferences that these
executives typically attend over the course of a year. Part of our
marketing plan is to attend these events to network with these
potential buyers. We also will submit responses to calls for papers to
be speakers at some of the events when possible.

2.4.3 Competitive Forces

As
with the mobile game user segment, there are a lot of software
developers targeting organizations to build custom games. Some are
developing games overseas at lower costs. Even some of the larger
domestic companies outsource portions of their game development. In
order to keep up with pricing pressures, we have established ties with
two overseas organizations to help us with game development. That will
enable our domestic staff to focus on marketing and on project
management as we release new games and create the game component
libraries.

2.4.4 Communications

To get these high level executives, we will develop an online ad
campaign with landing pages containing lead generation forms that
visitors can fill out to get whitepapers on using mobile gaming to
attract customers. Our white papers will include the concept of
embedding advertising within the games as well as examples of custom
games created just for a specific organization.

We also will network at major trade shows and conferences, including
obtaining speaking engagements where we can discuss case studies to
expose our concepts and strategies to the right level of buyer.

2.4.5 Keys to Success

The
primary key to success is to be able to show case studies in which
other companies leveraged the power of mobile games to reach their
market. This can be tracked using metrics such as the number of times
a gamer clicked on an ad embedded into a game, the number of times a
custom game was downloaded or an increase in sales of the product being
promoted. Success can also be tracked by industry buzz.

For
example, fast food chain Burger King created a Facebook application
that allowed users to earn points for “unfriending” one of their
friends. The application would show the image of the friend burning.
Upon burning 10 friends, the user would be entitled to a free burger.
Word of this application spread very quickly and quite a few Facebook
users enjoyed participating. This campaign did two things: generated
traffic into restaurants and generated a tremendous amount of media
buzz. It cost significantly less than a paid advertising campaign
involving television time purchases.

3.0 Marketing Plan Strategy

Gamers like to share notes with other gamers. On our
web site, we will create a forum where people can post and respond to
comments freely as well as offer suggestions for new games.

Forums will require registration and users who post
more frequently will be rewarded with a special tag, a gold star, next
to their avatar to show other users that they are a “super contributor”
to the forums. For our demographic, this is a badge of honor that they
try to attain proudly.

3.1 Emphasize Creativity, Service and Speed to Market

Since our games will be tied to current news events, we will
emphasize our focus on creativity along with spectacular service and
speed of development for our consulting clients. It is important for
us to get to market quickly in order to capitalize on the news event
that is associated with the game. The longer the delay between game
conception and game release, the less the penetration of that game.

3.2 Emphasize Fun

Our goal is to establish a reputation for games that
poke fun at what many would consider humerous or ridiculous actions by
well-known people. Each game will contain a link to our web site where
users can find out about more games and subscribe to our email list and
follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Additionally, to help promote games via word of mouth,
each game has the option to notify a friend. So, a user can send a
text message to a friend instantly to share their excitement or
recommendation about the game.

4.0 Expense Budget Summary

Marketing expenses are mostly for staff required to do
the marketing activities listed. The vast majority of the software
tools needed to implement the activities, such as analytics and landing
page creation, are available for free. The exceptions to this are for
specific tools like email marketing and forums.

4.1 Expense Budget by Month – Year 1

We do not expect an increase in marketing staff
requirements during year 1 because one person can actually do a lot of
these activities. Once they have put marketing plan processes into
place, the marketing activities upkeep becomes easier and can be handled by junior staff. Below is a breakdown of marketing expenses by month for year 1.

Monthly Expense Budget

4.2 Expense Budget by Year

We anticipate second and third year marketing expenses to increase,
again mostly for covering the cost of additional staff to help
facilitate the additional requirements for marketing activities. We expect sales and marketing expenses to be around 15% of total sales.

Annual Expense Budget

Table: Marketing Expense Budget

5.0 Sales Forecast

Sales will come from three sources:

  1. Game downloads – this includes free and paid downloads. The free downloads are monetized from embedded advertising sponsorships
  2. Embedded Advertising Sponsorships – ads embedded in both free and paid games
  3. Custom
    games developed for companies
    – this would be consulting projects to
    develop iPhone, Blackberry and Android promotional games

Sales costs relate to the fees
charged by our channel partners for carrying the games, such as
Appstore, or for our estimated costs for staff to sell ad sponsorships
or develop custom games.

5.1 Sales Forecast by Month – Year 1

Below is our first year’s sales forecast broken down by product type, estimated unit pricing and costs:

6.0 Progress Measurement and Monitoring

In order to make sure that we are on track, we
have created a variety of key metrics that we will measure on a regular
basis. These may require adjustments and fine tuning as we progress.
They are our best estimates based on currently available market
research.

6.1 Key Marketing Metrics

We estimate that 1 of every 10 people who visit the
landing page or see a tweet or Facebook post will download a game.
Other metrics include the average sale price estimated based on paid
downloads as well as sales of advertising sponsorships and custom game
development.

Table: Key Marketing Metrics

Below is a breakdown of key marketing metrics measured by month for year 1:

6.2 Other Success Metrics

Other key metrics we will measure to monitor our success are as follows:

  • Number of speaking engagements
  • Five star game reviews
  • Industry awards
  • Number of games developed
  • Number of game feature libraries created
  • Number of deals with channel partners
  • Email list size

We will
also pay attention to the number of tweets we make and the number
of followers on Twitter as well as the number of Facebook fans we get.
Below is a breakdown of other success metrics by month for year 1:

7.0 Marketing Organization

Mobile News Games is a small company with very focused aspirations. Our team is comprised of two unique individuals who have a solid background in mobile communications and marketing. Together with a team of local and international software development staff, we are able to bring to market a wide array of unique mobile games that provide an experience that other gaming companies do not.

Bill Philips, President, oversees the general management, including game development, of MNG. Prior to forming the company, he was Vice President of Products at a major wireless telecommunications provider for 5 years. He is also a member of the Mobile Marketing Association.

Donna Paster, VP Marketing, is responsible for all areas of marketing. She co-founded MNG with Bill Philips. Donna’s prior experience includes developing the key marketing plan that launched several mobile versions of games for a large video game producer. Donna will be assisted by 2 marketing interns hired from local universities as co-op students throughout the year. These students will handle the more routine aspects of the marketing efforts while Donna focuses on the key strategic relationships.