The one thing we do not hear about much is exactly what and why Games Workshop has moved to such a secretive marketing strategy. Personally I have my opinions it simply to boost sales to what was becoming an irrelevant publication, White Dwarf. Not to mention there were a couple manager leaks that occurred, but that is what happens.


Personally I do not like how secretive Games Workshop has become. Basically its come down to this, Games Workshop is trying to keep a tight lip on everything until it is announced in White Dwarf. So you get about 2 weeks notice before a big release. It is a pretty awful policy for most of us out here. It is too fun and exciting to read and find new rumors and information about upcoming releases. It also helps some people plan their budgets accordingly, or if I know something cool is coming out that I want, I wont spend the money elsewhere.

My rumor net is pretty large, so does it effect me personally? Somewhat. It means that I have to be more vigilant in finding my rumors. It also means that there are less people sending me information as well. Otherwise, I am hoping that things will eventually loosen up, but I am not much on hope, I deal with things as they are, and plan accordingly. I cannot change the policy, only give my views on it encase they read them.

So much information gets lost when it comes out of Games Days, that its hard to grab the few that are interesting. So I grabbed this before it got lost to the tide of too much info.

via kitch102
So I garnered very little in the way of concrete information throughout the day, staff were being a lot more tight lipped than expected regarding forth coming releases - all I got was the whole "we're working on a lot of things, keep an eye on WD" yadda yadda yadda.

Interestingly, in the sermon thing that I attended, their head of studio said the secretive marketing strategy was just an experiment and if enough people didn't like it, they'd drop it. Needless to say that I put a written feedback slip over to the WNT guys, saying pretty much what everyone has said - hobbyists budget for their purchases and if you let them know in advance of what they can get, you'll see happier customers and an increase in sales on launch day. Here's hoping that they'll listen, though obviously if you feel the same way, we'll all benefit from you writing in to tell them to stop being so bloody stupid.

21 Comments:

  1. It sounds like you've been staring into the Warp.

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  2. I stare into the warp quite a bit. Its perty

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  3. Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the Games Workshop Marketing Department gazes also into you.

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  4. GW is being stupid about this. Showing off what they are working on is a way to wet our appetites. Keeping everything closed lipped until 2 weeks beforehand is not very smart.

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  5. Personally, I think its a good idea, financially. Keeping a tight lip on forthcoming releases helps sales of older models that are about to re-done. It's quite possible, that once people heard that Dark Eldar were being re-done, sales of the older Dark Eldar models almost completely stopped. That might be a bad example, but what if they wanted to release a plastic wraithguard kit and it got leaked, how could they get rid of all their old metal wraithguard models? Rules leaks are also a problem...nobody bought mandrakes in advance because the rules got leaked and everyone found out how crappy they were...so no sales...anyway, I can see their point, why do you need to know what is coming out in advance, isn't more fun to see all those new shiny models right as they come out?

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  6. Uncontrolled leaks can be bad for new releases I agree, but no news is also bad news, what they should do is take the FFG route and do a preview/interview/whathaveyou every week on the next big thing to get people excited and talking about whats coming without the frustration of having no concrete information.

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  7. guess for GW selling WDs is more important than selling minis :D

    they fail in everything they do since WFB last edition, then finefailcast, and the selling of rerolls...

    this company is the only things stopping US from getting people into the hobby

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  8. lol as if they would change smth if enough people complained about them being bloody stupid :DDDD

    jeah right!!!
    just like they stoped doing price hikes since 1990 :DDDD

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  9. Anonymous (11:57 AM) is right and GW already has the medium to do it; the failing White Dwarf. I feel the WD has really gone down, I guess because GW is using it as a monthly catalog instead of a hobby magazine. When was the last time they actually published something worth reading without adding a price tag to it?

    By the way, Natfa, don't stare to deeply. The Warp, like Plato's Cave, has a point of no return. Cross it and you might end up like me.

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  10. @ Old Shatter Hands
    so you think its better if the customers find out later that they got ripped off by buying smth that gets redone 2 weeks later or that sucks rule-wise????

    do you really think people will buy the new DE stuff a few weeks after the bought the old stuff? so they have it tiwice???
    so spend about 700,- for a army twice?

    for them on the short run maybe... but their customers are not THAT STUPID and if they were THAT STUPID it wouldn´t matter at all what they do asong as they tell them BUY NOW... LAST CHANCE...ect.

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  11. Worst marketing strategy I've heard. I plan a rough outline of what I buy up to a year in advance. Over a year ago now, I had £20 left over from something else. I'd always wanted a daemon prince, and I looked around the web and found out that in a few months time, a great plastic daemon prince was going to be released. I waited a few months after looking at a leaked picture, and I don't regret it.
    @Old Shatter Hands: No, I personally prefer to have some idea of what's coming up to 6 months in advance. That means I can save up if it is something I like, or blow my money on something else if I don't fancy buying it. In terms of image leaks, I really don't care. I don't mind not seeing what the new stuff looks like, as long as I know that it is coming. It was ok when they had the old Incoming! article, but they've stopped that now.

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  12. @TheFool144

    Yeah, White Dwarf is an obvious avenue for this sort of things, the main problem being that anything put into White Dwarf will be on DakkaSeer before the day is out. They should put it in, but it needs to be substantial - pictures, interviews maybe even battle reports done before the codex is released (with some obfuscation of the exact rules obv.) so people get an idea of how the new thing plays. They've done this with Dreadfleet rather well (What's New Today) and it would work for codexes just as well. You need enough stuff in WD to make reprinting it online a violation of copyright so mods will delete the specifics and make people buy the magazine. Of course if this was done in the wrong way (i.e White Dwarf still being generally crap apart from rumours) you'll make people just as irritated...

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  13. This is one of those subjects I often find myself in two minds about.
    I love reading rumors and seeing pictures of upcoming models before hand. It gets me excited for the models and the hobby as a whole. It also helps me plan my purchases and manage my money so I can buy something on the day of release or very soon after.

    But I also like surprises and if I was producing something I'd like to be able to surprise my customers (in a good way) way releasing something. Make the release exciting and fun. I'd like to think GW are keeping tight lipped for this reason but I don't.

    A happy medium I guess would be more info for the big release and new or re-vamped armies so people can plan their spending and make a big purchase on the day: Couple of troops with transport, HQ, and maybe some elites or heavy support all together to kick off their new army.
    Along side this we might have surprise releases of those missing units or special character, all of a sudden Duke Sliscus out of nowhere!

    Overall the crack down on info has left unhappy. I was excited to see something of Necrons come out of games day and we got nothing. I'm not even planning on playing them but it would have been exciting.

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  14. If their plan is to increase sales, it doesn't seem to be working. Sure, they might sell some old models instead of the new, but that is not increased sales, and very few of those people are going to then go turn around and buy the new model two weeks later. Sure, they might eventually, but not immediately. They teach that in intro-level marketing classes (I've taken one), and data from my local store backs that up. And not telling anyone certainly doesn't help pre-orders. The new Ogre Kingdoms release had NO pre-orders and there are four ogre players there, not to mention people in town who buy there but don't get into the community. The only possible thing it could do is increase White Dwarf sales, and even then, not really, cause lets face it, this is the internet age. Within a few hours of WD hitting shelves, and sometimes before, all that info is on the internet anyway. I can't see a legit marketing strategy for this.

    Side note, as for the example of "going to release a new plastic sprue, don't tell poeple so we can sell the metal ones," announce to people to build up hype, stop selling the metal ones, and melt your stock down to make new minis. I don't know if that works with finecast, but it sure did with pewter.

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  15. I like when someone says this whole thing is necessary beacause of the sales-boost of the old releases... If they have to use such strategies, then the whole inventory management and marketing-research team needs to be sacked.

    It is every company's best interest to plan ahead what they're about to produce, and in what quantity. And if they end up with remaining stockpiles despite their best efforts, then there is still a bucketload of opportunity to sell soon-out-of-date products. Coupon discounts (in a WD to boost it's sales too), bundle deals, 4=5 package actions; the possibilities are endless.

    If you consider this, then there is little excuise behind this policy. I long to see the Sisters of Battle sales figures - the first victims of the new tight lips strategy, backed up by lousy rules, WD release, and no new figures at all.

    It is a huge miss in so many terms that it could fill a case study on it's own. But never mind. People can be persuaded (not) to do things by either reasoning, or aiming at their wallet.
    GW will either hear customer complaints, or will perish, sooner or later.
    'Cause Anonymus (12:08 PM) was just right: presently the company is the greatest obstacle in the hobby's way.

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  16. One thing I was told in person, was that the policy could of also of stemmed from a mad customer base.

    Mad, becuase at times, the release schedule changes so often. Rumors and speculation were creating a hostile customer base, that was upset when plans change, or models that are done are decided to be held until a better time for release.

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  17. Natfka: How could they figure out that? Did those changes have any ill, and measurable effect upon sales figures? For example, did they sell less Dark Eldar because of the postpone of their release?
    Or after so many years of ignorance should we belive that they really pay (or ever paid) attention to internet runts?

    I'm not arguing with you, I just wanna know a the reasons and experiences behind their decision, and this argument is something I read for the first time.

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  18. Sounds plauisble, if very short-sighted. If they had had that policy from day 1 it might not have recieved much criticism, but changing horse half through the race just makes the customer base even angrier. People realise that they miss the rumours and information more than them changing. Rather than try and compromise between dissappointment from constant changing information and no information at all they're using a binary switch and made everyone angrier.

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  19. Petrow. It was the product of a conversation this article brought up, and since I had not heard it before, I figured it was worth commenting on.

    It was an interesting enough idea. I dont think we know the exact reasons behind the current policy. All we can do is make educated guesses.

    If only one of us could get inside a couple board meetings, we might have the answers we really want.

    One interesting thing though, is that we have heard first hand that some of the studio teams do read forums and blogs. So they definetly hear the grumbling. I dont remember off hand, but I think it was Phil Kelly or Jes Goodwin that mentioned it in an interview.

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  20. A bit hard to believe, but might gives us hope, that at least some of them care about their customers :)
    Yeah, btw, it's one great blog you're making here, keep up the good work :)

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  21. ofc they read the forums... thats were they get their ideas from... or is anyone going to say they did not base the stormraven on fan-made-conversion?

    you got to understand that they only claim to listen to customers and Inet rants, so that people think things will get better.

    Fakt is their policy has always been the same and wont change... the only thing that changes is there means... things will only get worse.

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