Mike has 25 years of experience in management, sales & marketing, and product development. He is a visionary and founder of snakebyte|GROUP, a company with offices in Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, China and USA. He has been responsible for the development of over 100 products with sales totaling at over 50 million units. His product concepts for well-known brands such as snakebyte, Pebble Gear and Honeycomb changed industries. Mike has a unique network of industry leaders around the world. His personal relationships in the Asian market are unparalleled. Mike is the owner of several trademarks and patents.
You have been in the games industry for some time. And you have seen many trends come and go. From the beginning of your career to today: What has changed most positively in the industry, and what bothers you about the current situation?
Overall, the opportunities to come into contact with the respective target groups have expanded considerably. Thanks to the many social media channels and influencers with wide reach, we currently have a large number of touchpoints for brands and products. In addition, these channels offer the opportunity to create back channels. The feedback from the communities is very valuable and a great, absolutely positive development compared to the “old days” when one-dimensional advertising was the only way to promote a product, besides PR, which is still important. At the same time, the effort required to take this development into account has increased.
Which key learnings in marketing can other industries draw from the games industry?
The games industry has always been a pioneer when it comes to marketing. This is primarily due to the fact that target groups and their media usage behavior are constantly changing. Only those who constantly adapt to the dynamic changes in marketing can survive. Marketing must act and react much faster here than in other industries. Streaming and influencer marketing, for example, were already established when other industries took their first tentative steps into these areas.
Who are your role models in the industry?
Role models are currently not an issue, although I am of course always open to inspiration.
How did the marketing and promotion of games change in recent years? Where are we headed in games marketing in the next years to come?
Above all, we see that social media is also becoming increasingly important in the area of communication with end customers. The social networks are our direct point of contact and we are very happy about the direct exchange and feedback. In addition, we also see these communication channels as a tool for building a community, which members gradually become fans.
In addition to the opportunities in the online area, the importance of selected, individual promotions in retail is also increasing. Together with our retail partners, we work out perfectly tailored promotions to optimize product presentation within retail worlds. This is also reflected in the development of focusing again on individual products instead of major brands.
Which social media channels do you see as key for the games industry?
We select the social media channels we use individually according to our objectives. For snakebyte Group’s corporate communications, we use our LinkedIn profile for direct communication with industry representatives. For snakebyte’s gaming hardware customer communications, we have developed detailed Facebook and Twitter concepts, while addressing the target group for Pebble Gear is primarily done via Facebook and Instagram. Generally, video content in particular is becoming increasingly important in social media, which is why we will also integrate YouTube more strongly in the future.
About the current trend on creators and influencer marketing: The trend towards more micro and macro influencers with a smaller reach and less fans, but more authenticity and engagement: How can the Games industry leverage that trend in your opinion?
For one thing, these micro and macro influencers are often in very close contact with their community, which creates greater authenticity. In addition, their communities tend to be heterogeneous, which allows us to achieve a 100 percent overlap with the selected target group, instead of advertising to larger influencers with high overhead-waste. Furthermore, the target-group-specific approach of micro and macro influencers is mostly outside the influencer bubble with inflated price expectations.
The media landscape has changed massively in the last ten years. However, PR is still one of the most important communications tools in the games sector. Where do you see PR in the next five years, what will the challenges be?
Due to the ever-growing number of high-quality games and brands that are discovering the games and e-sports sectors, we expect editorial teams to be even more selective about which topics can be covered. At the same time, however, editorial departments are becoming smaller and smaller. That’s why it’s absolutely essential for us to address editorial departments in a way that is tailored to their target groups, presenting editors with use-cases and story-angles that are perfectly tailored to our product worlds and the corresponding medium. We already see editors as brand ambassadors whom we would like to turn into our fans. That’s why we are in close contact with editors and actively ask for their feedback on the new products we present.
Bonus question: Which project / topic in your career are you particularly proud of?
As snakebyte Group, we were able to establish a successful collaboration with Disney in the licensing business with our Pebble Gear Kids tablets. The product opened up a whole new category for Disney in their powerful portfolio and we are the first licensee worldwide for a digital product. We are also very proud of the fact that both the hardware and the software were developed completely in-house. The Disney brands “Frozen”, “Toy Story” and “Mickey and Friends” and “Cars” are among the most popular licenses in the children’s segment and Disney is probably the best-known brand in the entertainment segment in this age group.
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