5 Factors In Selling More of Your Board Games Internationally
While most board games companies have an established product range that sells for them year after year, many struggle to find strong and consistent sales growth internationally. There are a number of reasons why this happens to some board games companies. This article looks at 5 ways to sell more board games internationally:
1. Develop Games Suitable For As Many Markets As Possible
One of the biggest export sales inhibitors we come across when we are Consulting with board games companies is that they primarily develop board games based on their needs and product preferences of their home market. This of course is essential if you want to succeed in your home market, but board games are cultural products. There are many forms of culture, but only a few which will apply in all countries across the world. For instance, if you are a German company, your consumer’s expectations in your home market is for in depth rules and gameplay mechanisms, whereas in some markets that type of game instantly = NICHE, because mass market gamers in many countries don’t have the patience for lots of rules. So, if you want to sell more of your games overseas, perhaps you can restructure your product development efforts to give you a better chance of success internationally. For instance, if you usually develop 10 new games each year focused primarily on your home market, perhaps you can switch to making 2 games which are primarily focused on export markets. This way you still have a core offering for your home market as per usual, but also have some gateway products which can bring export markets into your games and brand.
2. Grow & Own Your Community
Of all the marketing activities available to marketers in board games companies, community-oriented marketing will build your company the most long-term value in most instances. Those gamers who are really into your products will work wonders for you over time, especially if you nurture them. These dedicated fans of your output will spread word of mouth for you and get their friends and families playing your games. We all understand that there is a need to sell each and every box we ship into retail, and as a result we focus our spend all too often on trade marketing activities which often have poor buy-in from stores, or mass media which may shift a few boxes but doesn’t have quite as dramatic an effect on the number of people actually playing a game. If you grow your community and resource to have ongoing 2 way dialogue you will develop games that people want to buy and play, and you will build your own marketing platform which you can use time and time again to support your new product launches. This applies both in your home market and internationally. Some board games companies change overseas distributors like a fashion fan changes dresses! If your distributor does change overseas clearly it is in your best interests to own your own interaction with fans of your games in those countries instead of losing it every time you switch distributor.
3. Distribute your distributors products
If you distribute your distributors products into your home market/s then you gain deeper and stronger relationships, which in return will lead them to be more likely to push your products or to at least deepen your interactions to the point that they tell you exactly why your products are a tougher sell than you may think. You do not need to distribute products which have no chance of success in your market, but why not ‘cherry pick’ a few games which you think have a good chance in your market?
4. Build Top Selling Games In Your Home Market
There are so many products out there for distributors to chose from that they will often review 10 or even sometimes 100 products to find one to sell. That is the reality of the industry we work in. There is a veritable plethora of games out there. The simple, but nevertheless difficult way to make export distributors sit up and take notice of what you are offering is to have top selling games in your home market. If you have a game which is an established top seller in your home market you will be far more likely to sell it overseas. If you have a range of fairly low but steady performers, that is a good way to build a solid dependable repeatable business in your home market but will not necessarily help you to find success internationally. But if you have a game which has sold hundreds of thousands of units you will find placing that game overseas much easier.
5. Ask Distributors What Games They Want, Then Make Those Games
This sounds blindingly obvious, but like most blindingly obvious things it is often not integrated in the development approach of many board games companies. The best salespeople we have worked with excel in asking questions first and foremost. If you go to the trouble to find out what your distributors are actively seeking, and then you deliver what they have said they are looking for you are more likely to place the game than if you try to sell them what you already have in your product line. Of course if you take this approach you will have the frustration of taking a game to someone based on what they said they were looking for and finding that they either already got it from somewhere else, or that their needs have moved on, but regardless of that this approach is more likely overall to lead you to selling more games internationally.
We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/
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