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Maverick Marketing To Improve Performance - Don’t Think, Just Do

Harry, representing his blog Maverick Marketing, smiles confidently in a light blue jumper against a backdrop of vibrant orange, white, and blue shapes. His positive demeanor reflects the innovative spirit of Maverick Marketing strategies.

Let me introduce to you the world of 'Maverick Marketing', where daring creativity meets strategic innovation. I'll tell you how challenging the norms can drive impactful change...


But first, let me take you through a flashback. Visitors to my old house in London rarely commented on the quality of my art collection. Yes, the oil of Battersea Power station (purchased after an all-nighter at Fabric and costing exactly one month’s salary in 2001) is very beautiful. And the pixelated nude acrylic that hung on the bathroom wall certainly prompted a few debates about whether all art can be considered ‘good’ art (it can’t, apparently). But the one piece that caused the most enjoyment hung above the downstairs loo - it was majestic. A rugged, albeit petite aviator leaning pensively on the fuselage of his F14 Tomcat as he stares, knowingly into the middle distance. Yes, it was Tom Cruise in his original Maverick guise - a signed piece, no less. Don’t worry - this isn’t about to turn into ‘Top Gun is an analogy for marketing’ tropes...

I’d accidentally purchased said artwork at a charity ball, a guest of my friends at Red Bull. There’d been a blind auction and having just witnessed my agency business go through its final death throes and my bank account slip into the red, I was perfectly placed to make a sizeable bid.

Yes, I was so broke I had to carry Maverick home on the bus from Central London, but boy was I chuffed with my investment the next morning. So much so that I begged the auctioneer to take it back...   

Luckily for present-day me (and, I imagine, even more so for my wife, an artist) the masterpiece remains in our possession, proudly overseeing all missions in the smallest room, which is where Maverick reminds me daily that good things come in small packages.


Maverick Marketing at Kwalee

This was especially pertinent last year. We were running planning workshops for each of our marketing channels at Kwalee. With three mobile games verticals, a PC and Console games department and a brand team, there was a fair bit to get through, the events planning session was particularly enlightening. There were LOADS of them on the calendar, ranging from massive games expos to individual learning conferences. The list of actions, and the budget, swelled beyond all comprehension. Loads of the events seemed to be laden with compromise - too expensive, too big, not big enough, too busy, not busy enough, too far away, the wrong audience. 

From the mists of this mire, a sidewinder of inspiration struck - hitting our Senior Brand Manager Ciaran head-on:

“Why don’t we just start our own conference?”      

Don’t think - just do. This was our Maverick moment (or maybe Rooster said it, I'm not sure.) A ‘Maverick Marketing Moment’ sounds more like a marketing buzz phrase, so let’s go with that.  Maverick Marketing would inspire us to put on our event, now known as ‘The Gamemasters Summit’, front and centre in our plans. There it sat, gleaming with potential, for a good few months until the shadow of Q4 crossed our desks, when we realised there was quite a lot of work involved. We needed an events platform, an agenda, speakers to fill that agenda, a promo campaign and a willing audience. “How the hell do you start an event from scratch? How do we know it’ll work? Should we go ahead?”

Image featuring a blue glowing title 'Gamemasters Summit' with sponsor logos of Embrace, App Flyer, and displayed below.


Maverick Marketing vs Data

And here lies the crux. We marketers find ourselves in a situation in which data is king. Want to know how a campaign went? Ask for the data. Need to understand the competitive environment? There’s data for that. Optimising your performance marketing? Start disseminating those dashboards. Is the creative any good? The numbers will tell us.

How will you make the right decision? The data is your crutch, your informant and your treasure. This is all well and good - we’re more efficient, effective and accountable as an industry because of our enhanced abilities to analyse the past. But what of the future?  Maverick Marketing (with our without the maverick reference) is a balance - data can inform, direct and yes, help forecast - but what it can’t do is create something from nothing. Even our new beloved A.I. requires input, analysis needs data, meaning there are times when we have to unbuckle the seatbelt, floor the accelerator and drive into the unknown. 

It’s a balance, of course. An intelligent balance between discovering, interpreting, hypothesising, creating and testing is where great marketing teams flourish. If we all acted like Maverick all of the time, throwing caution to the wind and refraining from rationality in favour of courage, we’d have cereal made from beef, or hoverphones. Remember, Maverick got lucky - he tossed a coin and nine times out of ten, he and Rooster would’ve been incinerated in a matter of seconds by that fifth-generation fighter jet, if it weren’t for the timely intervention of that preening tool Hangman.  

Maybe there is an analogy in here after all? The unfettered creativity of Maverick is backed up by the data-driven safety net of Fanboy. What’s Rooster? Well, he was overtly cautious, too slow and nearly cocked up the whole mission - sounds like the Compliance Department to me. That said, his line “it’s not the plane, it’s the pilot” is a useful reminder of accountability.

Yeah, it’s a dreadful analogy, but let’s move on.

As to our mobile games conference, we have over 400 delegates signed up for the Gamemasters Summit already, a whole host of Tier 1 speakers from leading platforms like Google, AppsFlyer, VCCP and TapNation plus a terrific media partner in and sponsors in Appsflyer and Embrace. It looks awesome now, but it started from nothing - with no data to suggest it was a good idea. Sometimes as maverick marketers - quite often, in fact - you need to step into the unknown. 

Don’t think - just do.

Harry Lang is VP of Marketing at game developer and publisher Kwalee. He is set to deliver the opening remarks and a Beyond the Code: The A to Z of Marketing a Hit Mobile Game session at the Summit. The Gamemasters Summit is a free online conference on the 21st of February covering the mobile games industry. Find out more and register on the event website. You can find Harry at @MrHarryLang and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Harry began his career in integrated marketing agencies before spending 17 years marketing in online & mobile gambling. In 2020 he wrote & published a book ‘Brands, Bandwagons & Bulls**t’ as a guide for marketers to break into the marketing industry

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