My name is Mike Goracke — and I'm no n00b when it comes to marketing
TL;DR: I am a technical marketer with in-house and consultancy experience. I craft data driven marketing strategies and have the technical chops to implement them. I am measurement driven because that is how you know whether your efforts are succeeding or failing. And I am optimization driven, because I like making organizations more money as efficiently as possible. I take a systematic approach to marketing by evaluating whether proposed tactics will not only hit targets for the period, but also achieve overall business objectives for the company at the same time.
Why would you want to hire me? Consider me your Marketing Slayer - I have raw marketing + technology skills and know how to use them. One minute I can be executing your latest paid social media advertising, and the next, building a comprehensive MROI dashboard, all while constantly assessing overall marketing strategy — making observations and recommendations on optimizing or pivoting where necessary. My in-house and consulting experiences have challenged me to become a t-shaped marketer. I possess a broad width of marketing knowledge, complemented by a deep understanding of specific marketing arenas, with specialized expertise in digital experience and analytics.
I consider every step of the digital customer journey, from acquisition and behavior, to outcomes - I then map it all back to performance, return on investment, and optimization through visualizing the data. There is nothing I am more passionate about than moving organizations from being Data Curious to Data Informed to Data Driven.
Why a career in esports? The truth? I love video games. In fact, I almost failed the 5th grade, because for Christmas that year my family got a Sega Genesis — damn you NBA JAM! I was luckily able to step up my game and passed the 5th grade, but, at that point I was hooked and, even today own a full-size NBA JAM Tournament Edition arcade. My favorite team: New York Knicks... no one can stop me when I have Ewing and Starks. Even though my skills are primarily in classic games, I love nothing more than grabbing a current FPS and playing when I have free-time.
AFTER ACTION REPORT
In 2015, I was contracted by ASTRO Gaming to perform a website audit, focusing on their goals of driving traffic, supporting their customers, building a community, and selling product. This work included measuring KPIs (like Share of Search, Community Engagement, Assisted Conversions, Average Order Value, etc.) against targets using multiple analytics tools. As the officially licensed headset for Major League Gaming, ASTRO Gaming also partnered with the largest teams at the time for a marketing campaign: OpTic Gaming and EnVyUs (now Envy). I was tasked with evaluating the performance of the campaign by analyzing which team and which team members were responsible for campaign traffic (via Twitch, Twitter, Reddit, etc.), micro conversions, and product purchases. This experience also included evaluating visitor experience using heatmapping and visual screen recording tools - which led to the suggestion of A/B tests and page optimization.
MEASUREMENT + DATA INSIGHTS
FULL-LIFECYCLE MARKETING STRATEGY
LEARNING NEW TECHNOLOGY + TACTICS
The time for marketing is now. Marketing should not be called Marketing. It should be called your Troubleshooting Task Force (credit: Thomas Baekdal). While I understand the need to hire a General Manager as soon as possible, you are also competing for attention against some Call of Duty teams that have been around since 2016. They have clear branding, established digital presences, and pre-built communities - all these things take time and the 2020 season is near. These things are not going to build themselves organically. There is much marketing infrastructure you could be establishing now, while you look to hire a GM and the rest of the business operations team.
You are likely already considering the following short-term tasks for your organizational goals:
Understand and/or Start to Help Shape the Brand: this is just the beginning of building your esports presence and because of the pure scale and potential reach of this team, a solid brand needs to be established as soon as possible.
Procure All Applicable Social and Digital Handles: there is nothing worse than someone snagging a digital property handle before you have a chance. Sometimes they are held hostage for insane amounts of money. Sometimes they are used to bash your brand. Or sometimes they are used for legitimate purposes that serve fans; however, the organization then suffers because of a lack of consistency in digital handle branding.
Implement Digital Properties and Content: good luck building a following without content. And that content needs to be hosted on a digital property, whether they are owned (e.g.: Website) or rented (e.g.: Twitter). These digital properties and content need to be implemented in such a way that they can play off each other and serve the fan base.
Build Community, Not Customers: the esports audience is smart. They understand when they are being marketed to and they typically do not appreciate it unless the recommendations are authentic. This includes identifying the audience, finding the best channels for conversation, amplification, applause rate, and economic value (credit: Avinash Kaushik) - whether that is Twitch, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, or other channels. And once a team is built, the team personalities will help drive community engagement through interacting with the fan base, encouraging fans to support their new team.
Think Beyond Impressions and Reach: how do you know once you have reached an "incredible" fan experience versus a "mediocre" experience? Measurement. Establishing baseline metrics is important; however, agreeing to and obsessing about your overarching KPIs is essential. Being able to help articulate these across the organization and understand the strategies and tactics that can influence your KPIs will be imperative. And that is all in addition to implementing and configuring the applicable analytics and tracking systems.
Recruiting Top Players and Operations Talent: this goes beyond writing a job description. There is a war for talent and you can no longer get by with a simple job description. Your job advertisement needs to engage prospective candidates. Speaking to them more about the opportunity and benefits, and less about the responsibilities. From a player perspective, there is an additional level of complexity because the assessment must go beyond skills. This includes looking online and offline, beyond the controller at the complete personality of the player to ensure they align with the brand's values. And this is all in addition to properly distributing the job ad to all the applicable channels.
Aid in Process and System Implementation: underdeveloped and undocumented processes and systems can pose risks to growing companies. Establishing and streamlining these early in the process will help create and stabilize the organization's foundation.
Establish KPI Reporting Framework: document the organizations business objectives, goals, KPIs, and targets, as well as pull data into an executive level dashboard for near-time reporting. The dashboard and supporting data, should be reviewed at a regular period, with a focus on establishing insights based on the data — providing departments and the organization action items to either pivot or maintain course.
See Above: in the short-term, you will win if you are able to Create an Incredible Fan Experience and Build a First Class Business Operation. Longer-term wins would likely involve raving fans, team sponsorships, merchandise sales, a championship, and eventually building a dedicated esports arena to host competitions.
Know Your Objectives: ensure all strategies and tactics are implemented to influence your objectives. This will ensure all teams across the organization are marching toward the same goal.
Be Ready to Measure: because it is difficult, if not impossible, to measure after the fact. The analytics systems must be implemented and ready to fire on day one. Otherwise, return on marketing spend and effort, as well as overall ROI, starts to become very fuzzy.