Yaruki Zero Podcast #6: Marketing Anime RPGs


jon5In this episode I’m joined my by longtime friend Jon Baumgardner. He’s worked at several different companies doing marketing and brand management for anime, and I brought him on to talk about marketing techniques for small-press/indie RPGs, and for marketing to anime fans.

There’s a bird cooing in the background in some parts. I don’t feel like re-recording. Meow.

Yaruki Zero Podcast #6 (50 minutes, 37 seconds)

Show Notes

  1. Introductions
  2. What is marketing?
  3. Small-Scale Marketing
  4. Selling an Experience
  5. Marketing to Anime Fans
  6. Specific Techniques
  7. Addendum: New Millennium Currencies

Next Time
The next episode will be “Random Thoughts”, another solo podcast, where I’ll talk briefly about several different topics that have been on my mind.

This podcast uses selections from the song “Click Click” by Grünemusik, available for free from Jamendo.com. If you like the song, consider buying some CDs from Nankado’s website.

Somewhat embarrassing but very awesome caricature of Ewen courtesy of the talented C. Ellis.


(For an added bonus, I recorded a piece on Dragonball Evolution for Anime Confessions.)

6 thoughts on “Yaruki Zero Podcast #6: Marketing Anime RPGs

  1. Wow. Great stuff! At first, not a lot of the ideas were new to me, but that last little chunk, though very “marketingy” was also extremely helpful and interesting. I’ll definitely be checking out John’s blog. Nice work!

  2. Hey, I just wanted to say I just discovered your podcast, and listened to all your shows over two nights. I’m really enjoying them.

    I’d like to request a show, or shows, breaking down the genres of Anime for those who don’t know what’s what. I find there are some Anime I really enjoy, and some less so. For example, Ako, oh oh no, but Monster? Yes please.

    From what I understand the Japanese tend to categorize by intended audience rather than the fictional setting, like we do when we say genre.

  3. A question I would have asked Jon; how do you license an anime property to write an RPG when you don’t have any profit to promise someone? I would say that you need to sell the licensor on the idea that an RPG extends their brand by providing more world detail for the hardcore fans. But how do you get that meeting?

    I agree that the last part of the interview was really useful.

    1. Dear Grant,

      I love it when people step up and ask for the world. Great question. First, note that relationship is everything. More so than money. Always. Period.
      So the first key is to get in contact with some licensors. Then build a relationship. I know that sounds like a lot. But it must be done. And don’t think for a moment that you can’t do it.
      Think deep. What value can you provide to the Japanese companies that’s something to start a discussion. Remember first that they pay a lot of money for American market research. Tell them about the fan base. Which of their properties work, why, who’s into them, who will pay for them vs. download them.
      Then bridge the conversation. Start talking about those “B” properties (some of which you’re interested in licensing for your RPG). And note to them that it’s not going to be easy to sell anime or manga in this slow economy, especially with most of the anime companies hurting or dead from the “American Anime Kaisha bakuhatsu bubble burst”. Thus, you have an idea. If you could license the content for an RPG game, then you could pre build the buzz for the show popularity… and best yet… it won’t cost “the licensor any money”!! (like how I worded a cost savings towards them and not you). The key in all negotiations is to come out with a win/win situation whenever and however possible. State clearly (later on in discussions, not at the start), that you’re looking to pay no minimum guarantee and that you want to pay them a reasonable rate of royalty for the content licensing. They will have approval choice in how the art is used, etc.

      Ok, so let’s circle back – part of this you already knew. But the answer to your question is buried within. Yes, you sell them on the promotional aspect (you’ll be promoting their brand, their company name, in such a way that they will have full visibility on, etc.) and not on the money. You’ll need to target “B” properties and below. If they think they can get a minimum guarantee, then it will be a long fruitless struggle on your part. To get the meeting… you provide the perceived value and then deliver. Provide something of value EVERYTIME you contact them. E-mail, phone, whatever. Make it genuinely worth their time to hear or read what you have to say. Again, think research, think information! Think about what you can provide about the RPG market, the American Anime market, trends, etc. that will be of interest to them. So they see you as a resource and a long term relationship…. Not some guy that wants their property to sell a few games.

      Naturally, there’s more to this conversation. But this should open your mind a bit.
      It’s not hard. Just time consuming. But if you’ve read my blog… you know that Passion out ranks time… always. Thus, if you come across passionate (in a professional manner), you will succeed!

      Jon Baumgardner

  4. Clyde,

    Thank you very much for listening. I’m definitely interested in tackling such a show, though I’ll have to do a lot of planning and research to make it happen. In terms of the age-based genres, it sounds like you want the more serious seinen manga, the stuff aimed at men 18-30, though “seinen” can include a whole lot of stuff that might be too silly for your tastes.

    It’s a bit old now, but you might want to check out “Dreamland Japan by Frederick L. Schodt, which gives an analysis of the culture and variety of manga that you just won’t see from the manga shelves at Borders.

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