Date: Tue, 12 Aug 1997 15:37:57 +0000
From: rjkuntz firstname.lastname@example.org
Organization: Creations Unlimited
Subject: [GREYTALK] WoG Market Plan
I enclose, for this list’s preview, the market plan sent to Harold Johnson, Peter Adkinson, Lisa Stevens and Gary Gygax.
I might add, following the announcement at Gencon of WoG’s return, that this is good news. I do hope, however, that those with the original vision will be allowed to participate with WoG’s future.
I too am sorry to hear of Carl Sargent’s ill health; I believe he just had a new Shadowrun novel released and had no idea that ill times had befallen him.
Have a good read.
TO: Harold Johnson, Brand Manager, Greyhawk
RE: WoG Market Plan
Long stretches of time separate communications between us. I hope that this letter is just the beginning of a long and resourceful relationship!
[introductory letter body snipped]
>>> Insert after our phone discussion<<<
Greyhawk needs a healthy return as a product line, we both know this. A long term market plan including strong foundations, an ever present promotional campaign and good and ample product offerings will accomplish this. I will cover each of these ideas in turn as topics. Note the following pages.
World of Greyhawk Market Plan
Foundations: What is the long term goal of investing in the return of TSR’s first FRPG world? How can TSR continue to make WoG not just a published line, but an eye-catcher, a sought after commodity, a line that TSR not only aggressively pursues, but is likewise pursued by their consumers? World of Greyhawk'’s initial market share and growth it needs to once again be a profitable AD&D FRP world. A lack of this,
degenerative, causing problems such as mediocre products and a reduced market desirability for these. So I’m sure we can agree on the fact that from the onset WoG needs a solid plan in addition to a timely, well reasoned publishing schedule for it to achieve the most desirous long term results for TSR and its product line consumers.
Promoting the Product Line: TSR’s earliest products, such as modules and game-aids from the WoG setting, had ample promotional backing. A well thought out and executed promotional campaign is necessary with a WoG market push, especially with the FTA/Original WoG fractionalization. However, there can be no dedicated promotional campaign of WoG without a decisive viewpoint of what setting, original or other, will be marketed. Here I make a push for the original setting. Unlike FTA the original WoG campaign has a solid foundation of creators and material and a good following waiting to expand with the creators and material and a good following waiting to expand with the product. Listed below are specific examples of what would be needed for a successful, ongoing promotional campaign.
A) Dragon Magazine coverage of initiatives, including photos, interviews, individual and team-related articles, a column devoted to sourcing the products, reviews, etc.
B) Increased consumer awareness through convention seminars, games, and special events. There is a ready source of avid Greyhawk gamers networked throughout the U.S. and overseas to help with this initiative. As with the RPGA, this harkens back to “grass roots” support from DMs, play-testers, reviewers, etc.
C) A solid advertising campaign reinforced by up-front product reviews.
D) An educated, up-with-the-times PR campaign
E) Other than game-related initiatives, as novels, short fiction, author special appearances, book-signings, etc.
F) A TSR internet site devoted to the campaign setting. This site would include, among other things, electronic versions of Dragon articles related to WoG initiatives, etc., breaking news and updates, event and convention postings, FAQs on Greyhawk past and present, links to corresponding WoG sites, links to management, authors and/or design teams, links to chat rooms and forums, a TSR online catalog link with secured transactions, product samples/teasers, links to other TSR Brand/Corporate sites, a TSR questionnaire/product poll, WoG release schedules, TSR/WoG submission guidelines, periodic contests, etc.
This, in conjunction with above-average product, name authors, and strong product release schedules, would make WoG a serious product line for TSR. Product line credibility would rise and in turn attract a greater number of designers and consumers. Many former WoG designers have expressed a need for this type of effort by TSR in order for them to seriously support a returned WoG product line. Likewise, WoG’s mature consumer audience, which would be a targeted base of support as WoG was pushed, would be either a negative or positive catalyst with this, depending on how well the market foundation was laid and thereafter extended and supported.
The Product Line: There is much product extant to be considered. Greyhawks’ authors have a wealth of original material that would fit comfortably into 2nd edition formats. Product must be creative in the
New: As opposed to old rehashes of stale ideas. Good examples include WoG Spell Book, WoG Monstrous Compendium, WoG Gods, etc. Stale/Rehashed examples include unthematic one-off adventures, compilation of articles, any product lacking energy and direction (i.e., fillers, such as the “Joke Castle Greyhawk”).
Exciting: This incorporates some of what is “new” and what is “different”. This product must have ageless appeal to players and DMs alike. A good example of this would be WoG Priest and Mage Classes, which can be constantly re-used and amended by the consumer; an indispensable product.
Different: In three senses. In what TSR has done, not done, and overdone with much of its RPG line. An example could include modules, which it has done and overdone to the point of saturation. There are exceptions, especially when the product is exciting and perhaps contains new concepts, such as “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks”, which is a good example of “different”. Within the RPG industry “different” also denotes a unique achievement; and oftentimes these product types are overlooked or underplayed by R & D departments with entrenched ideas. Within business there are certain fathomable limits which must be maintained in order to garner the most possible sales yield from each new product. Thus what has been done can be over-justified from the sales end. A proper mixture of “what’s different and exciting” and “what works and yields the most profit” must be achieved, for a singular-minded industry approach does not wholly allow for designers’ creations to mature, does not take into account future market shifts, nor does it establish a mutable mind-set at the corporate level of what to do outside of this pre-established boundary. TSR must push the “Products For Your Imagination” trademark to its limits, and this its own RPG lines to theirs. There is no threshold in fantasy. Thus there should be none in TSR’s FRP game lines, WoG included.
Long-Lasting: In the sense that years from now the product will still find more than average use by the consumer. A good example of this would include “Castle Greyhawk” (the original), which is massive in concept and will not age as fast as other products. Also, any product, such as this, that can be appended to. In the chosen example, the castle can have extra “level-sets” added to it. A mutable as opposed to a closed product.
World of Greyhawk, its designers, their products and TSR’s/WoG consumer base must all be taken seriously in order for this project to succeed. TSR’s overall aim should be to market high quality products that portray newness, produce excitement, would be different (perhaps even “cutting edge”), and would maintain a longevity not only in the minds of its consumers, but on their gameshelves as well. The past, “sever them another of that, uh, no, that one!” will not do. Sure, you can fill a gameshelf by this philosophy, but sooner than later that same gameshelf, if this adopted marketing strategy persists, will be filled by other than TSR products.
World of Greyhawk has the ability to be totally revamped and remarketed. It has an abundance of material on hand in all categories, game-related and fiction. It has many interested, mature [End missing]