One of the most effective elements of building an effective international social gaming operation is collaboration. Although collaboration is useful in all aspects of business, it takes on even greater importance in the international side. A proactive collaboration strategy can have a greater impact than a large marketing budget or superior product.
The reason collaboration is so important when launching social games internationally is that the number of stakeholders is dramatically higher. The success of the product launch not only relies on the underlying game development team and performance marketing team but also on a multitude of additional players. For the foreign version, there is the localization company, and if it is being launched on a new social network, the engineering company behind the port (even if it is internal, there are probably different programmers responsible for porting). Then there is the foreign social network, which often takes a much more proactive effort supporting game launches than domestic networks.
The next group of stakeholders includes foreign marketing partners and payment providers. For a foreign launch, it is important to have local marketing lined up. The average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) of social games often does not support performance marketing; even if it does, it is often preferable to leave the ad budget domestically and find local partners that can really drive traffic.
Collaboration is even more important with social games, or any software as a service, as it is not about coordinating a launch but maintaining the product. The marketing is not over at product launch; you must continually work with your partners to optimize retention. The localization and development are not complete at launch, either. You need to work with the dev teams, localization companies, etc., to maintain the flow of new content. Even monetization is constantly evolving and you must work with your partners to optimize this key element of the product.
To collaborate successfully, you need to be proactive and, using Malcolm Gladwell’s expression, a “connector.” First, you need to identify the critical relationships and set them up. Do not just work with the partners and other stakeholders who seek you out: Find the ones most important to the success of the product. Then, it’s not about having the biggest network but it is about using the collaboration web effectively. As a connector, it is your ability to link people, ideas, and resources that will result in a flourishing product.