The best game in the world won't get played if nobody knows it exists.
It's definitely possible to get your video game marketing done on zero budget—crafting trailers from scratch, building an effective homepage, and taking inspiration from past campaign strategies.
If you put enough time, thought, and effort into publicizing it, people will likely find your project.
However, there are numerous people and agencies out there that can kick-start these efforts and help you fine-tune, amplify, and even discover the message and story of your game.
They've got the know-how, ability, connections, and the capacity to maximize audience exposure and enthusiasm for your game before, during, and after launch.
While these agencies are generally not free, if you've got the funds set aside (or are raising them via crowdfunding or a pre-sale), it can be worth paying the pros to increase your reach and allow you focus on game design and development.
This of course leads to questions of "how much should I pay?", the answer to which varies as much as "how long is a piece of string?" A widely cited rule of thumb is that you should devote between 5%–10% of your budget to marketing if you wish to grow.
We're taking a look at some of the best agencies specialized in video games and digital culture that understand your audience and the landscape of the category. Bear in mind that this isn't an exhaustive list, but in our research, we particularly liked these agencies' unique philosophies, experience, and specialization.
Without further ado, in purely alphabetical order, here is our Magnificent 7.
A small team of dyed-in-the-wool-gamers, Big Games Machine has decades of combined industry experience and offers a broad range of services, from public relations and copywriting and strategic planning, experiential marketing, and influencer relations.
The BGM team has run global campaigns for studios and developers ranging from AAAs to indies, with their indie success stories including the likes of KARDS, Epic Eric, and Tower of Time.
Self-described as the "complete business growth, marketing, and creative production house dedicated to the gaming market," Game Marketing Genie takes a highly scientific, data-driven approach.
Providing a full range of services, GMG can work with you not only on marketing, strategy, and advertising, but every aspect of your game's launch, monetization, and growth.
They offer targeted solutions focused for achieving the perfect launch, organic growth, user acquisition, and increasing in-app purchases.
And if you're not quite sure which direction to take, GMG provides free marketing strategy reports based on your goals (building awareness vs. player recruitment).
Specializing in the gaming and eSports industry since 2006, Heaven Media offers a suite of marketing services and solutions spanning the full range of content creation, influencer marketing, eSports sponsorship, event planning and management, advertising, creative, and public relations.
With clients ranging from fortune 250 companies to niche gaming endemics, Heaven Media has a wealth of experience organizing gaming events and working with influencers.
They have a dedicated global team of specialists from each marketing discipline and a far-reaching physical presence, with offices in the EU, UK, USA, and Australia & New Zealand regions.
If the game you're building is considered a cool thing, then these guys will definitely fit the bill name-wise.
Kool Things has a global reach, with direct presence in many European countries and active partnerships with agencies around the world. They offer a full range of services, including marketing, public relations, consulting and business development, and—importantly—specialized support for indie games.
Kool Things has an impressive range of clients, from corporate behemoths like Blizzard and Activision, to AA superstars like CD Projekt Red, to indie studios like Aurum Dust (Ash of Gods: Redemption), Numantian Games (They Are Billions, Lords of Xulima), and Oh Noo Studio (Tormentum - Dark Sorrow).
Another aptly-named agency with a team of "covert operatives" to boot, Plan of Attack offers a suite of PR-focused services to help games effectively tell their story and generate value, from launch campaign planning and copywriting to influencer relations, media event management, media training, and crisis counseling.
They have an impressive roster of titles and clients to their name, including the Banner Saga 3, Warhammer Vermintide, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Amazon Game Studios, and Unity Technologies.
This is a bit of a cheat by including several agencies, but the field of Twitch influencer outreach doesn't have nearly as much history as general games marketing—though it's becoming increasingly vital.
While most of the other agencies featured in this article do offer influencer outreach and relations in some capacity, the following companies are laser-focused helping you find your ideal Twitch influencers (or helping them find you):
An award-winning, full-service agency, Vicarious PR offers everything from trailer production, branding, and social media management, to crowdfunding, consultation, crisis management, and localization services.
Their team has worked with a wide range of clients, from giants like Tencent, PUBG, and Klab Global to indies like Mad Otter, Fair Weather Studios, and Proud Dinosaurs.
With an excellent track record of obtaining coverage in hundreds of media articles, Vicarious is a professional outfit that can help you spread the word about your game far and wide.
Before you sign on the dotted line with any marketers, consider these important questions to ensure you find the right fit for your game and vision.