For indie studios based out of countries whose local shows don’t provide the kind of media exposure one is looking for, exhibiting at PAX East is a dream. It’s also a HUGE expense. International flights, hotel stays, rental fees and so forth add up. But Henchman & Goon, an indie studio based out of Bergen, Norway, was determined to get to PAX East and promote its upcoming retro, 2D platformer, Flem. Below is the strategy the studio employed to make its determination a reality for just $500 out of pocket.
The Henchman & Goon booth at PAX East.
PAX East Case Study
Exhibiting at an Overseas Trade Show
Generate international exposure for Flem by exhibiting at PAX East for as low cost as possible.
Take advantage of local resources to secure talent and funding to minimize out-of-pocket cost.
Strategy for Attending PAX East on a Budget
Fill Marketing Knowledge Gap for Low Cost with Local Resources
Without a marketing member on the team, it was difficult for Henchman & Goon to know where to start with trade show promotion. The realization of this knowledge gap encouraged the studio to investigate local marketing resources, which led them to Mediarena, an organization that pairs businesses with research and development institutions, mainly universities. Through its collaboration with Mediarena, Henchman & Goon was paired with two marketing students: Eivind Vilnes and Petter Sandvik. Eivind and Petter helped Henchman & Goon with its general marketing, as well as trade show marketing, in return for real-world experience to put toward their degrees.
Petter mans the Henchman & Goon booth at PAX East.
Secure Government Funding to Attend PAX East
Now that Henchman & Goon had secured marketing talent to help promote Flem, it needed to secure the funding to get to Boston and exhibit at PAX East. For this, Henchman & Goon again relied on Eivind and Petter.
To help fund the cost of PAX East, Eivind and Petter applied for a market research grant from the BI Norwegian Business School, the university they attend. Their proposal to the university was to attend the show to promote Flem, but also to research gamer behavior via a survey conducted on the show floor. The university accepted their proposal and granted them $5,000.
Enable the Experts to Plan and Execute Trade Show Promotion with Input and Creative Support
As marketing experts with funding in hand, Henchman & Goon enabled the students to plan and execute the promotion of Flem at PAX East. The studio provided the students with creative assets needed for the booth (flyers, posters and a rollup), as well as input on the marketing strategy, while the students took care of all the logistics, including: securing the booth and hardware, planning trade show promotion, setting up meetings and more. In addition Eivind and Petter executed all trade show promotion themselves, by attending the trade show, staffing the booth, meeting with press, etc.
Petter coaches attendees on how to play Flem.
Key Take-a-Ways and Lessons Learned
Take Advantage of Local Resources Available First
Without the help of Mediarena, as well as the BI Norwegian Business School, Henchman & Goon would have never been able to afford PAX East, nor had the benefit of marketing expertise. Although it took some effort on the studio’s part, taking the time to research local resources paid off.
Prep WAY Earlier
Henchman & Goon did not know it was exhibiting at PAX East until one week before the show when the grant was approved. This made it very difficult for the studio to prepare for the show. In the future, the studio plans on starting its prep work, especially securing meetings with the press, much earlier.
A little boy enjoys Flem at PAX East.
Booth Placement is Key
Henchman & Goon’s booth placement at PAX East was not ideal for foot traffic. Eivind and Petter helped this situation by securing a large TV from BestBuy to project Flem for passersby to see, but it was not ideal. In the future, the studio plans on working with trade show organizers to secure better booth placement.
With funding help, Henchman & Goon spent only $500 out of pocket to exhibit at PAX East in return for 200 to 300 contacts and an estimated 1,000 plus views Flem.
About Henchman & Goon and Flem
Henchman & Goon is an independent game studio based in Bergen, Norway. Founded in August 2012 by former students and freelancers, the studio started as a contractor for illustration, animation and app development. Since then, it primarily focuses on the creation and promotion of its own titles. Learn more about Henchman & Goon.
Flem, a 2D retro platformer for PC and Playstation Vita, is Henchman & Goon’s upcoming title about…well..a pice of snot. Flem offers classic platforming with a speedrun flavor. Players run and jump through four seasons while avoiding the hostile environment and discover Flem’s hidden snot powers, including the ability to turn himself into a cloud. Players earn medals based on their best time and compete with other players through leaderboards. Learn more about Flem and/or vote to Greenlight the game on Steam.
Many thanks to Henchman & Goon for sharing its PAX East experience to Indie Game Girl readers.