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How We Promote Our Products, Step By Step

Here at Innovative Media Research & Extension and the Learning Games Lab, we’re constantly working to improve – not just in the products we create, but also in how we bring them to the world. While we've had a solid process for crafting our interactive experiences, our journey doesn't end when the game or interactive product is developed.  We still need to reach our audience so that our products make the impact for which they are designed.  We’re recently worked to define the process of distribution and promotion so that it goes smoothly with a defined set of steps to follow. 

Our process is built on the principle of documentation. Each phase in our process informs the next, creating a progression from conception to release.  That's why our earlier stages are dedicated to gathering information and laying the groundwork for effective promotion and distribution.  By defining our strategy early on, we ensure that subsequent steps are on-target and that we have the resources we need to move forward without unnecessary repetition or backtracking.

Let's break down our process through each phase:

Design Summit Blog Post

1: Document the Design Summit 

Every great product starts with a spark of inspiration. We begin each major project with a design summit where we gather key partners to brainstorm ideas, establish goals and audience needs, describe the desired transformation in the user, and explore what activities might lead them there. Our promotional process starts here by documenting this early stage with photos, partner details, grant information, audience specifics, and initial product ideas.  

2: Production Record 

As the product itself takes shape, we document the choices made along the way. What is it? Who is it for? Key messages and preliminary art concepts are also captured. Sometimes we or a member of the design/development team writes a blog post about this process.

3: Branding Guide 

By the late stage of product development, the product has developed a clear identity. Taking inspiration from the product itself, we create a branding guide that clearly outlines how information will be presented, including taglines, visual motifs, font and color choices, and design philosophy. This guide ensures consistency and clarity in all promotional efforts.

4: Marketing Asset Collection With the product nearing completion, our talented creators have made a variety of media assets throughout the process, like illustrations, video sequences, animations, and photos.  Now is the time to gather those assets so that they can be used and adapted for promotion. Logos, posters, screenshots, gameplay videos, and partner assets are also created and/or collected. These materials form the backbone of our marketing campaigns.

Key art assets from Outbreak Squad

5: Media for Distribution As the final product takes shape, it's time to prepare for distribution. We take those marketing assets and use them to create a product website, social media drafts, app store submissions, and print materials. At this phase before release, we can evaluate the consistency and thoroughness of our promotional efforts, and adapt where needed.

Blog post release announcement

6: Public Release Announcement The moment we've been waiting for – the product goes live! With our distribution media ready, we announce the product release through various channels, including websites, blog posts, social media, emails, and press releases. This marks the culmination of our efforts, as we share our creation with the world.

7: Award & Review Submission Recognition from peers helps us continue to promote the product and gives us feedback on our efforts. With thorough documentation of the entire design process, we can easily submit our product for awards and reviews without too much effort.

8: Impact & Reporting Once the product is in use, we monitor its impact closely. Award announcements, case studies, impact reporting, and research summaries help us gauge its effectiveness.

9: Project Maintenance Archive Even after release, our work isn't done. We archive marketing assets, blog posts, and product information for future reference. When it comes time to go back and do more promotion, or contribute our product to new distribution platforms, this is the place to find resources.

10: Ongoing Monitoring Finally, we keep a vigilant eye on our product's performance through ongoing monitoring. Google alerts and analytics help us track its reach and engagement, informing future marketing strategies.

Social media post example

Finally, once a product has gone through the initial promotion cycle, we don’t just forget about it! Our marketing and distribution team runs social media campaigns throughout the year, focused on various topics, times of year, and audiences. For example, in early spring when people are planning their gardens, we might promote our materials about soil testing. Handwashing materials are relevant all year, but especially during the winter months when sickness is going around. A tool intended for K-12 might be highlighted in July-August when teachers are preparing for the coming school year. Or, we might run a December campaign highlighting educational games for iPad, in anticipation of children receiving new devices over the holidays. In general, each of our older products gets highlighted at least once a year. 

Our promotion and distribution process is still a work in progress and continually evolving. This process merely provides a framework that can be adapted.  By following these steps, we can effectively connect with our audience, drive engagement, and make a meaningful impact in the world of education, outreach, and multimedia.

Written by: Jeffrey Buras, Social Media Specialist


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