Really looking forward to this. It will add a strategy layer to the game.
I have a few questions/ideas:
What about flyers? They can be a cheaper option for a billboard. You start with flyers when you open a shop, and when you have more cash you go for billboards. The same for newspaper ads.
How will marketing be reported from a financial point? Currently, you can see the daily (yesterday’s) finances of a shop, but if you took out the marketing with a weekly payment for a billboard, how will that be reported?
Also, we can currently see the number of visitors on the insights tab. Will we be able to see a second graph line for marketing spend? So that you can compare the two side by side? I spent $500/day and I got 20 customers, but when I spent $600/day I got 25 customers.
How long will the marketing effect last? Is it a case of once the billboard is down, the benefit stops or is there some degradation effect?
E.g. In another game that I play, you have an Awareness rating. So when you start/stop your marketing campaign, the awareness level climb/drop. They also have a loyalty rating (which in this case can be made up from the cleanliness + customer service + price rating). The combination of awareness and loyalty ratings determines your amount of customers.
My question is, is there another layer to marketing, or is it a case of your amount of customers are based on your day’s marketing spend?
What about merchandising? With that, I mean signs/boards/pricelists inside the store. It is also a form of marketing and determines how much people spend in the shop. These signs will give the shops some personality, at the moment all the stores look bland inside.
I like @Gerwanese 's suggestion of moving billboards or mascots. Those would be pretty cool.
Alright, another update. The biggest challenge is making something that’s still manageable with 100+ businesses and can be automated using hired business managers.
We’re already planning on adding “Store Capacity” to the game, which is included in this mockup (not final UI, this is just me playing around).
What I’ve added is “Popularity”. It’s defined by overall satisfaction (returning customers, max 40%) and marketing (new customers, remaining 60%). The popularity is delayed, meaning marketing campaigns will have an effect even after it ends.
We’ll add a “marketing expenses” graph line to the graph (not included in the mockup), showing the total expenses for all campaigns in the period.
The objective of the player is to find the right amount of marketing, without “burning money”. The limitation of store capacity, means the player can end up executing more marketing than the business can handle. At the same time, when the player increases capacity, they’ll have to adjust the marketing budget too.
Missed this one. Good question. How about changing the “weekly expense”, to “daily expense”, but keep the minimum duration. I think that’s a better option than showing a projected expense in EconoView.
Can we have it in both places? As I understand it, we will be able to run one marketing campaign per social media company and offline billboards too. That means that you can run multiple campaigns at once. So, on the insights graph, you can see the overall data, but on the campaign itself, you see the results for that campaign.
Really like this. So the goal is spend just enough money to keep all the tills busy.
Maybe something to keep in mind, but will the marginal cost per customer stay flat, or will it increase per customer? Meaning that the marginal marketing cost for the first customer is $0.50. The second is $0.70, etc. etc. So that there is a point where it doesn’t make sense to spend more on marketing?
If it is going to stay flat, you will need to put a max store capacity so that you cannot buy the cheapest floor space and just overspend on marketing.
I think the daily expense with a minimum duration is the way to go.
You mention managing 100+ businesses and it brings up a question. A little background: So I worked in London a few years back and at the time when I walked from the train station to my work (15 min walk), I passed 3 Starbucks’, 3 Costa Coffee’s, 2 Pret a manger’s and 2 EAT shops.
Back to my question, are you thinking about franchises or not? It just seems easier to manage 10 franchises of 10 shops each compared to 100 individual shops. Also, in real life, people use economies of scale. It’s cheaper to run a marketing campaign for 1 franchise than 10 shops.
I mentioned managers on another thread, but you can then hire a stock manager for your coffee shop franchise, who makes sure that they all have stock. Because it will get crazy if you have to drive around to manage the stock for 100 shops. Or if you have to manage the staff for 100 shops, get HR managers instead who can manage training, happiness, etc.
That will work. I also guess it is easier to implement than marginal cost.
I was just trying to imagine how you (the player) are going to manage 100 shops. Will that still be fun to play, or will the game be on pause more than running while you micromanage each store?
Some ideas for your nice-to-have list item:
Once you created your franchise, you should be able to sell franchises in other cities/countries. In-game you hire the salespeople who sell the franchises, do the marketing for that city/country, manage the stock, etc. However, you just can’t visit those places/stores. The gameplay part is setting up/managing the franchise headquarters.
You can then create goals/achievements based on real-world companies. E.g. according to Google, McDonald’s currently have 36000 restaurants worldwide. So maybe the achievement is a FastFood chain with more than 36000 stores. Or maybe that would take too much game time and you make the achievement for 1000 stores.
The game basically moves in stages of management. From micro to macro. Once you reach about 5 businesses, things start to become automated through your headquarter. You’ll begin to manage the managers and not the actual stores.
Noted all your suggestions, thanks again, great stuff!
I like it, though instead of capping the max returning customers, have it uncapped but heavily waited against customer satisfaction (maybe like 40% customer satisfaction means that you only have a return rate of 32%, and that to make up for your buildings capacity you have to market. and then maybe add a decay rate instead, meaning that without marketing, you might lose 4% of your customers each week you lack marketing. This then forces you into looking at the financial side and prevents peeps from cheesing the system whilst keeping it realistic, as I’m sure most peeps frequent their local shops even when they’re not blaring ads all over the place. It also means you can get penalised as you’d have a shrinking customer base if you’ve forgotten to renew your ads, leading to a more thought provoking moment, and it also makes a steady curve when losing customers and when gaining customers rather than having a sha4p drop or spike.
just my thoughts, but that is how I’d set up an ad system.