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New marketing methods "incredibly successful" - Jacobson

The Sports Interactive boss reveals the results of Facebook and YouTube tactics

Social networking and media websites, such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, have proven their worth as effective marketing channels and been "incredibly successful" for Sports Interactive, says studio boss Miles Jacobson.

Talking to in an interview at the end of last month, he revealed that the promotional video Sega recorded for the announcement of Football Manager 09's new feature set had passed 400,000 views - a significantly higher number than the estimated 50,000 people that might see a press release, he said.

And while such marketing methods require additional work and resources to do properly, it's allowed the company to reach new audiences.

"We've seen it grow and grow and grow, and our community is huge, and they're incredibly vocal," said Jacobson of the company's own website forum membership. "The people who are constructive are fantastic, but it's the internet, so you're going to get some disruptive people as well.

"But we know we can talk to those people instantly, and we know they're our core customers. And if we were happy entertaining the same customers every year, and the same amount of people every year, it would be easy not to follow any of the other ways of doing things.

"But the beauty of being able to use something like YouTube, or iTunes - which we're using at the moment [for our regular podcast] - is that we're able to reach a much wider audience. From my perspective, the beauty of that is that so many more people will see it, so many more sports fans will see that we have a podcast out, and they're able to download it."

But talking about the promotional video on YouTube - a marketing method he would recommend others try - he warned that it needed to be made professionally in order to be effective.

"One thing I would say is that if you're going to do something like this, don't just film it on Handycam - you've got to get it done properly," he said. "We were very fortunate in that Sega's brand marketing team were very keen to do this, and therefore there was budget in place to do it properly and professionally."

The full interview with Miles Jacobson, in which he also talks about the internal Sega approach to technology sharing, is available now.

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