Marketing Jargon: Thinking Outside the Box


Every time I use a CD or DVD-ROM I always think of 7th Guest. It was the first CDROM I ever remember using and the game itself was unique (at the time). The storyline was quite involved, the puzzles where devilishly hard, and horror was a much overlooked genre when it came to PC games back then. Every time when I load a disk into my drive I remember the hysterical laughter or the cutscene where the guests are at the dinner table laughing and then they change to skeletons. And now a bit of history.

When the CD-ROM came out no one really cared. Word processors, spreadsheets and other such productivity software did not need the huge capacity that CDs provided and so the drive seemed like it would be a novelty at best. On the software end of things, however things were getting out of hand. PC video games were becoming huge and gamers around the world had to constantly swap out floppies or had to spend some three or four hours installing a game that was contained on some 15-20 disks. It was irksome, one of the biggest jokes at the time centered around the King’s Quest series, they figured by the time it reached 10 it would be called King’s Quest 10 In Search of Bigger Hard Drives! The stage was set for a means for CD-ROMs to become a standard. Instead of appealing to corporate they would appeal to gamers.

This is pretty standard stuff nowadays, heck the processor and video card markets seem to revolve around game launches, but back then, this was cutting edge. Back then, no one cared about the gamer market. 7th Guest was the first game to be written only for a CD and not for disks. It became bundled with a number of drives targeted at the consumer CD-ROM user (which was non-existent at the time).

This partnership proved to be fortuitous in that the CD-ROM exploded in sales as did the 7th Guest. In fact, the 7th Guest is still one of the few games to sell in excess of 2 million copies. As far as the CD-ROM industry well we all know how successful CD-ROMs were.

Some will tell you that thinking outside the box means to tattoo company logos on peoples’ heads, but I say different. Thinking outside the box means to do something that no one else has done in a way that makes sense for your business.

7th Guest is a great example of thinking outside of the box. It did something no one else ever did before, but it also made sense. It wasn’t a gimmick, it was a tangible and meaningful partnership that provided results. When you are looking for your killer marketing idea, remember it doesn’t have to be a gimmick it can be just as simple as finding the right service or product to partner with.

Categories : Marketing

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