A late-game balance issue that I am thinking about...


#1

By looking at lots of peoples games, and also doing a lot of long playthroughs myself, I’ve concluded that the marketing part of the game is under-utilised and not particularity fun right now.
It seems like in mid to late game, most people have bought a marketing facility or two, but few are running any actual campaigns. Obviously this represents a failing of the game design and its something I am currently thinking about how best to fix.

because we do not have defects and quality in the game yet, marketing is used solely to increase foot traffic to your showrooms, and thus increase the chances of selling a car in any given time period.
Obviously if the number of showroom visitors i less than the number of cars produced, you will never be able to sell cars fast enough, and the foot-traffic has to be boosted by marketing. However, this seems to be pretty rare.

It seems right now that the traffic through the showroom is almost always high enough to sell pretty much any number of cars, and the only problem you have is that you may need to cut back your profit margin slightly to shift cars out of the showroom. It looks like players are generally using the ‘discount’ strategy more than any marketing strategy, so why is this?

Is it that the numbers just seem wrong? Is marketing too expensive? or/and short lived?
Is it maybe that players are not aware of the link between marketing and showroom visitors, because I’m not emphasizing this enough?
Maybe marketing campaigns end and the player does not notice, or bother to re-start them? Would it maybe be helpful to know how many cars were sold to people who showed up at the showroom specifically due to a marketing campaign?

All thoughts and opinions on this are most welcome.

An example of what I mean: (The market share shouldn’t be so low with everything else so high…)



#2


I use the 'Brand Awareness Campaign - Movies" quite a lot. Especially when the showroom reaches 10 cars.

The reason is simple. It’s the best value for money marketing campaign out there.

A few things can be done to drive the need for marketing. The most important one I feel is increasing the “Export” slot speed.
I find that I do not need as much marketing due to the congestion at the Export slot. Simply stated, I cannot get my vehicles out fast enough.

Now as for Marketing. There needs to be more options, with higher 'Ideas" and “Cost” requirements. We already have Movies, Print and TV, how about including:

  1. Viral Campaigns ( cheap and moderately effective)
  2. Online Campaigns ( costlier but still moderatly effective)
  3. Tradeshow campaigns ( most effective but costly)
  4. Cloud Marketing campaigns ( effective when used in conjunction with other campaigns)
  5. Billboard campaigns. (Effective but costly)

I also think you should rework the existing options.

  1. Movie marketing is the best option at present in term of return on investment. It should however be the most expensive option as movie marketing infers the supply of product to a production company for use in a movie. The cost on ‘Spectre’ was 24 million Pounds for the manufacturer.
  2. Marketing should also have a slider not a fixed cost. It could be set at 10% (of income) increments as an ongoing initiative. In this way a player would not just place a few marketing slots and wait for enough ideas to generate. It should be a budget consideration. Sacrifice profit for better brand share. Ideas will still need to be generated and as such a player now has to not only sacrifice money on marketing salaries but also the placement of additional marketing slots to generate enough ideas per hour to meet the targeted spend. A nice balancing act.

Now as for the 'Market Share" question. I am challenged in understanding how this works. The factories are simply not big enough to produce the volumes that customers want.

A quick fix is to increase the factory floor size (and again speed of the exports). Not all of us make custom factories. (its an anti-modding thing).

Overall I think that all that Marketing needs is a bigger variety of options, more realistic costs and that the only driver towards using marketing will be overstocked showrooms as as result of faster exports and bigger factories. This will drive the mid and end game use of marketing.

thanks for a great game Cliffski


#3

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that I definitely need to adjust those numbers so that all 3 seem like reasonable choices rather than just one being a clear winner.
I would also like to increase car export speed, although I have not yet decided the best way to do this. it could be adding more export slots, it could be a researchable efficiency upgrade that increases export rate even more than normal… I’m still considering the options.
Making larger factories is definitely also an option, perhaps a new scenario map is needed too.


#4

Adjusting the numbers on Marketing is a great idea.

As for the Export car speed, yes more slots in bigger factories will work. These should however realistically be side-by-side.

At present we have:

  1. Basic Export 4 minutes
  2. Computerized Sales 3 minutes
  3. Expedited Sales 2 minutes 30 seconds.

How about?

  1. Basic Export 4 minutes (No research)
  2. Computerized Sales 3 minutes 30 Seconds (1500 Research)
  3. Expedited Sales 3 minutes. (3000 Research)
  4. Sales Representative 2 minutes 30 seconds (4500 Research)
  5. Sales Operations 2 minutes (6000 Research)
  6. Agency Sales 1 minute 30 seconds (7500 research)

Again, I will ALWAYS support the need for bigger factories (BIGGER is better), and more Scenarios are always a plus.

Great job Cliffski!


#5

So I meant to put a reply in here the other day about the marketing side of the game but I’ve since gone away and done some testing on it to see what happens.

Personally, at the minute, I think one of the key things that makes everything a little too easy is just how many customers there are per hour. Now I don’t know this for sure but I’m guessing the customer/hour figure is supposed to represent how many of a given vehicle you could have sold that hour had you been able to produce enough vehicles? I have yet to ever be able to make enough vehicles to outstrip demand. The screenshot that you’ve included Clifski would need your line to be producing 200 vehicles an hour (without even considering expensive vehicles) to be able to fully satisfy the customer numbers. I think the most I’ve ever managed is around 100, and even that was pushing it.

I think one of the quickest things to force utilisation of marketing would be to simply reduced the customers/hour. On my game at the minute I’ve been pushing the marketing a lot to try and sell Electric and Expensive vehicles to reach the achievements. This has left me with a brand awareness of nearly 200%, not entirely sure how that one works, and a requirement for, from memory, over 300 vehicles an hour! I’m just not sure it can be done.

As mentioned by Toast76 you could look into making factories bigger, you could add more export slots, but I don’t necessarily think either of those are required at this point. A reduction in customer numbers would work just fine. If we then started to move on to making huge factories then to be able to sell the volume of cars that a factory of that size is able to produce then we would be forced to start utilisng the marketing.

As also mentioned by Toast76 I do think there potentially needs to be a little more balancing in terms of the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns and maybe also a little more variety. The ability to set how much you’d like to spend would also be handy. I was stuck the other day with nearly 100 cars to sell but barely any money and nowhere near enough to run an ad campaign. I essentially had dead money tied up in cars. The ability to run a cheaper ad campaign might have been enough to get me those initial sales to be able to move onto a bigger and better ad campaign to get the rest shifted too.

Also just to add, i’m not sure the export slots need to go that much quicker than they already do, what would potentially be better I think though is that on the stock maps there is a more focused zone on where to export from, e.g. 5 export slots in a row on the wall, this then requires the player to notice the location of things like this to utilise the map better.


#6

1.49

I’m a new player but I run marketing campaigns because you’re claiming in their info popup to be making me money, and because I have enough money that if this isn’t true that it’s not going to bankrupt me. It’s a minor pain in the butt to have to keep refreshing campaigns and this might be part of the problem.

The reason I use the “discount strategy” is that I cannot build, for example, a budget sedan, that includes all of the features that are insisted upon, since my competitors have researched everything within the first ten days or so (not at that computer, so might be wrong), without the car becoming a mid-range sedan, unless I discount the car.