Three’s A Crowd – How To Scale A Growth Team When Your Studio Develops More Games

By Jayne Peressini | November 23, 2020

Jayne Peressini is the Senior Director of Mobile Marketing and Growth at Electronic Arts. Jayne’s impressive career in digital marketing includes over eight years of driving growth at notable companies like DraftKings, MZ and Reddit. Jayne continues her passion in the field by leading and managing user acquisition efforts at Electronic Arts. 

Learn more about Mobile Hero Jayne Peressini.

I’m currently sitting in my backyard with a cigar, 90 Day Fiancé on, both kids playing around me, and a list of DIY projects to finish when I’m done writing this post. As a parent and a growth marketer, I pride myself on being extremely efficient with my time. I learned efficiency as a parent and as a growth person out of necessity. Here are the pro tips I’ve found by managing a team and a business that adds more titles to its roster.

Automate the Small Stuff

It’s not scalable to make your team manually manage campaigns, adjust bids, upload creatives, as well as undertake tagging or trafficking. Though you might think it’s a buzzword, it’s still worth repeating: automate as many daily tasks as possible. Here are some areas for automation:

  • Automate bid changes: Build this yourself or partner with a vendor. Focus on API channels and testing IFTT logic before moving on to fancier logic.
  • Automate your creative management (library, resizing, etc.): Hire an agency or build this in-house.
  • Automate communication: Not only dashboards, but various teams will need a lot more updates than you are used to providing. Color code KPIs, standardize commentary and more. It might seem basic, but it’s more powerful than you think.

Learn to Be a Cross-Promo Master

When you add titles to your portfolio, you need to have killer cross-sell and up-sell strategies. Some of the biggest games are essentially feeders to other titles within a studio’s portfolio. You must observe your users’ natural behavior before even thinking about throwing spend into getting users to do what they could already be doing without your efforts. You could quickly find out that Game #1 users lead to the development of Game #2, but Game #2 users don’t play Game #1. It’s not a symbiotic relationship where each game mutually benefits. How do users find your new titles? What’s in it for them to download your latest game when they are still playing your first game? Do you want them to stop playing Game #1 for Game #2, or do you want them playing both simultaneously?

Organize Your Team With Long-term Scalability in Mind

There are three team structures I have seen work effectively, and all for different reasons:

  • Pod Structure
    • What it is: Grouping functions (media buying, creative, analytics) together to work on single or several titles.
    • Pros: Highly autonomous and can move fast.
    • Cons: Requires cross-functional individuals to be managed or dotted-lined into a pod manager, which requires very skilled management. Functions like media buying are not as deep on platform-knowledge.
    • Types of scenarios this works for: Companies with an in-house creative team, de-centralized analytics team(s), and good mid-management talent.
  • Channel-Based
    • What it is: Media-buying split by channels like Social, Programmatic, or Affiliate.  Ancillary support comes from the central teams.
    • Pros: Media buyers are platform-experts and can support sophisticated methods.
    • Cons: Functions like media buying are not product/title experts and must rely heavily on product managers for strategic direction. Individuals within a channel team can get fatigued quickly, causing talent churn issues.
    • Types of scenarios this works for: Companies with similar titles, monetization strategies, and similar target users.
  • Category/Genre-Based
    • What it is: Hybrid pod and channel structure focused on genre expertise within the team.
    • Pros: Deep product and industry expertise that can work closely with studio leads. Agile support for title teams needing UA, retention and monetization support.
    • Cons: Requires strong (and usually expensive) talent with expert industry knowledge. Must rely heavily on vendor/partner support for media buying optimization and strategies.
    • Types of scenarios this works for: Companies with broad genre coverage and money to acquire talent.

Learn The Queen’s Gambit

Think like a chess player anticipating upcoming change before it happens. Just because you organized your team in a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the end all be all. Most likely, you will have to restructure again within the next 12-18 months. Be ready and mitigate changes as you see how things play out.

Remember, your role in all of this is to make sure your team is set up for success as the company scales and adds more titles to its portfolio. Above all else, think and protect your team first—you’ll make the right decisions along the way.

That wraps it up from Jayne. For more tips on building a strong team of growth marketers, check our latest blogs and meet other Mobile Heroes on our dedicated website.