It takes a great number of individuals working together in various disciplines to make any commercial enterprise function.
The mobile games industry is certainly no exception, offering dynamic and diverse roles to thousands the world over.
As such, PocketGamer.biz has decided to celebrate this with a regular series of interviews where each week we chat to a mobile games industry professional from a different field - be it game design, art, or PR - to learn about how they bagged that job in games.
Obviously every career path is different, but the goal is to give a picture of the sorts of skills, qualifications and ambition one might need to find themselves in such a role - and how we can all learn from it.
This time, the spotlight is on Yelena Grant, Product Marketing Manager at Solitaire developer MobilityWare.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about your current role and what it entails.
I’m the Product Marketing Manager for new titles.
I do market research to explore what new games we should develop next, and once the determination is made I work closely with game designers, game producers and others on the production side to determine the product positioning for the new offering in the market.
I also work on ensuring that the game gets "greenlit" by the executive team by presenting a business case for the game to go into full production.
I do a lot of primary research through surveys and other means to A/B test our overall direction.Yelena Grant
Once that happens, I do a lot of primary research through surveys and other means to A/B test the theme, tone, name and overall direction of the new game.
How did you first get into this job? (If senior, how did you progress into this role?)
I actually started out at a small startup in San Francisco that built a social network platform for mobile games.
Then I transitioned to an ad network (one of our partners at MobilityWare actually!), but eventually I wanted to be on this side of the table and went in-house to a mobile games studio, MobilityWare.
Is it something you ever imagined yourself doing?
I was never a "gamer" like a lot of the people that I work with here. And I didn’t even have a mobile phone when I first started out!
But I studied Marketing as an undergraduate and even though my graduate degrees took me into another direction (law, of all things!), I always knew that I wanted to be in a marketing function.
What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals in the area?
I studied International Business and Marketing when I was at NYU, and received my law degrees from Columbia Law School and Cambridge University in England.
I actually get to use my legal background more than you would think. For example, I vet creative materials like UA ads for intellectual property compliance, review contracts and conduct trademark explorations for names of our new games.
Since coming to MobilityWare, I’ve had so many cool opportunities to expand my knowledge base even more.
I recommend reading books, taking online university extension courses and using platforms like Lynda to stay on top of your game.
I think this is good advice for aspiring professionals as much as for seasoned pros. You can never learn too much, especially when it comes to an industry like mobile gaming which is so dynamic and constantly evolving.
Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?
I never really anticipated how multifaceted this job was going to be. This might sound a little cliché, but truly no one day is the same in my role.
I get to wear so many different hats and really stretch myself in new directions all the time.Yelena Grant
I get to wear so many different hats and really stretch myself in new directions all the time. Plus, as the mobile game space evolves my job changes with it.
There’s this boundless fresh energy that my job gets injected with because of the nature of this industry, and I really never knew that before becoming a part of it.
Had I known, I would have wanted to have a job in mobile games a lot sooner!
What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?
Expand your skill-set beyond what you would traditionally think of for a marketing function, such as analytics and data analysis.
You should really approach a job in this profession as a "growth marketer" and grow your knowledge and skills so that you can be impactful through the entire product development funnel.