Meat for Meta: One Robert Dekker Savior of Games Workshop?
How a mostly the under the radar hire might be the key to Games Workshop’s survival.
Meat for Meta is rated editorial nonsense. These articles are meant to complain about some group, somewhere, that is playing the game for all the wrong reasons or simply to just make fun of 40k nerd rage.
I am sure you are asking yourself who the hell is Robert Dekker, besides a possible Robocop corporate villain. Robert Dekker is probably the most likely reason we are seeing a major shift in how Games Workshop is engaging with its customers. It is a major shift from a time when former GW executives claimed they didn’t even need a marketing department.
So, who is Robert Dekker?
Bobby the Dutchman casually called, is the new Merchandising and Marketing Manager for GW. He holds a position first of its kind for GW and reports directly to Kevin Roundtree the CEO. This hire happened around March this year, shortly after Roundtree declared in the January annual report that he would hire such a person. As stated in that report Roundtree wanted a new focus on customer engagement, which had clearly been lacking for more than five years. What makes Mr. Dekker even more interesting is he isn’t an internal hire, GW went outside the typical comfort zone of promoting from within. In addition, Bobby has no previous miniature game experience to speak of.
What does Robert Dekker bring to the table?
Robert Dekker has an impressive resume, he has launched multiple products in various counties mostly notably, the Xbox360 and Leapfrog products. It is the combination of Microsoft and Educational game leader Leapfrog, which clearly caught GW attention. If you think about it, it is the perfect marriage you take a person who has worked with companies magnitudes larger than GW with experience marketing products to kids and millennials. Stronger still, Robert is very capable of dealing with different markets from Australia to the Netherlands.
What brought Robert to England though was his last job at Ladbrokers a 100+ year old betting/gambling company as there International Marketing Director where he lasted just long enough to see the company merge with another rival, getting probably a great stock payout.
Here we get a look at some of the projects Robert was responsible for.
What does this all mean for Games Workshop?
Well as you may have noticed, GW is moving to rebuild customer trust with its brands. It was around March that we saw GW create multiple Facebook pages, send out surveys, and generally act like a normal company. This I imagine is only the start, especially seeing GW jump into Facebook Live this week and having lead designer team talk on podcasts. We have also seen a return of prize support for events and GW going as far as running events outside of Warhammer World. Regardless even if none of the recent PR offensive started with Robert, having someone not brought up in the GW corporate structure, and having a successful outside perspective will only help. It means a more unified marketing plan, one that in theory should have some follow through. A marketing plan that is integrated and connected across all channels and markets. Hiring a guy like Robert also means GW is serious about becoming a serious company, not one just beholden to a single ego or vision.
If Rountree is willing to listen to someone like Robert Dekker means the stranglehold of old ideas on how the community sees its products are coming to an end, Robert should bring a modern approach to marketing its products one we can hope will be less adversarial.