Interview Sascha Faber – Marketing Manager at MSI Germany

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At ESL One Cologne we managed to get an interview with Sascha Faber, Marketing Manager for MSI Notebooks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

For how long have you been doing Marketing for MSI?
More than 10 years, so I joined MSI a quite long time on its way to a leading gaming brand.

What does your job entail?
Of course we try to bring our products to the people, but we also want to join and support the gaming community. Our presence here at ESL One Cologne is one example for this.

If you want to get more customers, you need more gamers. How do you make more gamers?
It’s not our task to create more gamers. There are millions of gamers around already. But not every gamer really knows which is the best hardware for him to use. So our task is to help him to know and understand what is the benefit that [certain] product will bring for him and the game.

We have a variety of different products, like components such as mainboards and graphic cards. We have the products for someone who wants to upgrade their pc to the next level, or if they want to have a full working system, like our notebooks or gaming pc’s. Our task is yet to show him what different products there are and why our products are better than others. So you know what special feature you can get from us and why you should buy MSI and not another brand.

But MSI is not a budget brand. You have to pay a bit more to get a bit more.
Everybody knows our quality, but in each new generation of products we also have new features and functions. All this needs to be explained to the people to let them really know why we implemented these and what makes it special.

Ying-Hsuan Shih (MSI) and the GT76 Titan

For instance, the GT76 Titan has a fully new cooling system with 4 Fans, 11 heatpipes and a special CNC trowelled copper heatspreader. This is a great feature, but something which is not directly visible. We need to really explain to people there is something important that it is hidden inside the laptop. As soon as you bought it, you will realize that this is very helpful for your gaming. The temperatures stay low and the performance stays high..

..and it’s also a bit of overkill.
<laughs> No, it’s not overkill. There’s never enough for a perfect game.

One of the slogans you have is “we’re not pc gaming, we’re for gaming”. Is MSI planning to go into the console market as well by bringing your own controllers?
No. We have periphery like our keyboards and mice to complete any MSI system, but we will stay on the pc platform. We are a pc brand and we have the best hardware for pc gamers.

But nowadays you can attach a mouse and a keyboard to a PlayStation, so why wouldn’t you make a smaller keyboard for PlayStation if you can?
Yeah, but our business is systems. We have the periphery, complete systems, displays and more for the one who wants to have a complete system by MSI. But the most basic thing for us are systems like our notebooks, pcs and our pc components line.

And the chairs. Where do they fit in?
Yeah. This is for people who want to have everything by MSI. Hey, you can even sit on it.

You have the mouse, the mouse mat, the pc, the keyboard, the monitor, chairs… Where does it end? Energy drinks?
<laughs> We had energy drinks already once, as a giveaway at one of our gaming events.

It sort of seems a bit all over the place, because you are only for pc gamers but you also have peripherals which you can use for different things, and notebooks like the GT76 Titan can also be used by professionals for video editing. It looks like you are trying to expand to a broader audience.
We are about all the pc side and, like you said, also about the professional user. We’ve seen a lot of users who need power and end up buying our gaming products. For example 3D designers who work with 3D Studio Max. They used our gaming notebooks, because of they need very high performance but didn’t wanted to invest in a more expensive professional workstation. So we’ve set up different product series: Gaming – Content Creation – Workstation. All specialized on the specific user group, but all with the strong MSI DNA. They share the same technology and offer very powerful, stable systems as everybody is used to by MSI. But you can choose the design you like and how much you want to invest in the most powerful system. We can even equip our laptops with Nvidia Quadro graphics card for you. Satisfaction guaranteed for all series!

GT76 Titan

You may notice our logo on this series is a different colour. These notebooks are silver, so you could use it in your office, but it is still MSI technology. In this way we widen our markets. Yes, the target audience is different, but it’s always the same story. Our system, whether it is a notebook or a pc, stands for stability, and power. Now if we look for a different kind of user we simply change a colour.

How do you reach these professionals? There aren’t coming to esport events. What’s the marketing on them?
There’s totally different marketing behind. So we go to different events, like designer shows.

Can you also use influencers?
Yes, we use design influencers who, for instance, make lessons for people how to work in photoshop. So it’s totally different.

MSI goodie hunt

MSI is a big sponsor of ESL One Cologne. How do you put into numbers how much effect your marketing has? How do you measure that?
You can’t simply measure on the basis of just one event. It is one of the many activities we are doing to be present in the esports community. This is also different from when we target the casual gamer. It’s one of many actions, and all of them count at the end when we do our analysis. I can’t say “we have been at ESL and then sold this many more notebooks”. When we came back last year, we saw a lot of people realized that we joined the event. ESL is a great well-known brand. They are one of the first companies into esports and helped build it up, and they come from Germany. They did a good job to make esports well known in Germany. The fact German esports is doing well is one of the big achievements of ESL.

It’s hard to convince other companies to invest in esport or venues or big events like this. With this event DHL is stepping in, which is odd and it’s nice and it’s welcome. What is your view on their involvement?
Well, this is how they want to target a young target group. If the big brands are stepping in it shows how important this topic is, and it’s a good story for us because we know our products are needed. So it’s OK for us.

Sascha Faber – MSI