Eventually I got the chance to join the team which introduced me to tech and down a path I never expected to walk.
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Meet Tyler Black. Tyler is the Product Marketing Lead at Hyper Hippo. When he’s not creating marketing campaigns, you can reliably find him in three places – in the kitchen cooking up a storm, exploring some local event or show, or on the dance floor! While Tyler credits the Lindy Hop as his first love, he dedicates his time to learning as many dance styles as he can and has a personal goal of being able to do a dance with anyone.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Enderby, but I moved to Kelowna to attend Okanagan College when I was 18. Enderby was a great place to grow up, but when you are young and eager to explore and experience more, you really feel how small it is. Coming from there, Kelowna was the ”BIG city”; which seems pretty funny now. It just so happened that I moved here with a group of my closest friends and over the years we stayed close and it made it very easy to make Kelowna home.
Why did you choose to call the Okanagan home?
Well, I grew up here and it’s an absolutely beautiful area. I’ve always loved the mountains, forests, and lakes and the change of the seasons. You can do so much so close by – wineries, camping, exploring, winter/water sports – while still enjoying the city amenities – restaurants, theatres, events, etc. There are still a lot of other places I want to explore and I’m open to finding another home, but for now, the Okanagan is pretty great.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I currently lead the Product Marketing Team at Hyper Hippo, a video game developer, and publisher. I actually just had my 7th anniversary with the company this summer, so it’s been quite the journey. Hyper Hippo has been an amazing place to work and gave me the opportunity to grow my career in ways that I might not have otherwise. In my department, we oversee the development and testing of all of the Marketing and App Store promotional materials for our games, as well as the overall marketing strategies for all of our titles.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s a unique blend of creative and strategic work, so I get to split my time between planning and administrative tasks, and then brainstorming and coming up with fun new ideas. There’s no perfect formula for what is going to make the best marketing strategy, so you are always trying new things and looking for your next success. And the industry changes quickly, so you really don’t get to rest on your laurels. It’s a really interesting role because my job starts well before a game reaches its target audience. I get to be involved right from the ideation stage, researching and analyzing new and potential markets/audiences, then testing and iterating through the development stages, and finally the big global rollouts. It’s a lot at times, but it’s never boring.
How did you get into this kind of work?
Hippo put me through a somewhat unconventional career track. I was originally hired to do player support for their games – a role I was previously doing for Disney/Club Penguin. About 2 years into that Hippo decided they were going to become a video game publisher, on top of being a dev studio, and so I transitioned to being a “Relations Manager”. I was meant to be a liaison with the game studios we were working, but I mostly scrambled around trying to bring what order I could to the chaos of setting up a new publisher. And then another 2 years later we decided to focus entirely on our internal games. I had always helped the dev teams and publishing teams with their branding and creative development, so it was a natural step to move into Marketing. I was fortunate to have a manager, mentor, and friend who saw a lot of potential in me. (Whether I wanted him to or not!)
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Keep changing the way you look at things – projects, products, processes, everything. Every time you change your perspective, you will see a new opportunity or creative avenue. Your greatest successes can be a calculated guess, a complete fluke or even just a mistake that landed by accident. And in performance marketing, you need to try them all. I originally studied and worked in tourism – hotels – but it didn’t take too long before this just started sucking the soul out of me. At the time, I had some friends doing player support at Disney for Club Penguin and it sounded like a really great opportunity. So I applied, and eventually got the chance to join the team which introduced me to tech and down a path I never expected to walk.
Who inspires you?
That manager, mentor and friend I mentioned earlier – Kevin. He showed up unexpectedly (hired to help with a part-time project) and right from the very beginning… he irritated me to no end! He was loud, he was in your face, and he was excited about everything all the time. And then suddenly he was the head of my division and quickly became one of my favourite people and closest friends. You will never find someone more genuine, more caring and more supportive than Kevin. He lives his values out loud and is always willing to take a chance – on a project, on a person, on anything that he believes in. He didn’t just teach me about business and the job; he taught me about leadership, integrity, people, and confidence. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today without Kevin and I will always be grateful.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
I hope that I am remembered for bringing a little happiness wherever I went. It sounds corny, but I genuinely believe that laughter is one of the best things you can give someone. So I never take myself too seriously and I try to connect with people on an authentic level. I like to put people at ease and make them smile if I can. Sometimes it’s with a joke; sometimes it’s an uplifting comment or recognition; sometimes it’s an offer to help in some way. But in a world of meeting rooms, zoom calls and corporate speak, it’s usually unexpected and appreciated.