Free Comic Book Day and Free RPG Day. Both are among our best sales days of the year but each targets a different class of customers. Free Comic Book Day always benefits from the release of a new comic themed movie at this time of year, typically from Marvel, which drives comics into top of mind awareness for most of the nation. They are not thinking about the comic books though, the movie captures their attention. Comics are just an afterthought.
However, due to tapping into the zeitgeist at the right moment, the American public is primed to think about comics and the national media is primed to find things to talk about that relate to them and one of those things getting national attention is Free Comic Book Day. Hence, lots of people coming in who don’t think about comics much of the rest of the year. If we are lucky 20% (likely less) will pick up the comics habit.
Compare this to Free RPG Day, which doesn’t have a nationally released movie driving attention to it (No, the two D&D movies don’t count. Have you actually seen them?). Instead, Free RPG Day targets our existing RPG customers, the D&D, Pathfinder and, if a store has developed it, the smaller lines. Free RPG Day really targets those people. Am I going to get new customers because Paizo has released another We Be Goblins module? Nope, because 98% of the public has no idea what Pathfinder is. Free RPG Day is rather an annual gift from stores to our RPG customers with the hope that they will opt to pick up one of the other offerings along with their favorite, and give it a try. Not a bad marketing strategy but diametrically opposite of FCBD. Now, if we start seeing RPG based movies, then we can talk different strategies.