Meet our new CMO,
David Reid joined Behaviour as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer in early 2020. Underpinning his impressive CV, which includes senior positions at Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, Trion Worlds and CCP Games, is the irrepressible enthusiasm of a true gamer who’s been playing since the days of Pong. We sat down with David to get behind his impressive credentials and find out what really makes him tick. We weren’t expecting karaoke.
What was the first video game you ever played?
Growing up we had a Magnavox Odyssey. Talk about old school. It was one of those consoles where you don’t put in a cartridge. It must have had some ROM inside, and it had 10 games including Pong, Tennis, Basketball, Hockey and Soccer. They all looked slightly different but, really, they were all Pong!
When did you buy your first console?
I wanted a computer when I was in college and they were becoming a thing, but my dad suggested I get a console instead, so I went to Toys ‘R Us and bought a Sega Genesis for $199. It came bundled with Altered Beast. I don’t know how my dad knew all this, but he also encouraged me to get Capcom’s Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, which was a sequel to Ghosts ‘n Goblins, the arcade game. I recently bought the Sega Genesis mini console that comes loaded with 40 games, including those ones! It was only $50 on Black Friday– I couldn’t say no.
You mentioned arcades – did you go as a kid?
A lot! There was a small chain of arcades called Circus in Minnesota, where we lived for a few years, and I loved Circus because they would always give free tokens if you brought your report card – three tokens for an A, two for a B – and I was a good student and got a lot of tokens when my report card came out. I’d get like 18 tokens and my friend who had one B would get two – kind of awkward, but hey!
What’s something surprising about yourself?
Karaoke. I love it. Most people wouldn’t think it, but I have a blast. And I frankly think I’m pretty good! I’ve learned over the years to stay in my range – Elvis, Sinatra, Willie Nelson, I’m gold. Get too far out of that I’m in trouble!
What attracted you to Behaviour?
I look at the essentials of Behaviour – a 28-year-old company with a big hit in Dead by Daylight, very healthy cash flows and profits – all of this has happened and yet the company has never really done any major marketing.
The fundamentals at Behaviour are so strong and there’s such an interesting story to be told. Part of that is being in Canada and Montreal – I don’t think many people in the broader North American games industry realize just how big and how successful this company is. The story to tell here is this incredibly pedigreed, successful company that most gamers have not heard of and we are just getting started. It’s a very appealing story, the forecast looks really good and, frankly, I really enjoy the company and the culture here. I see something great here, and I think I can help it be greater.
Do you have a marketing philosophy?
The fundamental job of marketing is get the right product in front of the right person at the right time. Marketing’s job is to do the research and math to find the right audience and put that product in front of them, in which case you are doing them a favour. You’re not pushing product on someone as much as informing people about this. That’s really what I think the job is. How you do that has radically changed over the years. Brand marketing and positioning remain pretty timeless, but you have to be a lot smarter and faster about the ways you reach consumers.
You were a lieutenant in the US Army, have a few startups under your belt – is it safe to say you like adventure?
There’s a path-less-chosen vibe there for sure. That’s part of the appeal of this job. I like being part of building something. I had other offers but there wasn’t a lot of adventure to them: they were good, comfortable, 9-5, paid well, but I knew how those stories were going to end. There would be absolutely nothing interesting about it. That’s not what I’m looking for. But not everybody joins the army, either!
Did the army prepare you for a career in video games?
There’s a thread in there somewhere. I was an air defence artillery officer and was trained on Patriot missiles, which at the time were hi tech. I had an electrical engineering degree so they figured Reid should be a Patriot missile guy. I rotated through the Persian Gulf – we were always on alert, the guards had live ammunition in their rifles, our systems were hot. So, yeah, I guess there’s a tie-in to video games but I haven’t probed my psyche deeply enough to give you a precise answer.
Were you a fan of Missile Command?
Of course – but it wasn’t really like that! We did do simulation stuff but the bridge between that and today’s industry is so much tighter than it was then. In 1991 I was probably still playing a 16-bit Sega Genesis. We didn’t have VR simulators, we weren’t piloting drones; we were still carrying around Vietnam War-era radios on our backs. Things have moved!