When it comes to launching a startup, the toy store industry can be one of the toughest. As you’re trying to sell an item to those who don’t have money (or jobs), getting through to the parent as well as the kid creates a unique marketing proposition. This can be an uphill challenge; that’s why we’re providing a few helpful tips on how you can get started. Check them out below:
Start With Your Core Concept
As a consumer good, one of the most important aspects of selling your toy is by establishing and showcasing your core concept. Especially since people are going to be buying this thing for their children, you have to ask yourself why a parent would want to buy this for them in the first place. While the toy doesn’t exactly have to be educational, it does have to serve an intended purpose a parent can gravitate toward. And in this industry, the biggest consideration you need to make is what your market is.
According to CB Insights, approximately 42 percent of startups fail due to no market need. While that statistic includes the likes of everyone from tech companies to restaurants, it still rings true for your startup. Believe it or not, this can be a pretty cut-throat industry. Because of this, we’ve seen quite a bit of innovation in other ways.
Discover Your Audience
With a market established, the next step to making your toy startup successful is discovering your audience. It’s okay if this is isolated to specific demographics. For example, as noted by data collected by Brandon Gaille, Barbie dolls saw $3 billion in annual sales last year alone. While that’s a classic toy with a built-in fan base from generation to generation, it also goes to show with the right market fit you’ll have the right customers in no time. However, finding that can be a somewhat intricate process, especially when you consider testing customer segments versus alienating some of them away.
In looking at your toy or arsenal of toys, first, ask yourself who would play with these. Is it a younger demographic (toddlers to 8,9 years old) or more of a teen activity? Furthermore, is your toy gender neutral? It’s smart to be somewhat conservative at first, giving yourself a better sense of your customer base as you grow. Remember, as long you market things properly, then the right audience will eventually find you for the long-term.
Have A Brand That Resonates
As you formulate what your product line and customer base are, it’s not a bad idea to start considering what your brand is, as well as why it will resonate with your customer base. With toy companies, branding is one of those things that has a very strong impact on the consumer, as you need to design something that comes across as authentic to the children you’re trying to sell to, as well as their parents. Furthermore, your brand needs to be fun and playful (after all, these are toys, right?) which often means paying close attention to the details like your color scheme and typefaces. Yes, as much as we think branding falls under the simple wizardry of creativity, there’s a fair amount of science involved in making a brand that resonates.
If you haven’t already, start sketching out the details of what you think your brand should be. Focus on the ideas of repetition, as a big principle of branding is having something repeated until it sticks; for example, as noted by LucidPress color increases brand recognition by 80 percent, which is why when we say “Nickelodeon Orange,” you immediately understand what that looks like. While you might not make it perfect like them, pay attention to how they use rich, bright colors, as well as typefaces that are inviting and playful. As high-minded as it sounds, a brand for a toy company is something you’ll know when you see it, so don’t be afraid to rely on that gut feeling when you’ve hit your sweet spot.
Know How To Promote To The Proper Channels
Finally, as you begin to market your toy brand, a big part of reaching your customer base will be via social media. This is going to be a prominent medium for sharing how the toy works, as well as what it does, highlighting just how fun it can be. Additionally, this type of content can bode well for paid advertising and email marketing as well, which can be spread far in wide.
With foundation building for marketing, the most important aspects are how you’re going to produce content, as well as cultivating an audience to view and share it. For the former, getting acquainted with certain photo, video, and design principles will be crucial if you’re going to take the DIY route, however, if these aren’t your strong suit, then bringing on someone more skilled might be your best option (especially for the ROI). As for building a foundation, it’s wise to employ an agency like Social Gone Viral to give you that first round of genuine, quality engagement and grow a following. In continuing to develop your strategy, remember that mediums that social media can not only be great for sharing about your brand, but learning about your community as well, so take it as a time to establish those long-term customer building relationship. Who knows? With enough of a base, you might be the next Barbie too.
What are some strategies you’re excited to implement with your toy startup? Comment with your insights below!