Posted tagged ‘Marketing’

Hiber-nation

April 3, 2009

 

An article in the online newsletter Engage: Moms recently defined the new American family as one that does not go out much – to shop or to entertain themselves. Because of the fragile state of the economy, moms, as gatekeepers to family purchasing, are being very, very careful fiscally. According to the author, Kyla Lange Hart:

 

  • Families are spending more time at home, less at malls or restaurants
  • The exception: Movies are doing well – it seems to be the one (relatively inexpensive) luxury we currently allow ourselves.
  • “Pride of purchase” now comes from not buying, rather than buying and boasting about it, or from choosing an inexpensive purchase (lipstick) over a pricier one (that dress).

 

The article posits that there is a sea change in progress, “defined by a new set of consumer values.”

 

For more, visit Engage: Moms

 

Marketers, this suggests a significant attitude shift. What are you doing to appeal to it? One approach may be to focus on the investment value of a product – positioning it as a long-lasting essential (e.g., wooden toys that endure over time and work for multiple ages, multi-purpose furniture or styles that “grow” with a child). Another is to introduce products designed to entertain families while they are “hibernating” at home.

 

Moms, is there a change in how and what you buy? What are you still buying and why? What have you backed away from entirely?

Getting in the (Video) Game

March 27, 2009

Once the domain of the hardcore gamer – men in their 20s and 30s–multiplayer online gaming has a new target audience: children and their parents. According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the new games, from companies such as Sony and Gazillion Entertainment, are the industry’s most recent effort to expand the audience for online videogames, which permit thousands of people to play at the same time over the Internet. The goal is to more than double the currently $5.4 billion market over the next five years.  Moms as a target – once a startling concept for videogame makers – today is not such a surprise: Women make up 40% of gamers, according to a 2008 study by the Entertainment Software Association. There are even websites such as  Gamermomsclub.ning.com. “Girls who perfected their aim on Ataris have grown up to be gamer moms,” says Canada’s Globe & Mail.  “The majority of moms who play video games say they took up gaming to connect with their husbands and kids.”

 

Yet many moms and dads alike remain skeptical about their children’s safety when it comes to online games that let players talk with each other. The WSJ article notes that game developers are taking precautions to protect children by limiting chat sessions to predetermined phrases and other steps.

 

Videogame marketers, what are you doing to pursue the family audience? Moms, how do you feel about your children playing these games? Do you play videogames as well? Why?

Toy Ploy

March 20, 2009

 

While many marketers believed that parents would continue to splurge on children during the recession, that may not be the case, at least when it comes to toys. According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, families appear to be significantly reducing toy buying—especially when it comes to pricier playthings. They are doing so primarily because they need to but also, in some cases, on principle – to teach children about excessive spending. In the process, parents have been taking steps that range from shielding their kids from toy advertising to shifting focus to family outings over material things. The article points out that toy manufacturers such as Mattel and Hasbro are offering less expensive alternatives this year.

 

Retailers and manufacturers—what impact are you seeing and what are you doing about it? Parents, have you changed how you buy toys for your children? If so, in what way?

 

For more information, see “Pricey Toys Are Going the Way of Dinosaurs.

 

Children and Climate Change

March 18, 2009

 

We are in the midst of organizing 40,000 children at Goddard Schools nationwide in support of World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour 2009.  A global call to action on climate change, Earth Hour takes place on Saturday, March 28th at 8:30 p.m., when hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn off their lights for one hour in a vote for action on the climate crisis.

 

So you can imagine the recent blog post from Wired.com Math Meets Meteorology: New TV Show for Kids on Climate Change sparked our interest. PBS Kids Go is set to debut an animated series that will teach children about climate issues. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) just launched a website, www.EarthHourKids.org, which provides content to schools and children. This site features lesson-plans, games and songs that children can download.  Goddard has also developed tips parents can use to teach kids about the environment (email me @ sa@childsplaypr.com for a copy).

 

As parents, are you teaching your children about climate change? As marketers, how are you helping parents convey the message?

Kids Today Conference

February 27, 2009

 

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Kids Today conference in San Antonio, on how companies in the children’s home furnishings industry can – and should – work with mommy bloggers to market products. There was, happily, clear interest in the topic, meaning these manufacturers and retailers alike understand the influence bloggers have on the community of moms. Thank you to Kids Today magazine for the invitation and to members of the audience for your feedback.

 

Marketers, what have you learned in your dealings with mom bloggers – what experiences would you like to share?

 

Mom bloggers, what would you like marketers to know about the dos and don’ts of working with you most effectively?

Wonder Woman!

February 19, 2009
Stephanie Azzarone (left) with Women In Toys president, Patti Becker

Stephanie Azzarone (left) with Women In Toys president, Patti Becker

 

Earlier this week, I was honored to be named the winner of the Wonder Women of Toys Award, in the Consultant category – and I’d like to share the good news along with a big thank you to all the judges. The awards are sponsored by Women in Toys, a professional networking organization for women working within the toy, entertainment and licensing industries. The award was presented at the organization’s 5th Annual Wonder Women of Toys Dinner this week at the Penn Club in New York City. I was delighted to be in the company of other women who are recognized leaders in their fields, including Sharon John, Hasbro (Manufacturer), Laura Phillips, Wal-Mart (Retailer), Leigh Anne Brodsky, Nick and Viacom Consumer Products (Licensor) and Carlin West, 4Kids Entertainment (Licensing Agent).

 

Child’s Play Communications, which specializes in publicity and marketing communications for products targeted to moms, has represented dozens of toy manufacturers and licensing and entertainment companies, including Hasbro, Gund, K’NEX, Spinmaster, Play Along, a division of JAKKS-Pacific, Elmer’s Products, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, National Geographic Kids Entertainment and Kidz Bop.

 

For more information, please visit: http://childsplaypr.com/news/news_details.cfm?ID=15

 

Daddy Dearest

February 9, 2009

 

Last week’s post talked about dads who don’t do their fair share of parenting. All that may change – may have to change — as more fathers find themselves at home because they’ve lost their jobs. With the January unemployment rate for men hitting 7.6%, couples not only have to deal with the psychological stress of a lay off, but may also have to reinvent the parenting paradigm.  A potential seismic shift awaits as a family’s tradition clashes with new needs and expectations.

Will men get as involved in parenting as mothers historically have, and, if so, how will dads feel about their new role — and how will moms react to giving up control? Are there certain components of parenting that dads will gladly adopt while ignoring others?  Will the family dynamic be altered forever? And, from a business perspective, will companies who have always targeted moms now include dads in their marketing?

What do you foresee happening as the employment crisis deepens?