I have a 9 year old daughter and I thought that she was to old now to play with dolls until this past Christmas when she fell in love with American Girl dolls.
You are probably wondering what American Girl has to do with marketing but if that is the case then you probably have not seen this in action before.
American Girl sells high end dolls. These are not the kind of dolls that you buy at the store but instead you order them online for over $100, not your average barbie that’s for sure. Anyway there is a whole lot around these dolls to keep kids interested and do grow revenues. We can look at the integration of this and maybe you can see ways that you can wrap this into your business.
First the dolls. The dolls are about a food tall and are shaped like a real little girl. The dolls eyes open when you stand them up and close when you lie them down. There are a few choices for dolls. Either you can buy a American Girl labeled doll or you can get one that matches your girl that has the same hair and eye color. Finally there are different dolls for girls of different ages
So that seems simple enough but it is the tie-ins to the marketing that makes things interesting. First of all as I will see next month there is a tea room/restaurant in just a few cities that you can go for a formal meal with mother, daughter, and doll. At the store you can of course buy clothes for the doll and apparently match them with the girl, you can get the dolls ears pierced, you can by accessories for the American Girl doll and finally there are DVDs. More on that in a moment.
One of the great marketing/income methods that American Girl has setup is a collection of movies. Each movie features a starring girl character that girls fall in love with and this character is set in a certain time and place in American history. This makes the movies interesting to kids and parents and of course each of these characters is in fact another doll that you can buy.
Buy the movie, buy the doll, buy the clothes, and go for lunch.
I have of course been immersed in many different kids trends and fads and they are all very interesting but as a marketing system I do not think that there is any better market integration than American Girl. Even with a 50 year headstart I do not think that the people at Mattel have been even close to putting all the pieces together so tightly as this company has.
So the questions that you have to ask yourself is:
1. How do you integrate seemingly unrelated part of your complete sales process?
2. How smooth is the backend process of getting more sales from existing customers?
3. How many avenues and revenue streams do you have that are not competing with each other?