Over the past 30 years, Diray Media has forged meaningful partnerships and developed seasoned strategies that have given our direct response clients an edge in the marketplace. This is particularly true when it comes to the toy category.
This week, the 115th annual North American International Toy Fair opened its doors to thousands of registered global play professionals to explore more than 440,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with hundreds of thousands of toys, games and youth entertainment products.
During the event, we sat down with one of our partners, Rob Yusim, president of Product Counsel, to discuss the Toy Fair and trends in the direct response toy space.
DM: Rob, we have partnered successfully on launching numerous products in the toy category over the past 25 years. Tell us what sets the 2018 Toy Fair apart. What trends are you seeing?
RY: This year, we’re seeing more toys that incorporate technology, electronics and STEM. That includes unconventional sub-categories that have previously not incorporated these elements.
Collectibles also continue to be a strong category based on the success of products in 2017, like LOL Surprise!, Hatchimals, CollEGGtibles and others.
DM: What specific trends are you seeing in the direct response toy market?
RY: Well, with media becoming more expensive and viewership declining, more and more marketers are adopting holistic strategies to generate awareness, demand and sales. The most successful marketers are adopting brand strategies as well.
Because the costs of developing, manufacturing, marketing and advertising a product are so great, it makes sense to leverage the mass exposure and demand that a successful product generates to develop new SKUs and line extensions that build and propel the brand. While this may be a new trend for many ASOTV marketers, it has been a driving strategy for Product Counsel. Some of the brands that we help to market are heading into year five and many others (both past and present) have had multiple years of brand success.
DM: What strategies do you suggest to drive success in the toy category?
RY: Innovation continues to drive success. Some companies continue to parallel develop, but I believe that in the long run, those companies will be less successful than companies that innovate.
Some are saying that DRTV for the toy category is no longer an attractive option, but it remains a very successful channel of marketing for companies willing to adhere to a disciplined strategy. While TV remains a driver, campaigns must also incorporate online and social media to increase the chance of success. If a company is looking to build a brand, then direct response remains a great option. Retail is increasingly going direct, and, with the right strategy, consumer product marketers will also be going a more direct-to-consumer direction with their marketing strategy.
During our 30th anniversary year, Diray will feature blogs that look at where we have been, where we are, and where we think the industry is going.