By Nancy Zwiers
In my first year in the toy industry—over 30 years ago(!)—I marveled to a friend: “Making a great toy is easy. Making a great toy at the right price is really hard. We literally count pennies!”
If you’re involved in product in the toy business, you are no stranger to cost reduction meetings. Getting cost-of-goods down to achieve a target gross margin at a strategic price point (e.g. $4.99, $7.99, $9.99, etc.) is half the game.
Working on Barbie and churning out dozens of advertised skus every year, we developed some solid conventional thinking on how to achieve what we called “cheap thrills.” Before I talk about these specific cheap thrills, however, I want to go on record with the following contention: Great design is one of the lowest cost ways to add value to your product—and especially with toys targeted primarily to girls. You only pay for great design once—it doesn’t show up in COGs so it adds nothing to this key metric. Bottom-line, never skimp on the quality of designers you work with—in product or packaging.
Beyond the “great designer” truism, we discovered some predictable ways to enhance product appeal without breaking the bank. Some are more applicable to girls and some are gender neutral. Here are a few:
Great design and cheap thrills are your friends in the quest for the right toy at the right price!
Nancy Zwiers, former senior executive at Mattel and Spin Master, now serves as a business advisor and executive coach through CMO Coaches.
Nancy writes a bi-weekly column for the Bloom Report covering topics related to play, professional success, and personal growth. Check out her other pithy thought-provoking columns of the past two years on her People of Play blog.
Follow Nancy on LinkedIn http://linkedin.com/in/nancy-zwiers-3167a or reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play Nine: A Casual Card Game Built by Word-of-Mouth All the Way to the Shelves of Target
Book Review: A Lot Like Batman
Game Review: UNO
Game Review: Jenga
Book Review: PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie Books
Ted Fischer, Co-Founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation, on Unleashing the Power of Play
Lisa Wallace Shares how "I’m The Chef Too!" Moved from Her Kitchen to Kitchens Everywhere!
Hasbro's Tanya Thompson on Women Innovators of Play
Toy industry rebels build an invention studio from zero to one
Attention Toys and Games Marketers: Is it time for Tums or Veuve Clicquot?
Randy Klimpert Shares his Ukulele Collection
Steve Casino Peanut Art
Everyone's Talking about POP!
Princess Etch - a Multi-Talented Etch A Sketch Artist
Joseph Herscher of Joseph' s Machines.
Tom Dusenberry... Bought Atari, Wizards of the Coast, and Avalon Hill!
Matt Leacock created Pandemic... the game!
Scott Brown and Tim Swindle... are Launching a New Sport!
Daryl Andrews says... "GO TO CONVENTIONS!"
Ed Gartin is... the Evel Knievel of Inventor Relations!
POPDuo: Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President & COO, and Kedar Narayan, Young Inventor Challenge AMB
POPDuo: Will Shortz and Josh Wardle
POP Duo: Elan Lee, Co-Founder, Exploding Kittens.and Jeff Probst, Host and Exec Producer, Survivor
POP Duo: David Fuhrer, MNG Director, Blue Sq Innovations & Shawn Green, past Dodgers & Mets MLB Star
POP Duo: Bob Fuhrer, Founder, Nextoy and Tom Fazio, Golf Course Designer
Toy Inventors--The Heart and Soul of the Industry
Brian Turtle: 'Endless' Stories, Advice, Kevin Bacon and More! tBR Person of the Week
Jonathan Levy on Jon2.0 - from Co-Founding Mastermind Toys to Spin Master
Andrew Perlmutter's Journey from Glencoe to Funko with Crazy Ideas that turned out Golden
Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!