Video Game Toys IRL: Why Market Research is Vital for Toy Companies Expanding Product Lines

Working at a toy company, people often share the notion that play is fun, that even the business of building, distributing, selling, and marketing toys has an unshakeable element of excitement to it. And they would be absolutely right! Jazwares, a labor of love started by someone who was himself a toy aficionado, is all about finding creative and innovative ways to create play. As a member of the digital marketing team, a tiny team of seven servicing over 30 brands across the globe, I am hyper-aware of how important our decision-making skills need to be.

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Every decision that we make, from the micro to the macro, has to be based on informative, qualitative, and quantitative data. This is never more true than when we set our eyes on a potential new license partnership. Building a robust portfolio throughout different sectors that include toys for girls and boys, pre-school, novelty items, and the like, is our long-term goal.

RELATED: A Risk-Free Marketing Research Tactic: Designing with the End in Mind

Case in point: Recently, a highly-coveted toy license announced their intention to accept bids from toy manufacturers, like ourselves. It is an exciting toy license and although the company accepting the bids cannot be disclosed at this time, suffice to say it is a well-known video game company.

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This has kickstarted the marketing research process. Although we are just in the early stages and it is being spearheaded by our brilliant CMO Kelly Deen, we are in many ways grateful that this happened, let’s say, mid-pandemic, as COVID-19 has dramatically changed buyer behavior. The marketing research process has yielded one main question: 

Should Jazwares be in the market of selling video game IP toys?

From this broad question, other questions are arising – questions like: How do we pinpoint the right customer segmentation? What potential revenue can this lead to? What does market share in this sector look like? What information do we need to make these decisions?

This is precisely why marketing research is essential. Jazwares has found success in perfecting the process of manufacturing fun and awesome toys that kids everywhere seem to really enjoy – including our latest, soon-to-be-released Fuzzible Friends (Links to an external site.) (our first foray into creating Alexa-compatible, interactive toys!). But, even with all our brands, it won’t necessarily spell success if we delve into an IP that we have limited experience on.

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Preliminary research showed us what current trends told us: that COVID-19 has accelerated the trend highlighted by “a 2019 SuperData study on U.S. preteen gamers….that one of the main reasons gamers aged 7-12 played online games like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite was to spend time with friends after school (Links to an external site.).”

Can Jazwares piggyback off of these revelations and jump on the coattails of this trend to help re-create the gaming experience using video game toys that will appeal to our target audience? Without market research, we will be without an understanding of whether the company can make that connection with prospective buyers. 

Before we start crafting our bid, we must find out if there’s a segment of the market there for us that will be lucrative. If we are successful,  how long will be successful? What are consumers thinking when they purchase these products? Who is purchasing these products? Why are they purchasing it? We need to conduct thorough market research to answer these questions and not rely on secondary sources to let us know what’s really going on.

The business of making toys is fun, and dipping into the psyche of the consumer is even more exciting with market research!

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