The Toys and Games industry is one of the most adaptable and creative enterprise businesses that outlined a wide scope of products for younger children as well as slightly older children. An increasing market of children toys and games have grown over the last several years to producing intriguing products that satisfies parents both on prices and technology. The toy and gaming industry has grown to produced extraordinary entertainment products as well as brand identity to solidify the company’s brand equity (Kelly, 2000:08).
For instance the Mattel and Hasbro company brands contributes to the enormous consumer interests to toys and gaming system in the United States, China, and U. K. that created fierce competition with corresponding international company brands. The marketing strategies implemented by the firms operating in different geographic locations present an interesting perspective for defining the product specifics (Armstrong and Kotler, 2007:98). Some of the boundaries identified in the toy and game industry that resulted in the market being affected by falling birth rate.
This in turn created a lower accountability in children population is declining in the past decade from 1996-2001 (Key Note, 2007:44). Therefore, the boundary creates the need for enterprises to redesign products for the older children market and provide appropriate marketing aspects according (Emeraldinsight. com, 2008). The marketing strategies used by the firms the major company brands are centered on the core technical advancement to solidify the target segmentation (Shermerhorn, 2008:38).
The marketing strategies are planned and executed from its central platform in the international market due to the vast opportunities to reaching majority of the children population. The company’s brand cohesive approach provides the challenges exposed by each sector market that redefines the boundary previously indicated for exposure in the United States, China, and the U. K. target market segments identified (Asa. org, 2008:2).
The toy and games industry sectors are categories in nine units that are as follows (Key Note, 200711): ? Infant/pre-school toys and games products for under 5year olds ? Activity toys ? Outdoors/sport toys and games ? Games/puzzles ? Dolls ? Action toys ? Vehicles ? Plush toys ? Other Products The toy and game industry category sectors are garnering the marketing approach to be designated by target demographic and locations to render the most brand equity to a profitability standing (Chitty, Barker, and Shrimp, 2005:22).
The business enterprise has to renders a longer consumer commitment to a particular brand in order sustaining operations when the target demographic changes, case in point the last past decade declined in child births (Cameron, 2004). Moreover, the pricing strategies offer another element to assist in the differentials between the large company brands that creates a fundamental aspects to outlined the concepts for competitive prices in order to become the leader in the toy and game industry. The impact of government policies and laws on the Toys and Games Industry
The identified government policies impacting the Toys and Games industry relates to several concerns that safety to weights and measure regulations. These two areas out of the many specified regulations depending on the location around the world where toys and games are sold, the safety area and weight measurements are dominately the primary concern. The safety legislation enforces the Toy Safety Directive 88/378/EEC that stricts the toy company to adhere to materials not destructive to the environment or longtime negative exsposure to children.
Furthermore, the safety legislature covers the means for ensuring the toy products and games are aligned communicating the correct assessement towards age, choking hazards pieces, EN71-2:2006 Flammability, and other additional information to provide the parent the right assessment. The weights and measure regulations 1994 No# 1851 relates to the requirement for an indication of actual weighing of the toy and game. Case in point, the younger children demographic are at different sizes as well as the container/furniture to hold or stand up the product (Key Note, 2007:55).
Therefore, this particular regulation provides the parent needed information to better assess what is acceptable for the children and/or houselhold. The weight and measure regulations allows for the company’s brands to focus on the appropriate components necessary to address two folds of marketing and R&D concerns; pricing and targeted demographic preferences for longtime interests in the toy or game. These enforced government policies are geared towards bringing the law within the toy and game industry to facilitate the growing company brand in the international market as well as domestically.
In doing so, the end user that is mostly younger children are able to enjoy the toy and game product to its full potential without the immediate concern of a possible harmful outcome. Analysis on the Economic Forces which Affect Demand for the Toys and Games Industry The economic environment is constantly changing that produces a challenging concept for toy and game companys to being creative in selling and distributing their products. The U. K. gross domestic product continues to show the consistent level of growth from 2004 to currently.
In doing so, the GDP has provides a very positive backdrop for the corporate spending in R&D for product development. The area of inflation does arises, especially the last couple of years particularly in U. K. , in which the rate have lagged behind for the increase of household disposable income (Carol. co. uk. ,2008:2). As economists have outlined, the prices that rises in an economy as a whole hoave been lower than income rises creates opportunities for toys and games company enterprises to adapt to the market conditions (Baye, 2009:102) The GDP in the U. K.
averages to a 5% increases between 2007-2010 that encourages toys and games enterprises for further investment in traditional demographic markets. The senior management team within the toy and game industry companies provided the needed funding to further explore more creative ways to tap into the available expendable/spendable income of households. Respectively, the international focus of marketing to these targeted households are more effective in highlighting new products and features that can translate to “crazes” that boost volume sales for specific products.
The growth rate continues to improve as more and more toy and game companies trained their marketing team to identify trends and adapt quickly to the changing preferences in the demographic (Pelsmacker, 2006:122). Case in point, the latest report on younger children are more inclined to prefer toys and games that are older in content that is understanding due to the rise in pre-school education. The younger children population tend to be more attracted to toys and games that are at least1 grade higher that produces an emphasis on creating products that are challenging to hold children’s interest.
The economic environment additionaly creates a structure for companys to provide upgraded options in order counteract with limited product shelf life within the particular age groups. This is critical for major brands to adjust accordingly due to current trends of younger children preferences that are different than forty years ago. The cooperation of major company’s brand with retailers and research on trends offers a stronghold to R&D to marketing effectively in a challenging economic environment. The Impact of Demographic Change, Society’s beliefs, Values and Attitudes
The identified impact of demographic changes are in the specifications preferences from the younger children population. In recent years, the younger children population prefers more challenging activities from toys and games that requires for better R&D to market effectively in the industry. In addition, the impact of the primary demographic creates an opporutunity for major companys to expand the focus of product development for ages 7-9 and 10-18 that focuses on educational development as well as entertainment.
These demographic changes has pros and cons depending on the specificity of the toy and game company to adapt accordingly in order to stay relevant and leader in the industry (Bryman, 2007:45). The society’s beliefs, values, and attitudes on certain toys and games provide for social responsible company to adhere to that will not limit the marketability of the product. That is why most toy and game companies concentrate most of their investments in the international markets to expose the product line.
The different cultures provides for a more specified marketing strategy that acknowledge the children society belief and values that will encourage a positive attitude towards the company brand. Case in point, the Mattel Corporation number one doll Barbie is marketed internationally and in each culture there are different theme Barbie, for instance the UK model will be different for the China model or even the U. S. A. model. This approach allows for a more competitive toy and game company to incorporate needed attributes in products that has a lasting impressions on younger and older children.
The flexibility of the younger children preferences allows for the creation of upgraded tailored toys and games that older children are more attracted to purchase accordingly. Therefore, the brand of Sony and Playstation developed different demographic age groups to market that will balance out the disparity of time periods of low birth rate to a higher older children population. The demand for a different gaming experience by the older demographics sets the bar for firms both in the U. K. and the United States that creates a platform for influencing the marketing and design strategy (Burnes, 2004:102).
The toy and games companies are utilizing the feedback from consumers and integrating a newer technology approach that infuses the society beliefs of acceptable products (Wild, Wild, and Han, 2006:94). The challenge is the constant ability to target market the appropriate resources to secure the designated children population (Fleming and Koppelman, 2006:25). The approach taken by each of the toy and game companies is to release products and game titles that catered to the targeted demographic preferences with care to parents and children values of appropriate features, i.
e. the Brats Dolls probably will not be acceptable in China compared to the U. K. or the U. S. A. Therefore, the advancements during certain times for maximum impact in designing the product and accessories are critical to demonstrate a willingness to staying as a leader in the industry (Williams, 2008). The toy and game industry provides the straight forward concept to effective R&D that produces an interesting business perspective to effectively knowing the market in different geographic locations to meet is strategic goals in demographic assessment.
Assess the Impact of Technological Development in Relation to Toy and Game Industry. The dramatic impact of technological development in relation to the toy and game industry is the major features for the Sony PlayStation contrasting approach from the other products. As mention prior, the major opportunity for toy and game companies to market the brand towards different demographic age groups when the fluctuations in birth rate creates an audience interested in complicated toys and games (Cooper, Grey, Raymond, Walker, and 2005:28).
These fluctuations in time-tables of releasing titles and online initiatives in China compared to the USA. The strategy for the time-tables is to apply pressure in the gaming markets on the other brands to follow suit after Sony sets the trend. The outcome projected for online capabilities increased revenue and returned investment due to the Sony PlayStation robust multimedia capabilities (USA Today, 2005:1). Conversely, the fundamental marketing strategy for Sony PlayStation is to allow U. K.
to focus on the accessibility mindset for the expansion into international markets by the availability of titles to increase interest in the product. In doing so, the Sony PlayStation continues to stay competitive compared to Xbox and Nintendo Wii in both international markets. The Xbox predominately brand positioning with the manufacture trade-name Microsoft offers a competitive edge in the U. K. and the United States to keep the brand competitive to Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii. (See Figure A).
Brand Positioning Brand Name Selection Brand Sponsorship Brand Development Attributes Benefits Beliefs and Values Selection Protection Manufacturer’s brand Private brand Licensing Co-branding Line extensions Brand extensions Multi-brands New-brands More importantly, the Sony PlayStation PS3 consoles have sold in the U. K. markets creates a profound interests to producing sales trends upwards (PlayStation. com, 2008: 2).
The identified recent market strategy to improve the consoles model of PSP and PS2 that features a Blu-ray influenced the overall sales returns for the company. The Blu-ray provided the Sony PlayStation to effectively utilize the younger demographic age range from 12 to 18 years old. This approach for the Sony PlayStation differs from some of the other products by focusing and maintaining the aspect of a visual experience as the primary focus. In doing so, the targeted market segment offers Sony PlayStation to build on its already establishing consumer base to strengthen its brand identity (Sony, 2008:1).
Furthermore, the Sony PlayStation marketing strategies adapt its features to the U. K. market on technique for the gaming experience compared to other international geographic markets that provides accessibility to upgrade features. The Sony PlayStation focuses on the titles for the video game console produced to solidify their lead in specific game titles. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii as part of the generation of video game systems that distinguishes the PlayStation by its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network.
The theoretical concept that Sony Company Entertainment incorporates is based on the understanding to the international markets that the firm concentrates on adaptability that secures a holding on the demographic both offline and online. The firm geographic locations, specifically in markets that catered to the product demographics interets presents more a direct interest to the game titles and technical online accessibility. Moreover, the Sony PlayStation contrasts with previous game developer’s perception on how Sony’s marketing strategy for the online play to infuse advertising funding appropriately (Porter, 2004:89).
Nonetheless, the Xbox generation video game console expanded the landscape to present Microsoft’s second foray in succeeding their projects in the international launch (Bowen, 2000). The promotional strategy for the Xbox 360 focuses on opening an alternate reality game title selections primarily in the USA and the Microsoft Corporation primary focus is to split resources for products exposure in U. K. for the marketing strategy. The focus on the U. K. is mainly due to the reported sales that have slowed due to the onset of the Nintendo Wii product launch that counteracts Microsoft Corporation approach (Xbox.
com, 2008). Therefore, the Microsoft Corporation strategy is to penetrate the domestic and global markets with advance visual impact technology by presenting the product on an online community’s websites. The Xbox brand identity has grown in the internatinal markets over the years along with association to the British and American public; therefore, the brand identity provides an advantage in securing the brand equity compared to Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii.
However, the Xbox marketing strategy for the product concentrates on the adaptability and brand loyalty in the United States the on going approach is to strenghten itself in U. K. and international markets. The measure implemented by toys and games companies such as Microsoft Corporation Xbox, Nintendo, and other corresponding companies provides the necessity of the concept for consumers to utilize the products in a different way rather than an ordinary way (Nintendo. com, 2008:3).
The toys and game technology strategy is to provide more attractive software adaptability with creative tools to play the video game to solidify the consumer base. The product offers the technical capabilities on the online marketing to solidify the target market population for infusing the product’s brand equity. The 3 most Opportunities and 3 most Threats Identified The three most opportunity for the toy and game industry is the companies sources of information on demographics, distribution to international markets from economic scale, and the market is susceptible to “crazes” that boost volume sales for a specific item.
These benefits of using demographic segmentation for targeting a children population audience is the increase of the share of the customer in the market, high customer equity, and brand equity that provides continued growth for business operations. The building of profitable relationships with them is the foundation of marketing management (Mantel, Mereidith, Shafer, and Sutton, 2008:11). The formula for the marketing management agenda is the philosophy for a design plan that empowers the brand idenitiy through effective customer-driven marketing strategy (Thill and Bovee, 2007:88).
The opportunity creates a vast trend towards a specific product item that at times transcends the available spendable household income that truly boost sales. Therefore, the ability to change efforts to finding, attracting, and growing the target demographic from younger children to slightly older children proves beneficial by superior customer value (Kotter, 1996:1) The identified three threats are children getting older creating a shorter product shelf life, many products are global but ignoring local markets, and toys and games company has to compete with for consumer expenditures during high buying season i.
e. Christmas. Therefore, the pursuit to successfully utilize the R&D data to formulate products that adapts to growing children to reduce shelf-life, however, companies that do not invest accordlying in R&D lose a significant share in the demographic segmentation (Saunders, 2007:55). The focus effort required to balancing the marketing strategy not just globally but locally provides a strong hold on the brand loyalist to further brand equity.
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