24th March // Artem Frolov, Marketing Manager, “Mattel”
Toy Story: Innovation is not an outgoing trend
Marketing Manager, “Mattel”
15 years in marketing; 4.5 years in Mattel; Over the past 3 years NPD sales have grown by 35%; his team has 11 members.
— What industry do you work in? What does it consist of?
— The toy industry. It consists of the toys themselves and the franchises that surround them. Most good toys have some content behind them: a movie, a cartoon, comics, etc.
— What are you responsible for?
— I am responsible for the local marketing of the group of brands of the company. There is a global strategy that my team is transforming, making it relevant to our consumer.
Both children and parents are constantly demanding new things. Especially children: they get bored quickly. Therefore, innovation is our main ongoing trend.
— What is the main trend in your industry?
— Innovation. In that sense, it's very interesting how Mattel's flagship brand, Barbie, which turns 60 this year, has taken on new meaning in recent years. The modern Barbie inspires girls, encourages them to dream and embody thoughts about their future profession in the game. At the same time, the brand reflects the diversity that exists in the world, presenting variations in skin tones, eyes, hairstyles, and figures. Any girl will find a doll that reflects the world around her or someone she dreams of becoming in the future. This kind of innovation allows brands with a long history to remain relevant in a changing world.
— TV and digital. In what proportion should you plan accommodation in 2019?
— There is no universal answer, it all depends on the audience. But one thing is clear – the system is changing. TV advertising, which has long been a tried and tested formula, is getting worse and worse. Young children are still receptive to TV, they watch cartoons and even perceive commercials as part of the show. But mothers are a different story. The information flow in which they live is hundreds of times richer, and in order to break through the cluster, it is not enough to put on another video. Here it is important to understand what makes you relevant to the consumer. In this sense, the Internet and precise targeting offer much greater prospects.
— How transparent is digital for you, as a person who makes TV and digital purchase decisions? There are also many channels.
— Digital is more transparent because it gives you almost real-time feedback. You can always see how the consumer reacts to this or that creative (this or that message). In addition, the influence of TV on the mass audience is becoming less and less pronounced. On the Internet, it is possible to find the very audience that your message will not be indifferent to. And you can talk to them on a different emotional level.
— What is a team for you?
— These are people, lovers whom I trust, with pleasure I share all the joys and hardships. I got lucky with them. The more I adapt to the role of a manager, the more I understand how important face-to-face communication is, how important it is to ask for opinions and make decisions more. Team ideas are often much cooler than the ones I have.
Every manager must select for himself such people who in their field will be better than himself.
— Where there is a product of mass consumption, companies want to make their own content-containing product - a YouTube channel. How do you feel about such an idea?
— Going to YouTube is a good idea, because for many audiences this is the main place to get information. But it is important to understand that this is also a competitive platform. In order for content to be viewed, you need a good strategy, both creation and promotion. If the content is worse than what the target audience is used to perceiving, then it simply will not watch it. Even with good promotion. It is possible to drive traffic to one video, but it is difficult to maintain organic content with bad content.
— Who should make content in the toy industry - distributors or manufacturers?
— Content, of course, should be on the side of the manufacturer, as a brand ambassador in this world. Only the right holder understands what the brand should be and what message he wants to convey to the world. Distributors in this sense cannot stand aside and in every possible way should use the content created by the manufacturer and capitalize on it.
— What advice do you have for marketing directors on how to stay on the wave of the industry?
— I advise you to never stop learning! As much as possible to absorb useful information for yourself and apply it in practice.
— Tell us about your sources — where, how and what do you study? How do you choose what to study?
— Sometimes it happens completely spontaneously. From one person, article or book, you move on to another. In this organic way, you come to interesting ideas. I am currently reading Sapiens by Yuval Herrari, which tells the history of mankind and how modern society was formed in the course of evolution. I contacted the author via YouTube, where he talked about modern society and the impact of AI on it. I also recently learned about the works of Tatyana Chernigovskaya. Tatyana is a neurolinguist who tells amazing things about the brain. For example, how do you like the idea that the brain exists independently of our will, and we are just puppets in its hands?
It would seem that these topics are far from professional marketing, but for me they turn out to be very useful, as they talk about the “person-to-person” relationship.
— Why are you in the advertising industry?
— I would not say that I work directly in advertising. I perceive work as part of a commercial function. There are components related to the consumer and how you can satisfy his needs, there is the business of your partners in retail, there is a competitive environment, macroeconomics, statistics, and so on. Marketing strategy is not always a matter of advertising. It is a question of what trajectory you set for your business.
— Why do you like it?
— As for me, marketing is an amazing field on the verge of science and art. As I said, there is a lot of mathematics and statistics here. But, on the other hand, these are the subtle psychological nuances of the relationship between your brand and its consumers. From this point of view, this is a colossal thing, which you need to comprehend all your life.
Interviewer Lubov Zhenina, Commercial Director rta: