I know very little about the toy market. I've thought about trying to create a graphic novel or book to introduce the characters first, but know very little about the publishing market. I have some ideas around distribution channels for the characters but no experience sourcing and/or developing a line of toys. Any advice is welcome!
I'm working on a character line. We have copyrighted characters and multimedia featuring them...songs, videos, books.
You know what else we have? Corporate sponsors.
Are the wheels starting to turn?
If you're a toy manufacturer, you get into the action figure business because you want to sell the toys you make.
If you're not a toy manufacturer, then you get into the action figure business to license content and characters to help other organizations promote their agenda to consumers.
Publishing is a tool but should not be your focus.
To discover who your characters are in line with, and how to market to them, let's book a call.
Honestly, I know very little about the toy market myself. But it would be an interesting case to work on branding-wise. If you'd like any help with naming or even pitching (from the standpoint of written copy), let me know.
Unless the physical toys themselves are radically unlike others on the market, then I think you'd be smart to differentiate your product line by developing the STORY first and foremost. That way, you could elaborate your premise and characters.
Whether that story is presented to investors first (in a pitch deck, let's say) or to children (via graphic novels, cartoon shows, or TV / video ads), it's the story that should sell the merchandise.
Contact one of the existing companies, then the next, then the next. Don't try to go it alone unless you have real deep pockets.
I am not trying to sell you on calling me. Really, I am pretty busy with my businesses and consulting. However, I need more info before I could have a greater impact in helping you.
Ask, Ask, Ask, then Ask again.
Here is $10,000 worth of information for free and in a nutshell.
Concentrate on the 3 M's. There are actually 7, but 3 will do for now. These are Market, Message, and Media. They come in that order.
Who is your target market (customer, clients, buyers, users, etc.)?
Tailor your laser focused message for this target market.
What is the best media mix to get your message to that market?
Here's what you do...first, make it an offer that is so incredible that they cannot resist. Secondly, do all the work for them. Make it so easy to make the purchase now that they can do it virtually without effort. Thirdly, give them an incentive to act right now. Fourthly, offer an almost unbelievable guarantee. Fifth, offer a bonus for acting now. There are many other incredible steps, but these steps should help the novice to the professional sell anything.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. They are one and the same. Don't get off track, what we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since Cluade Hopkins wrote "Scientific Advertising." Really long before he wrote the book.
The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.
Ask, Ask, Ask. Have thick skin and learn from each "mistake." In a short while, the market will tell you what you need to do and who and what you need to ask. But get started now even if that just means asking a contact on LinkedIn.
While you are thinking, think big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.
Make decisions quickly and change decisions slowly..unless you are actually going off a cliff.
Remember these two 11 letter words...persistence and consistency. They are two of the most important tools ever invented.
Treat everybody you talk to and everybody you meet (including yourself) like each is your number one million dollar customer.
Bootstrap when possible and reasonable. Read "How To Get Rich" by Felix Dennis. Or better yet just remember the camel's nose in the tent story.
However, sometimes you just need to make a deal.
Listen, in any business you have to take some chances and some risks. Make sure you don't need a license and go for it. Remember, timid business people have skinny kids. Paraphrased from Zig Ziglar.
Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.
Michael Irvin, MBA, RN