Knock-offs are a common issue in the toy industry. The strategy to deal with them is often to be the fastest to store shelves and apply the biggest advertising budget to block out competing noise. But for Laurie Peterson, an independent mompreneur who launched her toy company, Build & Imagine, on Kickstarter, cost is a concern.
Laurie Peterson discusses her cost strategies.
Laurie Peterson (right), founder of Build & Imagine, who had appeared on QVC, has been granted a U.S. utility patent for her toy line.
“As a small startup, we don’t have the advertising power of some of our competitors, like Lego Friends which is backed by arguably the highest valued toy company in the world,” says Peterson, founder and inventor of Build & Imagine. “What we rely on to help Build & Imagine grow is love of our toys. Rather than investing dollars in advertising, we’ve double-downed on product quality.”
Her strategy to invest in product quality may be paying off. In a recent Net Promoter Score survey, Build & Imagine found that 73 percent of customers were “extremely likely” to recommend Build & Imagine to a friend or colleague. As a result, Build & Imagine was granted a utility patent earlier this week, protecting its illustrated magnetic building panels.
“In the age of social media, it doesn’t matter how much advertising you do if your product isn’t up to snuff,” says Peterson. “The customers now control the message. The most important marketing move a new toy company can make is to provide a rich and lasting play experience that translates into customer loyalty.”