Ty Warner was the inventor of the Beanie Baby. He was the first person to use plastic pellets instead of regular stuffing, and made a fortune selling his creations. How did Beanie Babies get so hugely popular? What created the Beanie Baby Boom in the 90s? This article will go in more depth into what Ty did to make his creations so desirable, and the a few of his marketing strategies.
In this two-part article we will go through and dissect some of Ty’s most valuable marketing strategies. What Ty did to make his Ty Beanie Babies so popular and in demand.
When Ty was looking to create a new toy, he followed the following marketing strategies:
- withold information to intrigue buyers – very little advertising
- don’t be stale, shake things up once in a while
- limit production and availability
- don’t sell through large retailers
- keep it simple
- wide variety to cater to different markets
- artificially create demand by limiting production or retiring models
These strategies formed the basis for the way Ty went out to make and promote his creations. Using these strategies, Ty turned Beanie Babies from a regular ordinary child’s toy, to an international craze that encompassed the whole world.
If you want everybody to buy your toy, you have to make it cheap. Ty wanted to make Beanie Babies so affordable, that children could buy it with their allowance money. This low price range allowed anybody to afford buying a Beanie Baby. Starting a collection was very easy and cheap.
2) Withold information to intrigue buyers – very little advertising
Advertising is everywhere. Toys are being sold left and right. But you hardly saw any advertising to sell Beanie Babies did you? Most of Ty’s advertising came from word of mouth. Friends telling friends. That is the best type of advertising. Who are you more likely to believe – one of your friends, or a tv commercial? Ty’s philosphy – to get them hooked and keep them coming, to tell all the friends who in turn tell their other friends. This is what made Beanie Babies so popular, and everyone around the world suddenly knew all about Ty Beanie Babies and wanted to collect them!
Ty also allowed fans to create websits and even make newsletters and magazines. Most companies do not allow this, but Ty encouraged it! This created a huge fan base of people that loved the bears and appreciated how Ty treated customers. This in turn drove them to buy even more Beanie Babies!
3) Don’t be stale, shake things up once in a while
Who doesn’t like surprises? Everyone loves a surprise, and Ty would often give one to Beanie Baby owners. An example includes Ty leaving clues as to what new beanie baby would be coming out on his website. Another example, was tha Ty would suddenly retire certain Beanie Babies without warning. This created a huge demand for whatever Beanie Baby that was retiring, as collectors would actively go out and look for the last ones for their collections. Retirement created demand, and this demand meant more sales for Ty! Once, Ty claimed that he would retire all the Beanie Babies at once! This caused a massive reaction, when Ty then announced that he would let people vote on which beanie babies would stay. Now people were actively in the process of deciding what beanie babies they thougt were popular, and Ty was able to find out!
4) Limit production and availability
By retiring certain beanie babies, Ty limited production, and thus created a demand for certain models of beanie babies. Making certain beanie babies rarer than others, kept people on their toes, wondering what Ty would do next. Since the demand was also up, this increased the number of sales as well as the sale price of beanie babies. As well as retiring Beanie Babies, Ty also created beanie babies with limited production runs, as well as certain beanie babies only available in certain countries. This once again added to the demand for certain beanie baby models.
In the next article, we will go over marketing strategies 5-10. See you Beanie Babies next time!