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Mattel’s Global Marketing Strategy

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Mattel is rewriting the rules for toy marketing on a global scale. As the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of toys and family products, Mattel successfully markets its best-selling Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, and American Girl® brands in more than 150 countries.

Mattel’s global marketing success can be linked to its new-product development effort. Toy developers are encouraged to think globally from the moment a new toy is conceived, with an eye to developing products that are likely to have universal appeal. Why? Mattel’s research with children in dozens of countries has yielded a novel insight: Children are more alike than they are different in their product preferences. Today, Mattel markets as much as 80 percent of its product offerings to a global audience, with just 20 percent geared to individual country markets. Mattel’s product introductions as well are global in scope. For example, Mattel launched Rapunzel Barbie on the same day in 59 countries supported by a televised advertising campaign broadcast in 35 languages. The widening international reach of retailing giants such as Wal-Mart, Target, and French-based Carrefour SA (the world’s second-largest retailer) also permits Mattel to coordinate its store merchandising campaigns on a global scale.

Companies can learn from Mattel’s global market orientation strategy. Mattel’s global marketing orientation has paid huge dividends. About 40 percent of the company’s sales come from outside the United States. One Barbie is sold every three seconds somewhere in the world.

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YouSigma. (2008). "Mattel’s Global Marketing Strategy." From http://www.yousigma.com.

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