New TrendHunter Report on Digital Marketing Available for Members

October 24, 2017 |’s latest free monthly report for Toy Association members explores how brands are using digital platforms to market to and connect with consumers.

“Traditional ways of marketing are less relevant to millennial parents. Companies need to be where their customers are and that’s on social media and mobile apps,” says Anne McConnell, senior director of market research & data strategy at The Toy Association. “Understanding these constantly evolving digital marketing trends will be an important competitive advantage for toy companies given the tech-savviness of younger generations.”

The following trends are highlighted in the report:

  • Geo-Targeting – Brands are targeting younger tech-savvy consumers through location-based engagement to create personalized interaction. For example, the Venezuelan movie theater chain Cinex is engaging audiences through interactive social cinemas that let movie goers tweet on the big screen while watching a movie.
  • Crowd Creations – Brands are using social media and crowdsourcing to let consumers pick new product flavors and designs – enhancing their emotional investment in a brand. In honor of the brand's 75th anniversary, M&M'S asked fans to choose its newest peanut-flavored candy to join the original peanut M&M. The contest had more than one million votes cast by fans. The winner was Coffee Nut, which beat Honey Nut and Chili Nut flavors.
  • Branded Forum – Companies are creating branded communities online, such as Taco Bell’s “TacoBot” feature that allows customers to order via the professional chat room app Slack.
  • Ephemeral Spectatorship – Sports networks and broadcasters are using social media platforms to reach fans and cultivate new ones. Last year, Snapchat inked a deal with NBC to allow the mobile app to broadcast highlights from the Olympic 2016 games in Rio. NBC plans to repeat the initiative with Snapchat for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
  • Appified Loyalty – Instead of relying on physical cards, many brands are extending their loyalty programs into branded mobile apps that consumers can easily keep on their devices. Pizza Hut recently launched its “Hut Rewards” app-based loyalty program, which gives customers rewards for every dollar spent on food online.

This value-added report is the latest in a series from the research company offering in-depth perspectives and trends in various areas related to the toy industry. Last month’s report centered on the millennial lifestyle. Members are encouraged to send topic suggestions for future trend reports to The Toy Association’s Anne McConnell. has accumulated nearly 3 billion views from more than 100 million visitors. The data research company helps clients “Dive Deeper,” “Work Smarter,” and “Save Effort” in order to increase the overall success of their companies and brands.