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How American Girl can teach your CEO about Social Media

by Michael Maoz  |  January 18, 2011  |  1 Comment

All your CEO needs to know about the new Social Media and marketing can be learned by watching how Mattel markets their toy, American Girl. American Girl is a doll. Not any doll, but a doll whose owners, young American Girls (one presumes), spend an estimated average of US$500 on doll, accessories, furniture, movies, books, and magazines. Some parents take their daughters into the store for dinner (http://www.americangirl.com/stores/experience_dining.php ).

These very special dolls can be customized to the skin tone, hair colour, and eyes that match your own child. They have won the Oppenheimer Toy Award eight times.

One open secret is what the creators of the brand and products learn from the legions of Videos that its young clients create and post on YouTube. Videos created at zero cost to Mattel. Topics vary tremendously. Some recent examples?
Things an American Girl should never do!
A week in the life of an American Girl. 
Building a bunk bed
Adding makeup, Piecing ears, braiding hair
a road trip to the Mall of America
removing stains, flat-ironing hair, washing, removing stains

Does this sound trivial? Or do the viewers (ranging between a few thousand to several hundreds of thousands per video, have something to offer the company about its products and services? Words, clothing, customer profiles, preferences, location -they are all there. The comments (thousands upon thousands) and content are monitored, analyzed, and fed to product development and advertising.

In 2011, more people will connect with each other via an online site/community than by e-mail. Customers and prospects will be more highly influenced by their peers than by your marketing campaigns. The reasons go on and on.

Besides, your CEO might just enjoy the American Girl experience and set a new direction for your marketing and digital media group.

Category: applications  cloud  crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  leadership  social-networking  social-software  strategic-planning  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on How American Girl can teach your CEO about Social Media


  1. Marty Thompson says:

    Thanks Michael,

    A good article, thanks so much for highlighting this company. American Girl also resounds with so many parents out there (including yours truly), as they first offered a line of dolls that represented many facets of our collective melting pot. Wholesome is the word that comes to mind. Their magazine provided an additional venue to expand and solidify interest. The web came later, but in each phase, this company seems to understand that it is all interconnected, and important. They seem to be very good listeners.

    Marty Thompson
    Two Bananas Marketing



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