Parents are spending record amounts of money on their children.
In 2009, $41.2 billion was shelled out on toys and video games, according to NPD Group. There may be a recession, but how much it costs to raise a kid from birth to age 17 continues to rise, with the latest figure at $286,860.
“The market for children’s goods, which includes everything from stuffed bears to changing tables, increased by 5 percent in 2010, to $18 billion, according to market research Packaged Facts,” reports Blaire Briody of The Fiscal Times
“We are not always rational about these things with our kids,” psychologist David Palmiter told MarketWatch. “When we are thinking about where to cut back, our thoughts don’t go as quickly to those ritualized experiences with kids that give us collective joy.”
To compete for a share of this robust market, children’s companies are using more than traditional advertising. The best ones have jumped onto the branded content movement to capture an edge.
Here are some examples of top children’s brands and how they use content marketing online.
Babies “R” Us
Toys “R” Us ranks in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of 2012. It is perhaps the company most synonymous with kids’ retail. But it is Babies “R” Us, geared towards younger children, that takes the cake in terms of content.
When parents are expecting, there is a lot of research to be done. That’s where the Babies “R” Us website comes in. Its Resource Center offers future parents articles on the ins and outs of raising a baby, and then guides them to purchase related items.
There are 10 sections total full of content on subjects like the nursery, strollers, safety, bathing, and car seats. Each of the sections contain articles relating to the topic, along with checklists, charts, and links to products.
An integral part of the Hasbro website is its Discover page, where parents can sign on and read news about the brand’s products, learn about history of the toys it produces, and try out game demos.
There’s an interactive slide show, Play Skills Now, where parents can learn how to best play with their children during their different life stages.
The offshoot of the main Hasbro company, Playskool, has more content on its website. On the Play Benefits portion of the page, parents can find out what Hasbro toys are suitable for kids depending on their age.
The site includes facts about motor skills, cognitive learning, and sensory development, to name a few, and then suggests products based upon these guidelines. The site also includes videos of kids playing with the toys, so parents can watch and decide before they purchase if it’s the right item for their kid.
Leap Frog‘s products are focused on education, so it’s only natural that the brand would seek to educate on its website as well.
The Learning Path page on Leap Frog’s website helps parent create content including progress reports and achievement awards that are sharable on Facebook.
Babies “R”Us, Hasbro, and Leap Frog have created content-rich sites that ensure that consumers signing onto their sites can find information about children’s topics, and maybe purchase some merchandise as well.