BarbieBy Kim S. Nash Print
Mattel's world-class competitive intelligence system crunches sales reports, children's play-pattern studies, and even findings on where kids go online. The system picked up signals that young girls, heavily influenced by the gyrations of pop star Britneyby the Numbers">
Headquarters: 333 Continental Blvd., El Segundo, CA 90245
Phone: (310) 252-2000
Business: Makes and markets toys, including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price products.
Chief Executive Officer: Robert Eckert
Financials in 2004: $5.1 billion in sales; $573 million in profits; net profit margin of 11%.
Challenge: To maintain Barbie's place as the top-selling fashion doll in the world, and a cash cow for Mattel, amid an onslaught of doll challengers.
- Generate 50% of sales outside the U.S., up from 42% last year.
- Cut overhead costs as a percentage of sales to between 17% and 18%, down from 20% last year.
- Increase operating margin as a percentage of sales to 20%, up from 14% last year.
- Continue to decrease reliance on Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Target, which combined accounted for 46% of sales last year, down from 50% in 2002, in favor of smaller retailers and online sales.
How Barbie Lost Her Groove Great product; historical franchise; huge market share; unbelievable customer affinity. And rapidly dropping popularity
Operational Details on the Barbie Situation:
Barbie's Heroes: Mattel's intelligence agents, their bosses, and who played what role in the problematic reinvention of Barbie.
Roadblock: CEOs can be the Greatest Obstacle to Success. Mattel's intelligence told it kids wanted hipper Barbies; CEO Robert Eckert and Mattel reacted slowly, and paid the price.
World Class Tool Box: Mattel uses a sophisticated set of data and intelligence tools to steer the Barbie franchise.
Near-Sighted Corporate Intelligence Can Be as Deadly as the Competition. Rival companies with successful toys put Barbie in a tough spot. Politics, social pressures and fashion changes can sink you oras Japanese car-makers demonstratedmake you a winner.
ACNielsen: Retail Riches. Every day, ACNielsen gathers data associated with millions of retail purchases, from apples in Arizona and Barbies in Boston. It charges a bundle for the results. Is it worth it?
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