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How one company used online video to save their business

rokenbok online videosRokenbok has to be one of the coolest lines of toys invented. They make building toys and moving vehicles in miniature. And while Lego is much more popular, Rokenbok is definitely cooler. That’s probably why their toys were only available at specialty toy shops. That, and the fact they cost significantly more than most Lego sets.

About ten or twelve years ago, I bought several sets for my daughter. We had a blast moving the little vehicles around to pick up their payloads of little balls and then drive them back to drop the balls off again. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then visit their website – but wait until you finish the blog. My nostalgia about playing with the toys is only tangentially relevant to the story so you don’t need to actually understand the toys.

At some point we gave away or sold the sets since my daughter had lost interest and my son wasn’t yet born. Then he came along and I wished we hadn’t got rid of them. But I couldn’t find the toys anywhere in our local shops. Eventually I forgot about my quest to find them since there were plenty of other things on his interest list.

So I was quite happy when I stumbled upon an article describing how the company is still going strong – but as an entirely online business. In the age of big box stores, the small specialty shops where their toys used to be sold were going out of business. Eventually they pulled out of the specialty marketing and went online. What’s more, they use online video to drive all their traffic and sales. Video marketing on YouTube is how they raise awareness for their toys. And video marketing using private hosting on their website is how they close their sales.

President and founder of Rokenbok, Paul Eichen, said in the article “We don’t expect anyone to buy the product the first time they encounter us, so we need to build a relationship.” This is because of the high price point of their toys primarily. Eichen admits they aren’t an impulse item for most families.

So they use their online videos to educate kids and parents that stumble onto their videos on YouTube when looking for construction related videos. They demonstrate the toys, and they also post user created videos to show how other kids are playing with their toys. The company develops a relationship of familiarity and fun through their videos.

Once the kids or parents move to their website, they’ll see additional videos and “movies” using their toys. Each one is designed to show how fun, versatile, and even educational their toys can be. But be quiet about the educational part, the kids just think it’s fun! And that’s what the website videos show, without all the distractions of YouTube: related video suggestions, comments, ads. Privately hosted video on their site allows them to capture, and keep, each visitor as long as they want to stay. And apparently that is long enough for them to make sales and keep their business going.

Oliver Burt

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