Lovery Marketing Strategy

One of the fastest growing brands in DTC right now is Lovevery. Today we will take a look at what makes their ecommerce brand so successful and how they were able to stand out in the crowded children’s toy market. 

Lovevery creates educational products and experiences for children that support developmental stages and promote cognitive and motor skills. Their flagship products are “Play Kits,” a subscription box of curated age-appropriate toys and learning materials.

Since 2015,  they’ve experienced “exploding” search growth status, ranking them #1 among growing DTC startup brands:

[Lovevery’s search volume from explodingtopics.com]

So, what’s their secret? How have they been able to not only stand out, but achieve “explosive growth” in the uber-crowded market of children’s toys?

We were curious too, so we did a deep dive into their marketing tactics to see what we could learn…

Here are our top takeaways from Lovevery’s success, and tips on how to apply the same tactics to your 2024 marketing strategy! 👇

  1.  BUILDING A BRAND FIRST

Good marketing sells – but Lovevery knows it’s your brand that ultimately keeps customers coming back.

From the very beginning, they focused on building their brand and defining their mission, even before finalizing product designs. 

“We sought out the best partners that we could find to help us with branding and tone of voice to really establish, okay, what is this, what is this experience going to be for parents? And so we started with that and then we invested a great deal into the products themselves. 

So our working philosophy was if we get the brand right, we’re going to get the products, right. And if we get the products, right, marketing’s not going to take care of itself, but you don’t have nearly as good a company if you lean into marketing first and you don’t nail it with a branded product.

–Roderick Morris, Cofounder & President of Lovevery, from this interview

Starting an online ecommerce business is easier than ever these days. While that’s pretty rad, it can also result in fast-forwarding through the brand-building process.  Many companies jump directly to product development and performance marketing before they know their purpose!

So, what’s the benefit of a brand-first approach? 

By defining its mission and target market early, Lovevery had a strong foundation to build from. They knew what kind of experience they wanted to create, what parents wanted for their children, and what kind of toys kids would enjoy. Then they started building, developing, and testing from there!

A strong brand identity can only enhance your business. It makes product development easier, enhances the effectiveness of your marketing, and builds that like/know/trust relationship that keeps customers coming back time and time again.

Lovevery built a solid brand foundation FIRST, then designed their products, and then worried about the marketing. 

Maybe there’s a lesson there to be learned for all of us!

💡 Your takeaway:

How well have you defined your brand? Does everyone at your company have a clear understanding of who you are and who you serve? Do you think about your customers every time you create a new product or write a piece of copy? 

If not, this may be the year to do some deep dives into target market research and establish clear branding guidelines!

  1.  QUALITY & SUSTAINABILITY

The brands that are excelling in DTC right now are those creating quality products that last (and bonus points for sustainability efforts).

In a market saturated with cheap, colorful plastic, Lovevery chose a different route. All of their products are Montessori-style, built with high-quality, sustainable, and durable materials.

They’ve also invested heavily in product research and design. Each toy is created with the help of child development experts to engage kids according to their age and developmental milestones (AKA they actually play with them for more than 5 seconds).

By offering high-quality products, Lovevery:

  • Differentiates itself from the vast majority of children’s toys
  • Appeals to the growing group of parents who care about sustainability & nontoxic products
  • Creates a natural “curb appeal” with aesthetic products that sell themselves in photos and videos
  • Positions itself as a “quality” brand, and thus can charge more for its products
  • Builds trust and loyalty with consumers

It’s true, there are many options cheaper than Lovevery, but they’re not necessarily what children – and their parents – actually want!

💡 Your takeaway:

There’s no shame in being the more inexpensive product on the market, but consumer desires are changing and people are willing to pay more for higher-quality items!

Are you using the highest quality materials available for your product? Have you invested in sustainability efforts of any kind? If not, it’s important to ask yourself if this is strategic, or just an effort to be cost-effective. 

  1. EDUCATIONAL CONTENT

Nothing makes you realize your incompetence more than raising a tiny human…

Lovevery knows all new parents have secretly prayed for a “parenting manual,” which is why they’ve made education such a cornerstone of their brand. 

Educational content is literally woven into every step of the Lovevery customer journey. 

Here’s just a quick list of the ways they’ve invested in content:

  • Educational blog posts
  • Online courses on various parenting topics
  • Regular educational posts on organic social media
  • A weekly newsletter with personalized insights for parents based on their child’s age
  • An app that delivers parenting tips, development education, and activity ideas
  • And yes, they even have a podcast!

That is a LOT of content for one brand to be producing regularly… but it’s clearly working for them.

And here’s why:

  1. Informative, well-researched, content that’s backed by science/experts helps them build authority in the child development space. This ultimately leads to consumers having more trust in the brand.
  2. Free content nurtures potential customers that aren’t yet ready to buy, and provides them with multiple touchpoints to engage with the brand.
  3. Their content not only sells products but also provides parents with the education and advice they crave, creating a deeper connection with the brand.

Case in point: More than 400,000 people are subscribed to Lovevery’s newsletter – and these emails get a whopping 40% open rate. That’s pretty unheard of in the eCommerce space.

“And I think because we’re investing so much in content and obsessing about that content, we have tremendously high like click-to-open rates when we send emails to customers about their child’s developmental stage. We got great engagement on the app. And people see it as more of a system when they’re really integrated content specific to their child’s age.”

–Roderick Morris, Cofounder & President of Lovevery, from this interview

💡 Your takeaway:

Educational content is an investment and it can take time to pay off – but if you are truly creating value for your customer, it’s some of the highest ROI marketing you can do.

Is your marketing funnel missing educational content? Are you giving enough free value away to customers? If your LTV is lower than you’d like, or you’re struggling to retain customers, this could be a place to focus this year! 💡

  1. SELLING SUBSCRIPTIONS

A (mostly) subscription model business is no doubt another major part of Lovevery’s success. 

In fact, their best-selling item is “The Play Kits,” a subscription box with new toys sent every few months – and it generates the brand a cool $100 million in recurring revenue year-over-year. NBD.

We all know the magic of subs: recurring revenue, higher LTV, and more reliable financial forecasting.  And for obvious reasons, busy parents love them, too. Never have to go to the store and pick out a random toy your child may or may not like? Yes, please. 👋

The subscription model has certainly played in Lovevery’s favor, but they’ve also maxed it to its full potential. 

For example, they give shoppers the option to prepay for kits in advance at a discount. This not only helps customers feel like they’re getting a deal, but also incentivizes sticking with the brand (higher LTV for you).

They’ve also made it easy to “gift” a subscription, expanding their audience from just parents to other family members and friends.

And they’re also using best practices to reduce friction and incentivize subs – like offering free shipping and hassle-free cancellations.

💡 Your takeaway:

If you aren’t offering subscriptions yet, get with it!

And if you are, how’s it going? Do you make it easy for your customers to manage their subs (pause, cancel, modify)? Could you give discounts for prepaying to incentivize longer subscription periods? Is it possible for customers to “gift” your subscriptions? All things to think about! 💡

  1. BUT THEY OFFER STANDALONE PRODUCTS, TOO

Subs are great and all, but not everyone is ready for that kind of commitment. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a la carte products available for customers at different price points and stages of buying.

Fun fact: Lovevery got its start with a standalone product called the “Play Gym” (that you’ve probably seen on every baby registry at this point).

“And that product continues today to be a meaningful contributor to our business, financially. But perhaps even more important, it’s a product that makes people aware of the brand….

What we’re trying to do is create a quality experience in that individual product and do it in a way that kind of onboards people to the brand where they want to like learn more, because they like this experience that they’re having, where they’re actually feeling more informed about what their child wants to do. They like the way that it looks in their home. And so, they become more aware of Lovevery. They spend time with us maybe online, and then they ultimately become subscribers or at least start consuming more of our content.”

–Roderick Morris, Cofounder & President of Lovevery, from this interview

It’s always a good idea to have both subscriptions/systems and one-off products at different price points. These can serve as brand awareness anchors, and ultimately, gateways to your higher-commitment products!

💡 Your takeaway:

Do you have a “gateway product” that customers love? Can you focus your top-of-funnel marketing efforts on that product to acquire customers, and sell higher-ticket items and subscriptions further down the funnel?

  1. PERSONALIZE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

“Personalization” is a hot topic in eCommerce marketing these days. And it just so happens to be the very foundation of Lovevery’s business model.

From your first interaction with them, everything is customized for your child’s specific age and developmental milestone. They gather just enough first-party data to be able to send personalized content and product recommendations that are relevant to your child at that time.

By working with child development experts, Lovevery can also tailor its product recommendations to suit the specific developmental stage of each child. 

Their Play Kits are fully personalized to your child’s age and what they’re most interested in during that time. This is what makes their products extra enjoyable for kids, and gives parents peace of mind that their toys are enhancing their child’s cognitive and motor skills.

By personalizing content and products based on a child’s age and developmental stages, Lovevery creates this uber-engaging relationship with its customers. That’s what keeps them loyal to the brand!

💡 Your takeaway:

Customers want a personalized experience from brands. Are you personalizing product recommendations and content for your shoppers? If not, how can you gather more data upfront to deliver a unique experience for each customer? 

  1.  UGC (TO THE MOON)

Take one glance at Lovevery’s marketing, and you’ll see a major theme: UGC.

Pretty much all of their creative = real kids and parents using their products. This brand clearly knows the power of social proof, and they use it to their advantage! 

Most of their ads are user-generated content, often a video of a kid playing with toys and a parent testimonial in the copy.

How does Lovevery manage to churn out so much user-generated creative? 

Here are a few insights we were able to gather:

  • They reuse organic creative from followers and repost as ads (tagging the account)
  • They’ve invested heavily in an in-house creative team and do photo and video shoots each month
  • They have a robust influencer marketing team reaching out to influencers across various platforms. They use GRIN for managing outreach and run a product-for-post model (don’t pay for posts or stories).

It also doesn’t hurt that they create quality products that people love and are naturally inclined to share (including celebrities)!

💡 Your takeaway:

Nothing sells like social proof. What can you do this year to gather and utilize more UGC? Can you invest more in an influencer program? Do more in-house creative shoots? Incentivize customers to share their experiences with you? 

Brainstorm ways that you can use more UGC in your marketing, and we promise, it will pay off!

Lovevery hasn’t achieved “explosive growth” for no reason. By focusing on building a brand customers love, quality products that last, and a personalized customer experience through educational content and products, they’ve put in the work to create a loyal following and organic growth that’s catapulted them to one of the fastest-growing brands in DTC!

✨ What can you do to achieve similar growth this year for YOUR brand?