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183 What Barbie Can Teach Tech CEOs About Marketing

Monday 24th June 2024
183 What Barbie Can Teach Tech CEOs About Marketing

On this episode of Lochhead on Marketing, let’s take a look on what the movie Barbie did to reach such an overwhelming success, and what Tech CEOs can learn about their approach to marketing.

Welcome to Lochhead on Marketing. The number one charting marketing podcast for marketers, category designers, and entrepreneurs with a different mind.

Barbie’s Approach to Marketing

Christopher Lochhead opens up the dialogue with pointing out the things that the Barbie producers did that made it a blockbuster win, particularly with what they did on the marketing side. According to Christopher, Barbie pulled off the greatest “lightning strike” framework of any brand in 2023.

One of the notable things that stood out was that Barbie spent $145M on producing the film, while spending almost $150M on marketing.

Let that sink in: $145M to make it, $150M to build it up.

Most companies would consider it outrageous to do such a thing, opting to focus their resources on building the product and spending what’s left on marketing, if any. And this is why most of those companies fail to make a mark and carve out a market early on in their product’s lifecycle.

How about Barbie? Well, it spent a combined $295M, but that marketing approach resulted in $1B in sales. $145M to make it, $150M to build. $1B in revenue.

Barbie’s Missed Opportunity

That said, Christopher did point out a few missed avenues that Barbie could’ve made to take advantage of their marketing strategy. For one thing, they left the digital space widely untapped, spawning newsletters and enticing new generations of girls to getting into collecting Barbies and other related merchandise.

Another thing they could’ve done is get older fans together and start building out a community in the digital sphere and talk all things Barbie. Not only does it heavily hit people in their nostalgia, but it can also help expose those older generation’s children into Barbie, and then you are back to point no. 1.

The Recession that Never Came

One of the things that Christopher also noticed with Barbie’s approach is that people are still bracing for a recession that seemingly never came, or at least was not as full-blown as we were expecting it to be. While everyone else was still timidly testing the waters, Barbie decided it would make a big splash instead.

So for Tech CEOs out there, it may not be the time to be holding down the fort. Rather, it should be a good time to try and hurl some lightning strikes in the market and see if you strike gold.

To hear more about Christopher Lochhead’s views on Barbie’s success and how it can teach tech CEOS about marketing, download and listen to this episode.


Christopher Lochhead is a #1 Apple podcaster and #1 Amazon bestselling co-author of books: Niche Down and Play Bigger.

He has been an advisor to over 50 venture-backed startups; a former three-time Silicon Valley public company CMO and an entrepreneur.

Furthermore, he has been called “one of the best minds in marketing” by The Marketing Journal, a “Human Exclamation Point” by Fast Company, a “quasar” by NBA legend Bill Walton and “off-putting to some” by The Economist.

In addition, he served as a chief marketing officer of software juggernaut Mercury Interactive. Hewlett-Packard acquired the company in 2006, for $4.5 billion.

He also co-founded the marketing consulting firm LOCHHEAD; the founding CMO of Internet consulting firm Scient, and served as head of marketing at the CRM software firm Vantive.

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