Retail & Entertainment

Case Study: Ecosystem Audit for Leading Toy Retailer

Business Challenge

Leading toy retailer wanted to explore how to use social media sites to engage with toy collectors in several businesses: model trains, slotcar racing, diecast and dolls. Customized an ecosystem audit to identify and analyze feasibility of engaging collectors with diverse interests in social media venues.


As engagement partner, advised CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) on optimal social business engagement approach for model railroad, slotcar, diecast, doll and action figure businesses. Made specific recommendations based on ecosystem audit findings.


In rapid iterations, developed stakeholder profiles for various types of collectors with diverse interests, and worked with client engagement team to prioritize them in terms of importance to the business.

Developed each stakeholder’s key characteristics, and used them to design filters that would find them online. Programmed, tested and iterated each stakeholder filter in tight cycles. Utilized SNR Analytics tools and processes to rank highest priority digital social venues that would enable the brand to interact most efficiently.

Worked with engagement team to conceptualize and rank importance of stakeholders’ key activities (“workstreams”) most relevant to the brand. Programmed, tested and iterated filters for each workstream. Workstreams involved stakeholders’ motivations for toy collecting, which ranged from “collecting for their kids” and to “building and operating highlight complex railroad layouts” and “competing in slotcar racing tournaments.” Each stakeholder had numerous variations.

Synthesized findings of workstream and stakeholder filters to make specific recommendations based on ecosystem audit findings.

Created Ecosystem Audit Report with stakeholder profiles, workstream analysis, links and specific recommendations for how to engage various collectors.


  • Discovered large, surprise collector and hobbyist opportunity with no big brand presence.
  • Some of the brand’s most valuable stakeholders (largest customer segments) had little activity in digital social media venues, so the ecosystem audit enabled management to avoid over-investing.
  • Facilitated partnership with client and hobbyist forum, leading to a valuable collaboration opportunity with the highest ranked forum that was known but not fully appreciated.
  • The engagement team saw what optimal collector conversations looked like, based on real interactions. Most of these took place in forums, not popular social media platforms where all brands to investing.
  • The engagement team significantly improved its understanding of how to engage by focusing on stakeholders’ motivations and highest value workstreams. By seeing and understanding stakeholders’ activities in terms of their desired outcomes, the team could advise various businesses’ marketing more effectively.

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