Bill Ritchie and his wife, Andrea Barthello, founded ThinkFun in 1985 to translate the ideas of mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into enjoyable games for kids around the world. Bill’s inspiration was his own childhood. “From the time I was a little kid, the whole idea of recreational mathematics and playing with logic games and toys was something I thought everybody did,” Bill says. Today, ThinkFun produces challenging games, toys, puzzles, and brain teasers. “We do less online gaming than physical, in-your-hands games for deeper experiences through play.”
“The Internet allows us to tell our unique story and reach niche audiences.”
Bill Ritchie, President & Co-founder
After a quarter century in business, scrambling for market share with the toy giants, ThinkFun saw the incredible digital possibilities of “reaching niche audiences, telling a deeper story, and having people communicate with each other about this cool company,” Bill says. “We realized that we needed to make some fundamental changes in the way we created our products and went to market,” says Mike Ritchie, Director of Marketing. ThinkFun launched a completely new website in 2015 and waded deeply into digital marketing and social media. They turned to AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to help them target those niche markets. Bill describes their experience with AdWords as “gasoline on the fire,” and it is now integral to their marketing strategy. Google Analytics gives them insights into what visitors to their website find most relevant, allowing them to make data-driven decisions about what is resonating with customers.
ThinkFun has 35 employees.
ThinkFun has garnered hundreds of awards and accolades for their games and puzzles, including Code Master, Rush Hour, and Gravity Maze. The Internet and Google tools have given them the opportunity to create their own strong brand online, so they are no longer solely dependent on just selling to big retailers. In fact, they now have passionate fans among parents and children in over 50 countries. Bill expects exciting times ahead. “There’s still a lot of value placed on physical games for kids. But we need to make sure that we’re adapting to the digital side, so we can be wherever we need to be going forward,” he says. “Google will help us to realize that future.”
For more information on the ThinkFun case study, visit https://economicimpact.google.com.
Content provided by Google