4 Marketing Lessons from Disney World

4 Marketing Lessons from Disney World Cowley Assoicates
Jun 12th, 2014

By Zachary Clark, Account Coordinator

Examples of great marketing are everywhere you look, and I couldn't help but notice some on a recent trip to Disney World. Disney is one of those iconic brands that seemingly almost does everything right, but it's why they do those things right is what stood out to me. Everything from the atmosphere to the branding can help us all pick up a few tips. Here a four examples of why Disney is such a great marketer:

#1: Customers Service is Top Priority

If you've ever been to Disney World, or anything else Disney affiliated, you'll immediately notice how happy every employee is and how much they want to help you...no matter what. Sometimes it may even seem a little of creepy how every employee is sincerely in love with their job, but then you realize it's all part of Disney's marketing. Disney puts their people first making them as enthusiastic as can be because they actually want to be there. That in turn trickles down to how they interact with the guests.

For example, my girlfriend and I wanted a picture taken on our phones together but didn't have anyone to do it for us. So, we asked one of the employees taking the really nice pictures to do it (the ones you pay an absurd price for at the end of the day). The employee took our picture with the nice camera and then one with our phones. She ended up taking 5 or 6 pictures of us on our phones while fireworks from a show were going on behind us. She full well knew that we weren't going to buy the picture from her camera, but made sure the ones on our phones were over the top amazing. It's small things like that, that make people rave about their experiences and keep coming back for more.

Lesson Learned: Treat your people first so they love what they do and go out and make the experience of everyone they interact with the best it can possibly be.

#2: Things Break, but Can Always be Fixed

The weather wasn't as spectacular as you'd hope, it was kind of raining and even thunder and lighting at one point. That led to some of the rides being on the fritz a little bit, and the occasional being stuck for a few minutes. Although you hate being stuck because you want you experience to go flawless, those things do happen.

But, what's great about Disney is that they're aware of problems and take preventative measures so they can manage your expectations. For example, we were about to get on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride when the employees noticed it was about to go down. So, instead of us getting on it and being stuck in the dark tunnels of the ride, they told us not to get on while they looked in to it. They could have easily got us on the ride, had it break down, and then tried to fix it. But, instead they looked into it first so we didn't get stuck and proceed to freak out in the darkness.

Lesson Learned: Things will eventually break, but looking out for them and taking preventive measures first will go a long way in the eye of the consumer.

#3: Innovation is Consistent

Disney is one of those companies that just keeps innovating and comes up with new things over and over again. Just when you think they can't possibly do any more...they do.

Disney recently implemented an enhanced "My Disney Experience" complete with a mobile app and intuitive wearable device. The system as a whole is without a doubt complex, but to the user it's so simple. Disney goers can upload their ticket information to their smartphone and then again to a purchased wristband. The smartphone will keep track of all the rides and wait times that you need to know. And, the wristband holds all of your ticket information so you can just scan your wristband at rides and entrances instead of fumbling around for your ticket. The wristbands also store your personal information, so when you scan it your name pops up and an employee can greet you by name making your experience even more personalized. The entire system was so easy to use that even the 5 year old kids had it down with ease.

Lesson Learned: Never stop innovating and making your customers' experiences that much better. It's amazing how much people grasp and respond to things that make their life that much easier.

#4: The Show Always Goes On

As I mentioned, the weather wasn't so great out. It was poor enough to buy the $8.50 souvenir ponchos that probably won't ever be worn again. That led us to having serious doubts about the fireworks show that was to go on at the end of the night (which is without a doubt our favorite part). If the show didn't go on we would have certainly been crushed and left with a feeling of disappointment.

But, after talking to a few Disney employees, they said the show always goes on, rain or shine. The only time it gets called off is if there are extremely high winds or severe lighting. That made us ecstatic and see their values of making sure everyone goes home happy, even if ponchos do cost $8.50 and it rains most of the afternoon.

Lesson Learned: The show should always go on and only in extreme circumstances should it ever be called off. Your customers deserve the very best you can give them, even if things aren't going exactly as you planned.

The Happiest Place on Earth

Disney touts themselves as being the "Happiest Place on Earth" and it's easy to see why. They may be the best company at relationship marketing and it's clear their strategy is working. We can all learn from companies like Disney and their philosophy on treating customers. Sure, a ticket into Magic Kingdom costs $99, but they make you feel like every single penny was worth it.

Are your customers like the ones at Magic Kingdom and feel like every penny spent with you is worth it? If not, it could be time to reevaluate your relationship marketing efforts, both with consumers and even your own employees.

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