Lessons Learned From (one of) The World’s Greatest Marketers

Posted by Susie Sykes

At Catapult, we are always looking to other markets to see how companies are using innovative marketing tactics to build their brands. This usually involves a lot of reading, internet research and sleuthing; however,  I was recently exposed to the ultimate marketing machine – a travel experience that was so thoroughly marketed from start to finish, I was completely blown away.

I took my family to Walt Disney World.

While I’m sure the bank account of Disney rivals that of a small country, there were some incredible marketing lessons that all businesses can learn from, be inspired by, or even incorporate into their own marketing strategy.

Here’s what I learned from Disney World’s magical world of marketing:

1.Make Purchasing Easy

Disney’s got it all figured out when it comes to helping people pay for their vacation – including the expensive extras – with ease.  How have they managed this? By introducing the Magic Band.
What makes the Magic Band so special is that all your credit card information is stored on this waterproof device. Want to grab a refreshing smoothie after that last ride? Simply wave your wrist in front of a card reader at the kiosk. The Magic Band also holds all your park admissions, ride reservations, and even your hotel room access.

Business owners, take note – making purchases refreshingly easy to make a lasting impression on current and potential clients.

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2.Feedback, Feedback, Feedback

While walking through Animal Kingdom, a friendly hostess approached me carrying an iPad and asked if she could ask me 10 simple questions about my experience at Disney, which I appreciated as a valued consumer.

Pro Tip: All businesses should ask for regular customer feedback – Maybe not every day, but reaching out at the end of any significant contract or transaction, or at least once a year will make an impact.

Did you know? Catapult completes one-on-one phone calls for our clients to source stakeholder feedback on a regular basis.

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3. Ask Your Customers to Market For You
Not sure what rides are appropriate for young children? Want to know the best place to view the fireworks? Ask any parent who has planned a Disney vacation, and you understand it requires a Navy-Seal level of organization.

Thankfully, Disney has created an entire website platform called the Disney Parks Mom Panel. Ask any question at all about anything to do with a Disney vacation, and a very enthusiastic mom will answer it for you. Their answers are incredibly groomed, and you almost feel like you’ve made a new best friend.

Organizations, take note! To market well, make sure you understand your target demographic inside and out. Ensure they are represented in your marketing efforts. People want to buy from people they relate to.

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4. Say Thank You
So you’re home from your Disney vacation, you’re feeling a little weary, and your wallet isn’t happy. Guess what arrives in your mailbox? A beautiful, hand-drawn illustration of Mickey Mouse saying thank you.

Gosh, you were one of a gazillion people visiting Disney World that day, but now you feel special.

Business Tip: The final interaction a customer has with your  brand is going to stick in their memory. So, instead of feeling grumpy about your cringe worthy VISA bill, we now have a lovely keepsake from Mickey himself. Now that’s great marketing.
Finally, the great irony in all of this was that I used to be the parent who swore I would never take my kids to Disney World.  I guess anyone can be influenced by strategic marketing – even us marketing professionals!

Thank You