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Why the Disneyland Resort Is The Best Example of Marketing - Carol Evenson - Blog

Why the Disneyland Resort Is The Best Example of Marketing

The Happiest Place on Earth, The Magic Kingdom, the place you go after you win the Super Bowl: Disneyland is all these things and more. Even when the park is crowded, or it's hot, or you've spent more than you expected, it's nearly impossible to be unhappy at Disneyland. You could argue that the whole point of an amusement park is to keep you amused, but if you've visited other parks you know that the Disney feeling is more than the rides. Disney carefully cultivates its image and manages your time in the parks so that even experiences that would usually be frustrating roll right off your back and you're still basking in the magic. There's a lot to learn from how Disney markets itself. Read on to discover their marketing secrets and how to apply them to your own campaigns.


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If you remember the days of E-tickets or even spending the day at Disneyland for $100 for a family of four, you know times have changed. Disneyland has consistently raised prices year after year, and yet the people keep coming. Sure, you can easily find Disneyland discount tickets, but when the price for a two-day Park Hopper ticket is approximately $300 for an adult, savings are relative. How can Disneyland get away with raising prices no matter what the rest of the economy is doing? By providing consistent excellence year after year. Your business will also be able to charge more when it provides excellent service and a unique product. Here's how Disneyland makes value happen regardless of price.


Find Ways To Make Necessities Enjoyable

The least fun part of a day at an amusement park is waiting in line. You're not getting out of it. You may spend half your day doing it. So why doesn't it feel so bad when you're doing it at Disneyland? One reason is that Disneyland figured out that if you set expectations low, you can exceed those expectations. Posted wait times are almost always overestimated. This means that it keeps people out of line who aren't willing to commit the time and the ones who wait are pleasantly surprised when they don't have to wait as long as they were told. There are several other ways Disneyland has changed queueing. First, they figured out that they could make this necessity part of the experience. Lines wind through changing landscapes that all tie to the theme of the ride, giving queuers something to look at and talk about as they move slowly forward. For older rides with outside lines, the guide ropes take each person past kiosks where visitors can jump out of line for a moment and spend a few more dollars. Entertainment strolls by. Characters appear. You probably can't hire a band to keep your line entertained but you can put in TVs to keep them focused on something besides the wait time. You can also use these monitors as a way to engage with your customers, alerting them to upcoming events.


Use Technology To Remove Obstacles 

Finally, regarding queues, Disneyland found the best way to deal with it was to remove it. With FastPass and MaxPass, customers are able to register for rides on their smartphones, showing up at the assigned time and walking right on. The parks are working on a Disney Genie system that will likely overtake these other offerings, combining virtual wait times with other planning capabilities. With apps and texting, you can easily discover ways to make things easier for your customers. Whether you allow digital appointments or curbside delivery, technology can remove the obstacles that stand between the customer and your products. Rather than just optimizing pain points and finding ways to make them enjoyable, technology actually allows you to remove the pain altogether.


Customer Service Is King

Almost every business startup will tell you it is customer-centric, that it puts the customer first, that it's always there for the customer. The difference you can see at Disneyland is how those words are put into practice. Employees are given one directive, "create happiness" and given the power to decide how to make that happen. It is similar to the customer service at Nordstrom, which outperforms every other retailer in the U.S. Nordstrom's one customer service lesson, according to its training handbook, is "use good judgment in all situations." What's different about these simple statements to cover what is arguably the single most important element of business success? They trust their employees to make the right decision for the customer. There is no list of managers to check with before creating happiness, no numbers to call to check that their judgment calls are the right ones. Hiring people you trust and then trusting them to do their job is the cornerstone of good customer service; everything else is just words.


Personalize the Experience

The discussion of using technology above may seem counterintuitive to the next point, but the final key to what makes Disneyland the master of marketing is its ability to personalize the experience. Removing or minimizing pain points is important, but equally important is giving your customers a feeling that you know and care about them. From buttons that tell employees why visitors are celebrating at Disneyland to every employee that notices and comments on that button, from the apps that help customize your experience, to the smiles and interactions with characters and cast members, Disneyland is all about creating the feeling that each guest is seen and appreciated.  

It also creates a personal bond through emotional connection. While many think of Disneyland as a park for kids, Disneyland appeals to adults through curated nostalgia. It also teaches its employees to focus on the little things like asking patrons where they are from or making sure employees get down at a child's level to speak instead of talking down to them.


All but one of these are easy ideas any business can incorporate into their marketing strategy. As for nostalgia, if you work at the rest, you'll be around long enough for your customers to feel it.


Publish Date: July 17, 2021 7:08 PM

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