Surprise (Marketing lessons from Walt)

This is the first in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

We’re all familiar with the golden oldie – the giveaway.  Typically, we ask customers to sign up to win or create some sort of contest.  And then they wait to see if they won.  And in most cases, probably forgot they even signed up.

To tie in with their yearlong theme, "The Year of a Million Dreams," Disney has added a brilliant twist to the age-old favorite.                                                      
                                                They’ve added surprise.

Surprise Here’s their twist.  "Imagine walking through one of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks when a Cast Member taps you on the shoulder to offer you a dream come true. Right now, over a million extra-special dreams, some thought impossible, are being randomly awarded to people just like you."

It goes on to list prizes that range from not having to stand in a single line all day (more valuable than you can imagine) to traveling around the world, touring all of the Disney parks.

No little pieces of paper for your name and phone number.  No essay contest.  You just win because you’re there.  At that very moment.

Wow.

Surprise is a story-inspiring emotion. It demands to be shared.

How could you add one of Walt’s favorite elements — surprise — to your marketing mix?

Marketing Lessons from Walt  – The Series:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

54 comments on “Surprise (Marketing lessons from Walt)

  1. Drew,
    I just got back from the Magic Kingdom and they definitely do it like no other. When it comes to marketing they are always raising the bar. Looking forward to reading the others in your list.

  2. Cyndee,

    Agreed 100%. They are brilliant at it. What amazes me the most is that they’ve been able to maintain that level of excellence long after Walt’s death.

    That’s a deeply held and understood brand.

    Drew

  3. I’ve never been to Walt Disney world, but it’s definitely on the list. I understand that the Anaheim park pales in comparison. Disney has always had great marketing for the most part.

  4. Charles,

    It truly is a must see destination. To be fair, WDW was build 20+ years after Disneyland and had a huge amount of land to use. So they learned from their earlier mistakes and simply have been able to build it out much bigger and better.

    But DL has all the history — it was literally the park that Walt built.

    Either one is worth the trip. But if you’re only going to do it once…Disney World wins, hands down.

    Drew

  5. Lindsay says:

    Disney is an amazing business to follow when it comes to marketing!! They are brilliant!

  6. Lindsay,

    Agreed — there is probably no one better!

    Drew

  7. EH says:

    I agree. Disney’s marketing is amazing. It has been main example of great marketing at several presentations I have participated in.

  8. EH,

    Yes, I think they are one of the iconic marketers of our era. And they were/are so effective because they are very clear about their brand. They know who they are and who they are not.

    And when they’ve veered from that — it has caused them a lot of trouble. While they are practically perfect — they could also be used as a bad example in a presentation or two!

    Drew

  9. Max Entin says:

    I agree, surprising your customers by giving them something valuable they didn’t expect can be very powerful. I guess the old cliche under promise and over deliver is still valid.

  10. Max,

    I believe that surprise is one of the most under utilized and most effective marketing strategies out there.

    Drew

  11. JustinSMV says:

    Disney is a huge marketing monster, look at the sales of Hannah Montanna you can’t go anywhere without seeing this Disney Rock Star’s brand embedded everywhere. If you learn from Disney about marketing, then you are definitely in the right direction.

  12. Coming to Disney World? We have the best deals on Orlando Discount Tickets. Sea World, Disney and all surrounding attractions.

  13. Well, nice article buddy… Someone will love to read this infor if I tell her about this. She’s really interested in this subject. Thanks again… Please come visit my site Laredo City Directory when you got time.

  14. Michelle says:

    Why not people try free advertising at http://www.adwido.com like website!!

  15. Surprising your customers by giving them something valuable they didn’t expect can be very powerful. I guess the old cliche under promise and over deliver is still valid.

  16. Pimpin Kicks says:

    Wholesale shoes direct from the factory. Wholesale shoes,, Nike shoes, nike af1, nike shox, nike r4, nike rt1, ATO, BAPE, Bathing Ape, Puma Selling Du

  17. them something valuable they didn’t expect can be very powerful. I guess the old cliche under promise and over deliver is still valid.

  18. Mold Removal says:

    Advertisement become very important part of market. Marketing advertisement for services and products are always centric and considers must to do it.

  19. Well, very nice information about you experience in wordpress plugins. I also have the similar standard package for plugins in my blogs.

  20. I also agree , Nice post . Thanks for sharing .


    Jeff

  21. This is great article on marketing genius. I found it very much interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Paid Surveys says:

    This is nice post. Thank you for sharing

  23. Oh i never really thought surprise could play any key role in marketing. My opinion was that we could always combine surprise with something else to pull off something crazy from the crowd!

  24. i*ve been in Walt Disney World, nice place)))thanks for the post!!

  25. Oh i never really thought surprise could play any key role in marketing. My opinion was that we could always combine surprise with something else to pull off something crazy from the crowd!

  26. Speaking of engagement, Disney cast members are almost universally programmed to react to badges that special guests wear, My daughter had her 13th birthday while we were there and so we went to the City hall in the Magic Kingdom to get a birthday badge. From that moment on, virtually every cast member that we encountered made it a point to wish her a happy birthday. Every table service restaurant that we went to, brought out a birthday cupcake without us having to ask. Of course, my daughter loved the attention so much that she continued to wear the badge long after her birthday. This is a great example of how to make a customer feel special without having to spend a lot of financial capital.

  27. Great checklist, it’s very usefull for all who want to launch or relaunch their website. Greetings from germany

  28. Never underestimate the power of surprising your customers with something valuable. Under promise, over-deliver, words to live by.

  29. AltDesire says:

    This is really great article. Thanks a lot for sharing!! keep posting)

  30. Car hifi says:

    It is a fun to learn from the leaders. Walt is here because they thought marketing is very important and they implemented their strategy without a second thought. Their strategy aims at providing surprise to the visitors. They surprise them with their special characters and gifts. All these are provided on random. The gifts goes to a person or a family that at the right place, right time etc. It is really amazing strategy and is well implemented.

  31. Surprising your customers by giving them something valuable they didn’t expect can be very powerful. I guess the old cliche under promise and over deliver is still valid.

  32. alpha-school says:

    I’ve never been to Walt Disney world, but it’s definitely on the list.This is great article on marketing genius. I found it very much interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  33. Add Link says:

    I went to walt disney as a child and loved every minute of it, we had a fantastic time, brings back alot of fond memories.

  34. Add Link says:

    we had a fantastic time when we went there, almost brings back fond memories.

  35. Blogging is now becoming one of the new phenomenal ways to make money online. It is no surprise because you can work on your own hours, if you call it working that is.

  36. I agree. Disney’s marketing is amazing. It has been main example of great marketing at several presentations I have participated in.

  37. This is how every contest should be. I see the contests that are held in the malls, or any other store, and the first thing that I think about is how it’s a scam, and how they will contact me calling me the winner.

    I like this. Kudos to Disney, great company!

  38. This is really inspiring, thanks for sharing this.

  39. auto loan says:

    Thats great that you have learn one good marketing lesson from Walt and share with us the lesson. I will try to implement this lesson on my work.

  40. As a regular reader of your blog I’m very grateful for such a good information that you provide every time, Mika

  41. Yup, the market always need surprise, give your reader a surprise they will be happy for this.

  42. The marketing lessons shared by you are simply rocking.Keep sharing more lessons like this.

  43. Another great post for us, thank!

  44. I totally agree with your post and this is also right that Disney Hug marketing monster…

  45. Oh, I never really thought of surprise could play a key role in marketing. My opinion is that we could always combine surprised with something else to pull something crazy crowd!

  46. An article very well written. And yet another thumbs up for Drew

  47. cash gifting says:

    Excellent site, keep up the good work my colleagues would love this. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks

    zadoc

  48. jeny says:

    I like the foundation of this blog has a great variety of comments I really like it, several points of view helps in the appreciation of the subject,is very interesting and I would like learn more.

    jeny

  49. Walt was a genius, thumbs up to him.

  50. John Cocktos says:

    Walt D was the man! Not perfect. But brilliant.

  51. Total agree. Disney are great at marketting! What amazes me the most is that they’ve been able to maintain that level of excellence long after Walt’s death. I guess its a very strong brand name

  52. .I read your article.The things you have written sound very sincere and nice topics i am looking forward to its continuation.

  53. p90x dvds says:

    like the foundation of this blog has a great variety of comments I really like it, several points of view helps in the appreciation of the subject,is very interesting and I would like learn more

  54. Disney are great at marketting! What amazes me the most is that they’ve been able to maintain that level of excellence long after Walt’s death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *