Sarah Rob and Jess Lynn in front of Disney's Epcot Spaceship Earth

Have you ever been to Disney and/or Universal Studios? If so you will know they have got their marketing skills super polished.  Recently me and my family went to New York and Florida for a celebration of our birthdays and I thought I would share the marketing tips I have picked up along the way!

Nail Your Branding

Both Disney and Universal Studios have established iconic brands that resonate with people of all ages. They most definitely understand the importance of consistent branding and have built strong brand identities that evoke emotions and create a  collective people just can’t help wanting to be a part of.

At a rough guess, I would say that at least 1 in every 2 people that we saw in the Disney Magic Kingdom and Epcot were wearing ears, a t-shirt embellished with the Disney logo or character or carrying a themed bag. 

Disney's Castle at Magic Kingdom Florida at night with a firework going off above it

Whilst in Universal Studios the amount of Harry Potter-themed wizards and witches I saw wandering around dressed in full gowns and waving a wand was amazing.  Young and old, people love being part of the experience. 

Learn from their emphasis on branding to create a distinct and memorable brand for your business that your audience want to become a part of.

Provide a Great Customer Experience

From the minute you step or drive into the location of Disney and Universal Studios they provide exceptional customer experiences.

Unfortunately, my daughter Jess suffered from Vertigo during our holiday which meant when she walked, she would feel dizzy and nauseous.  Not a great combination when you are visiting theme parks! 

Sarah Rob and Jess Lynn in Epcot in front of Space Mountain. Jess is in wheelchair because of vertigo

We had just gotten to the entrance of Magic Kingdom when she grabbed my arm and with eyes wild with panic announced “I’m going to be sick” so I steered her to the side of the bag-checking area and towards a drain just in the nick of time. Embarrassed and swaying with dizziness, Jess was as pale as Snow White but within seconds the Disney staff were there to help.

They couldn’t do enough for us, calling 911 to check that she was ok – thank goodness all her vitals were fine – even if she still felt poorly – and they took our details assuring us they would help in any way they could.  And to be fair they did, when we eventually got to Epcot 18hrs later, they provided us with a wheelchair and Hayley at Guest Relations couldn’t have been more helpful in rearranging our tickets for us (so we got her favourite Honeybee cheesecake to say thank you).

Each member of staff focuses on creating immersive and magical environments that transport visitors to different worlds.  Whether it’s meeting the characters – we got to meet Donald Duck – or doing safety checks on the rides through to serving you in the shops and food stalls, everyone knows exactly what they are doing and have politeness down to a fine art.

Learn from their commitment to the customer experience by understanding your customers’ needs, anticipating their desires, and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations.

Sarah and Jess Lynn with Donald Duck in Epcot

Multi Package Offerings

Purchasing tickets to enter the parks isn’t particularly cheap, however, when you consider what is available to you once you step through their metaphorical doors and see what is available to you, in my opinion, they do offer value for money.  Where else can you see the Minions, Marilyn Monroe, The Blues Brothers and a Glee-club-esque group all within a 150m radius!

Sarah Lynn of Simple Online Solutions with Marilyn Monroe and her rockettes in Universal Studios

They go out of their way to offer a wide range of price points so that people can be persuaded to buy from them at a price that works for them.

Take entrance tickets for example, you can buy a single-day or multiple-day ticket, you can buy a single-park ticket or multiple parks (hopper) tickets. You can go on an off-peak day or in full-blown summer holidays.  You can add a memory-maker option or choose not to.

You can also purchase Lightening Lane/Express Pass tickets on top of your entrance tickets which allow you to access certain rides before the standard queues.  And even with this option, you have choices.  In Universal Studios, they have 3 options, you can purchase an Express Pass which allows you to ride each attraction once per day, or go for the Unlimited Pass which allows you to ride attractions an unlimited amount of times per day if your stomach can take it or an After 4pm option (we choose this one for Islands of Adventure) which meant we could ride the attractions there 1 per day between 4pm-9pm when they closed. 

However none of these tickets included Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you couldn’t bypass the queues for this one, which was a shame as I would have ridden this again!  But why not exclude your “premium” service from being included in your packages, if you know that the right audience will wait for it!

Now whilst I wouldn’t recommend you have a huge range of packages, as too many will confuse and confused people don’t buy! I would suggest offering your services and/or products in tiers/levels/packages, this allows your audience to pick what’s right for them right now.

Maybe they will start off with a £7 ebook and progress to a £25 membership.  Or start with a single service and then when they realise the benefits they will book a 12 x package of services.

When you only have 1 service or product they can buy from you it becomes a yes or no.  When you have multiple offerings, you can meet them where they are right now, emotionally and financially.

Tailor Your Offers To Your Audience

Whilst we were in New York we went to see the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Even before the show started you could immerse yourself in the Harry Potter experience by ordering magic-themed snacks such as Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and enjoy a Butterbeer, soft drink or maybe a themed cocktail for the princely sum of $22 per glass (New York charges premium rates for everything!) to get in the mood.

The Showbill for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Lyric Theatre New York

They also offer a VIP option so you can upgrade your experience prior to seeing the show where exclusive VIP’s can enter the Ambassador Lounge and relax in a private room before the show with a welcome drink, snacks and a gift!

Working on the basis that their audience is a Harry Potter fan, they have tailored their offers to their branding.  What can you offer that will allow your audience to feel part of your business experience? And do you have a VIP package? Some people will always look for a bargain but some will always go for the best, if you’re not offering this you could be missing out on a chance to give them that VIP treatment!

Multi-channel Marketing

Both Disney and Universal Studios have lots of marketing tools in their toolbox and utilise various marketing channels to reach and engage their audience.

With easy-to-use websites that are updated regularly, apps for your phones that you can use to purchase your tickets, book your tables, check event times, ride wait times etc. along with regularly updated social media accounts, events and partnerships to promote their offerings, they make it easy to find what you are looking for and easy to buy from them.

Epcot Flower Festival 2023 - Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Chip n Dale made out of flowers

What tools do you have in your marketing tool-box that will allow you to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that effectively communicates your business message across different channels?


My marketing toolbox recommendations

When it comes to what you should be in your marketing toolbox I would recommend:

  • A website with a regularly updated blog containing useful and interesting articles that your ideal audience wants to read
  • 1 or 2 social media platforms that again you update regularly to build the know-like and trust factor with your audience
  • email marketing to nurture your audience and remind them you are in business
  • Google Business to help with local marketing
  • SEO used throughout your website

Now there are no surprises when I share that my speciality is websites, which I feel should be at the heart of your marketing toolbox. 

If you need a website for your business to help you get seen, get heard and to get sales, just click below and let’s have a chat.

I hope you found this blog helpful, let me know how you get on

Speak soon

Sarah x