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You Could Learn a Lot from a Fairy Godmother: How Disney Renewed My Faith in Loyalty and Marketing

I recently was fortunate enough to sit in on a Disney Institute session on loyalty. Not knowing what to expect, I was shocked and delighted when a fairy godmother descended on the room (or rather burst through the doors) and began spouting off interesting information about Disney.

Of all the meetings I have ever attended, I have to say, this is the one that I will always remember.

But aside from all the wing and bling she spread around the room, I learned a lot about how Disney does marketing. My respect for the company has grown tenfold since the meeting.

Here are some helpful tips I picked up:

Exceed customer expectations. If you’ve been to a Disney theme park, you probably don’t remember anything particularly eventful about your interaction with a Disney Cast Member. But that’s the goal. Disney strives to make your experience with them seamless and enjoyable, and they succeed.

I realized I often go into places of business expecting to be disappointed. After all, I’ve been on hold for inefficient customer service for an hour, been served a poorly prepared meal, and have received sub-par products one too many times to not be jaded. I realized Disney is the only place where that doesn’t happen. I can actually have high expectations and they will still exceed them. As small business owners, we may not have the marketing budget Disney has, but we can definitely strive to exceed customer expectations.

Identify core values. Your core values are often tied in to customers’ expectations. What does your company do well? Flaunt it! After all, not everyone can do what you do!

Create an experience. Even if you sell shoes online, there is an experience to be had prior to your customer putting on the pair of shoes. Make every point of contact pleasant and make your customers enjoy doing business with you so much they want to come back often.

After the session, I realized that although Disney has become a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, it didn’t get there by throwing money in the wrong places. It used basic principles like loyalty and customer appreciation to become the number one theme park destination in the country (and world). We could all learn lessons from Disney.


Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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