Secrets to the Remarkably Innovative Disney Marketing Strategy

Mike Schoultz
5 min readApr 21, 2017


Do you make continuous improvement a focus of your marketing strategy? Most of the best marketing strategies we study and follow certainly do, and that is an awesome way to do marketing.

Yes, the innovative Disney marketing strategy is making their business better and better all the while. And their growth is all about their marketing strategy. Of course, if you are a family with children or grandchildren you certainly know this.

Have you noticed? It is hard not to notice, isn’t it? Let’s examine the reasons their marketing strategy is so innovatively effective:

Brand identity

Youthful, magical, fun, and family are oriented and true to the brand.

While establishing a differentiated meaning for a brand is tough, perhaps the greater challenge facing marketers today is the growing number of places consumers touch a brand. It’s become incredibly more complicated to execute a brand promise. This is what we call bringing the brand to life. Consumers are interacting with brands in myriad new ways, but brand organizations have to move much faster, with greater agility and responsiveness to consumer actions and reactions, which can be at warp-speed in this rapidly changing environment.

The heart of Disney’s marketing strategy is their brand. The brand is built into and reflected by its tagline … the happiest place on earth. They clearly understand that their brand is not about them. Rather it is about how the potential client community sees them, feels about them, and talks about them. They realize that their brand represents their current and future relationships. Their goal is to deliver an emotional connection to their services. And they are doing it very well.

Content marketing

Build excitement: Let’s face it; Disney is not a low-cost vacation. By providing custom touch points filled with useful and exciting content, unique to each families’ post-purchase, Disney is helping to build excitement. It works, and it’s brilliant.

Personalize: All customers are unique, have different needs, especially in travel. Since this is not a one-size-fits-all world, what everyone needs is different from just about every other person. Disney knew that and delivered a book that is unique for each family. They send a book that was specific to their hotel and reservation details … all the information needed in a custom 15-page book. It works, and it’s brilliant.

Times have changed since Walt Disney’s days, but his marketing ideas are still amazing. Let’s take a look at a few of Disney tactics:

Continuous promotion — If there was one thing Walt Disney did well it was promoting his business. And he did so continuously. He made sure he kept his organization in your mind. When it came time to think of going on vacation, to a movie or any of some other things Disney always came to mind.

Build lifetime value — Go to a Disney attraction today and find people who have been coming back for decades and many times at that. Disney keeps their customers so happy that they keep coming back, again and again.

It’s the stories

The story is king — Walt knew that the story was the real reason people enjoyed his attractions. Even today, every Disney feature has a story behind it. People relate to these stories. It’s just part of the human condition. They are great for engaging people on a human level. Their stories abound at every turn.

Customer immersion

Always something new: Disney fans keep coming back because there’s always more to see. Disney’s motto isn’t “Lots of Rides” — it’s “The Happiest Place on Earth.” And Disney maintains constant interest by making sure there’s always something else to notice.

Interesting, interactive queuing areas for the rides.

Sporadic “spontaneous” performances by Mary Poppins or Alice and the Mad Hatter at various times of the day.

Rides like the Jungle Cruise that are strikingly different at night.

Holiday is theming. Different fireworks displays. “Limited-time only” eatables.

In the experience

Continuous theming: If you take away the theming, there’s nothing particularly special about Disneyland’s rides. Tame roller coasters, generic log flumes, perfectly ordinary carousels — off-the-shelf mid-range rides you could go on at any theme park. In fact, several nearby parks have far more extreme and exciting rides.

The thing is, Disney’s theming isn’t just slapping a few cartoon animals on the sides of rides. It’s all about the unique experience, complete and, in its way, classy.

Engage customers directly: Disney was often seen walking around Disneyland talking to visitors. At other times he’d go to see a Disney movie and get people’s reaction to the picture. This was one of the ways Walt did his market research. You can follow this model also. Don’t always use a marketing research firm or some online research tool, such as Google Analytics. While these are very worthwhile, there’s no substitute for interaction with customers. Get views about your products and services straight from the people who use them.

Details and more details: Enter any Disney property and you will see the attention to detail everywhere. You know that something special is ready to happen. This is a key element of any content marketing campaign. Even the street signs on Disney properties pay attention to detail. They are rabbit ears with arrows on them. The company could have used normal street signs but where’s the magic in that?

Adapting to change

Disney parks are in a state of continual change with new entertainment. A very progressive company which keeps up to speed on consumer trends and needs. Certainly always eager to adapt their parks expertise to new areas. And certainly always looking to try new things, to include marketing.

Social media

Disney utilizes all the main social media channels/platforms to engage potential clients. All channels are used to engage and share all their material in a conversational manner. They are always looking to engage and learn and serve customers.

Short and sweet messages

80–90% of Disney marketing messages are short and to the point. As we said previously, many topics are used to produce many messages so as not to over saturate the market with the same messages.

Key takeaways

Walt Disney was a genius in many ways. His technological prowess is storied, but it was his marketing genius that set him apart from everyone else. Use a little of Walt’s business insight in your content marketing campaign and enjoy renewed and continuous business success.

Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics that relate to improving the performance of business. Follow him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn



Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles.