Caralee Culpepper – Writer and Message Board Specialist
Last week, my husband had a golf tournament in Orlando. Being the stellar wife that I am, I tagged along to cheer him on from the sidelines. Okay, honestly, I really wanted a vacation and I figured what better place to kick back than in the Theme Park Capital of the World?
While I’m typically a dedicated Disney World goer, this time I was adamant about visiting Universal Studios. Why (I’m sure you already know the answer)? Harry Potter World. If I didn’t step foot into that park and walk down the streets of Diagon Alley, tour the Hogwarts castle and pretend I could actually fly on a broomstick, my world would surely end. So we went. We rode the coasters and we drank the butterbeer and it was a joyous occasion. What got me thinking, though, is that it was this one section of the entire park that drew me in and was ultimately the deciding factor in which park we visited. What kind of marketing do these attractions do to draw in customers? Obviously, Universal and Disney are doing something right. But what is it and how can we relate it to our own content marketing strategies?
Here are a few content marketing practices we can adopt from Disney World and Universal Studios:
Just like the song from Mulan, stay true to your heart. Although Disney World and Universal Studios are just miles apart, or perhaps as a result of the proximity, the two theme park giants are aware that there are differences in the audiences they target. They both know this and they both embrace it. Universal is great for older kids and teenagers while Disney is perfect for smaller children (and me). Find your niche and expand on it! Both of these brands are successful because they don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses.” They stay true to who they are and sink their money and time into every corner of their brand.
2) Keep it fresh
A few years back, Universal was experiencing somewhat of a slump. Islands of Adventure hadn’t come out with much on the new-ride front, and they knew they needed to do something. So, they struck a deal with J.K. Rowling and launched plans for the new Harry Potter World. Turns out, Harry Potter wound up increasing their annual revenue by 41% in 2010. New and fresh is always good, especially if it relates to something current.
Disney responded, in turn, by adding a new section to the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom. With attractions that focus on content from films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney has revitalized an area of the park that needed some work, and added a whole new section, just like Universal. I guess, maybe, there is a little bit of “keeping up with the Joneses.”
3) Keep people talking
In relation to point #2, new and fresh keeps people talking, which in turn, increases curiosity and attracts more business. Disney is always coming out with something new, even if it’s just small changes within the park to make your experience more enjoyable (hello FastPass!). Stirring up talk about your business via social media and new programs is a great way to increase your traffic.
Disney and Universal are both quite familiar with each other. Even though they offer different atmospheres, they are still considered competitors, but they play off one another as well. Ever wonder why Lowe’s and Home Depot are typically neighbors? They use the other’s foot traffic to increase their own customer base. This can be true for most types of business. Use your competition to your advantage, but be respectful enough to avoid discrediting them.
While your business might not revolve around make-believe lands or blood-pumping roller coasters, there is value in keeping your customers engaged and integrated. Being true to yourself, keeping it fresh, keeping people talking and knowing your competition are all key aspects of your content marketing strategy, and all will enhance the overall experience for your customers. In turn, this will create a long-lasting impact for your business, making it a win/win situation for everyone involved!