How Disney integrates

Disney’s parks and resorts are defined by their beaming crowds. But when Disney Parks and Resorts embarks on an integrated marketing program, it starts with just one person: A guest (From the Management Marketing Survey).

Disney's parks and resorts are defined by their beaming crowds. But when Disney Parks and Resorts embarks on an integrated marketing program, it starts with just one person: A guest (From the Management Marketing Survey).

Disney's parks and resorts are defined by their beaming crowds. But when Disney Parks and Resorts embarks on an integrated marketing program, it starts with just one person: A guest.

“It's a market of one,” says Michael Mendenhall, EVP of global marketing for Disney Destinations. “We will only be as good as the data and information that we've collected about you. It's important for us to engage you and have you opt in to the dialogue so we can serve back a customized experience.”

Disney was rated by marketing professionals as being one of the top two companies for delivering integrated marketing. Mendenhall uses the 50th anniversary of Disneyland – “The Happiest Celebration on Earth” – to show how the company earned the accolade.

“What we do first and foremost,” he says, “is pick a guest-centric point of view. That starts with the product, and the consumers, and how they utilize our product. There are many different ways we can measure guest expectations, experiences, and point of view across geographies and socioeconomic detailed data points, and turn that into great consumer products.

“So when we start to look at ideas,” continues Mendenhall, “like our first global idea for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, we started with fundamental consumer insights through all those channels, and begin to build an idea. We include every touchpoint – it's 360 degrees, with food and beverage, merchandise, hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and so on.”

The work is not only integrated across disciplines in the division; it's also integrated across all Disney divisions. “We look at all external and internal partners,” he adds, “[such as ABC, motion pictures, animation; they all come into place strategically.”

Mendenhall is not the kind of marketer to put the ad agency in the room at the beginning of the planning only to bring in the PR team once the smart stuff has been done. He starts with PR before any other discipline.

“PR is incredibly important,” he emphasizes.

“I do believe it comes before commercial messages. For me, it's the work that legitimizes the organizing idea that the message revolves around. It brings endorsement and credibility to the idea – and that's very important in this cluttered world.”

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