At Disney, Someone Always Owns The Moment

Another speaker that I enjoyed at the The Premier Business Leadership Series in Orlando was Scott Hudgins, Vice President, Customer Managed Relationships at The Walt Disney Company. When someone at Disney talks about customers, I’m all (Mickey’s) ears. Especially when he said this (which I thought was really profound):

No one owns the customer, but someone always owns the moment

Hudgins, like others at the event, discussed their use of analytics with SAS. Disney’s goal is to “know the guest well enough so that at any time or place we know what to do next.” It turns out that Disney recently crossed the line where they have data on more than half of their customers.

In 2011, Disney had a goal “know me and be relevant.” They focused on 5 to 10 segments. Now they create individual experiences for 100s of 1,000s of individuals. He discussed some of the techniques they use to do this throughout the lifecycle of a park visitor:

  • When someone is thinking about a trip, Disney will send a DVD. This allows people to make their own customized maps of the parks — which, in return, provides Disney with data on their preferences.
  • Disney sends these “shoppers” a personalized email (with more than 1 billion permutations) right away. They’ve found that success of those emails drops 20% per day.
  • After the shopper books a trip, they send a welcome mailer to reinforce the decision and reduce buyer’s remorse. This has reduced about one-quarter of the cancellations.

Hudgins describes Disney moving from “disparate campaigns talking to guests” to “harmonious communications with guests.” He showed an evolutionary path from “rewards program” to “lifetime value recognition” to “consumer-centric way of doing business.”

Hudgins has about 75 people on his team across these areas:

  • Program management
  • Campaign management
  • Reporting/analytics
  • Modeling
  • Business development

The bottom line: Who owns the moments with your customers?

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