Disney World. Mickey Mouse. Magic Bands.
I just went to Disney about a month ago, and let me tell you about something. Not only is it the most magical place on earth. It is also home of the most genius market research that I’ve ever seen.
If you’ve ever been around me talking about market research before, you know that I believe great data collection doesn’t come at the expense of the customer experience but from enhancing it. As always, Disney delivered again by creating an incredible customer experience, but this time there was something new for everyone to try out. Magic Bands.
Magic bands are bracelets that you wear the entire time you are in the park, and they contain your park ticket, your Fast Passes, dining reservations, room key, photo pass, and can even link your credit card if you want. Disney has engineered all of the pain of going to a park away for you and put it on one little band. You never have to search through your purse for a credit card when your kid wants to buy a stuffed animal; you just swipe your band, put in your pin, and go on. If you lose your child, the band has location tracking so they can find them for you. You can add photos taken by Disney photographers to your My Disney account by just swiping your band. It’s all just too easy. I have found myself multiple times since coming back to the real world (because Disney is really like being in a different world) saying, “I wish I could use my Magic Band right now.”
Here’s where the cool part as a marketer comes into play. Magic Bands are awesome for the user. They remove all of the hassle from a travel experience by putting it all in one convenient place, but they are even better for the Disney marketing team. Disney can now track every single thing you do in their parks. Everything you spend money on. Every ride you visit and when you visit them. Every character. Every restaurant. That gives them extremely actionable data. Now they can say that they need more rides like ____ or they need to keep this classic ride because it’s still drawing customers or we need a better character experience for Belle or Aladdin or whoever.
Disney is now going to be able to know exactly what you want without ever even asking you. Having people say what they want is one thing, but having their actual behavioral patterns way more powerful.
I guess the takeaways here are two-fold. First, Disney is amazing. Everything they do is great. I bow before the feet of my mouse dictator. Second, focus your data collection for research around something that doesn’t get in the way of people’s lives but rather enhances their lives then use that data to make to take their worlds to another level.