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What B2B marketers can learn from Disney World

You know you’re an agency founder when you go to Disney World for spring break with your family and return with a deeper understanding of effective B2B marketing. 

In this episode of “Death to the Corporate Video,” Guy and Hope discuss what B2B marketers can learn from Disney World, including:

  • Get people in the right mindset to buy your product.
  • There’s nothing wrong with giving people what they want.
  • Prospects should leave every interaction with your brand in a better mood than they entered with. 

Here’s the Hubspot spot we talk about in the episode, which was also named one of the best B2B ads of 2022!

Listen to the episode via the player, or read the full transcript below.

Episode transcript

Hope Morley: If your marketing and your customer experience that you're giving to your prospects is just the same redundant thing that people's brains are seeing all day, every day. It's not memorable and no one's going to seek it out. 

Hello, and welcome to Death to the Corporate Video, a podcast with tools and advice for how to make B2B video ads, your prospects actually want to watch. I'm Hope Morley.

Guy Bauer: I'm Guy Bauer. 

Hope Morley: Today's episode was inspired by Guy's recent spring break trip to Disney World with his family, which might seem like a bit of a stretch for a B2B marketing podcast. But you have some learnings that you took away from that experience.

Guy Bauer: I have some learnings. I'll start with a story. 

Hope Morley: Appropriate for Disney. 

Guy Bauer: Yeah, so, 

Hope Morley: Once upon a time.

Guy Bauer: We're in Disney World. We're in the Magic Kingdom. And, they do these things, these parades, right?

To see the parade you have to get there early in order, you know, so that you're not like seven layers deep and can't see anything. So the parade was like at 2:00 PM, we got there at 1:30 and after 20-30 minutes of waiting in the direct sunlight with no cover. You know, you start to get hot, the kids are crying and, they're not crying, but they're just Like you know, eh, yeah, yeah.

And my back is starting to sweat because I'm carrying the backpack with all this stuff. So almost like perfectly on cue. We've all been waiting there a half an hour. You could feel your face burning in the sun. Almost on cue. They wheel this cart with ice cold water and those like water misting fans where you, you know, it's a fan and a mister.

Hope Morley: Like the spray bottles. 

Guy Bauer: Bottles with the fan. And those things are like $25. And all of these people who looked very smart and extremely, you know, like, and, you know, to go to Disney is no small financial feat. They start buying these misting fans for $25, just from the relief of just the heat.

And I was like, well, Disney is genius because they created that scenario where we all needed relief from the heat, like how genius. Make everybody wait after a half-hour trot out your wares, we're all dying and we'll buy it. We'll buy the $10 water and the 25. So a genius. And I actually bought stock at that moment in Disney.

I was like, oh, this is amazing. All right. The second thing is, this is proof, because like, when are you ever going to need that mister ever again in your life? And most likely it's going to break. So it’s not going to make it to the flight home.

Hope Morley: Right. Or you bring it home, you like put it in your garage and like three years later you find it and you're like, maybe we'll take it next time we go to the beach and you never do, you know, you're not going to.

Guy Bauer: Yes. So a rational person would not buy that thing because it makes no sense rationally to be like, yeah, this parade's only in the parade only lasts seven minutes. So it's like, you know, in seven minutes, this will all be over.

We don't need this. We can deal with seven minutes, but no, no, no. To buy these things and everyone's walking around with their misting fan that they'll only use once they paid $25 for, and it just drove home. Oh, this is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, your honor. B2B marketers can no longer claim their customers buy on rational things and data and numbers. That's just what the customers say they do so that they look smart. But all these customers are at Disney, doing what I did and waiting in these long lines and waiting to get the heat and buying these misting fans, which I didn't do on principle.

Hope Morley: Your kids could be uncomfortable.

Guy Bauer: They were like, daddy, please. And Jen was even like, do you think we should probably get one? Right? And I'm like, no, no, they're not going to win. It proved to me. I was like, okay, that argument of rationality is done. It's over. And I think people use that argument that people are rational when they cannot come up with creative.

Like Disney has, if the creative is powerful, if there's enough, fire-breathing dragons and dancers and character. Your prospects will do anything. They will buy those twenty-five dollar water bottle mister thingies. It's just, we haven't become Disney enough. So that's my big treatise here. It's like, people are not logical. Get over it. It's just your creative isn't good. 

Hope Morley: That's the brilliance of Disney and Disney world. Their brilliance is acknowledging that people are irrational and using that psychology, not, I don't want to say against people because it's not malicious. They're actually also doing it to give you a better experience. You think about the way. Disney World is famous for designing like every little element in the park that like nothing is done by accident, that everything that you see is meticulously designed to give you an excellent experience.

And that's good for you as a consumer. And I think we as B2B marketers or creatives in general, should really be paying attention to thinking about the way that every little decision that we make is having an impact on what experience people have. And most of it is kind of subconscious. For example, I've heard that they have a shade of paint green.

Have you heard about this? 

Guy Bauer: Yeah, it's like go away green.

Hope Morley: They have this go away green, that they paint things that they don't want you to notice in this specific shade of green and it's things like, you know, generators or electrical boxes stuff that has to be in the park, but they don't want you to notice it.

And it's not like this shade of green is making anything invisible. Like it's still there. The whole point is that they just want you to kind of overlook it. And they've specifically picked a shade that kind of blends in with foliage and then yeah. Doesn't draw attention to it like a yellow or red or something like that would.

And so subtle things like that of just making this experience for people visiting the park and trying to like minimize the things that take away from the magic, which is electrical boxes and maximize the things that are the magic, which is look, it's Aladdin. It like tells your eyes where to go.

Guy Bauer: It's being intentional. Yeah, they're very extremely intentional. They are all about the customer experience and not just in a way that all of us say we are now in B2B, all about the human experience. I think the magic of Disney is this. So there was this Nemo ride where you go on a Nemo ride and then you go look at an aquarium.

And what's so interesting is on any given Saturday, just in our lives in Chicago. If we went to the aquarium, we would go for an hour and then get a snack and then go home. And then when people asked us what we did all weekend, we'd say we went to the aquarium, but that was like literally a two hour thing. And we'd be like, yeah, we did something. And most of it was eating. Anyway.

Hope Morley: It was goldfish crackers, not so much like a fish.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. And I, and I said to my wife, I was like, you know, at this point, we would go home if we were in Chicago, like it was the first ride we did at Epcot. We did the Nemo thing. We were there for an hour and I'd be like, yeah, at this point we leave and leave satisfied if this was Chicago, but we're on hour one of 13.

And by the way, we walked 26,000 steps that day at Epcot. But, and here's my point is. How Disney warps your perception of time and money because you are spending money every single hour when you're there just for life support, just to live, how they do it and how they get you to walk that far is there is never a moment when you are left, like in a long, colorless musicless just tunnel, right? They never put you in like an airport scenario where if you walk 26,000 steps through an airport, that would be arduous. You would be complaining about that for the rest of your life. 26,000 steps is about six to eight miles. I think I looked it up but how did I get my kids? 

My kids get tired when they're in the grocery store for too long. And they're like, I don't like walking anymore and they walk 26,000 steps with not one word it's because the entire time, every step they're taking is intentional. Every step has been designed visually audio wise, there's a motif, there's all these things encouraging you to keep going and there's anticipation, there's setup payoff. And this is where it's like, if you bring your customers into an area of entertainment where you are constantly setting up and paying off, setting up and rewarding. And it's like those, that idea of what we talk about is instead of these big meals, giving people just little crumbs, like, you know, give like these little setups and payoffs and lead them down this trail, like Disney does, they will be entertained. And when they're entertained, guess what? Money is not an object anymore because they are in your world.

They are all about it. But what we do and by we, I mean the B2B industry, not we Umault, but the B2B industry, what they do is they do the equivalent of long barren walks, you know, and that's a journey. That's either complicated, tons of friction, all numbers based. Think about when you go to airports, all the billboards are all those like SAP billboards where like, I don't even know what this does.

It's just a golf course. And it says like synergy on it. There's no entertainment, so it is boring and we are boring our customers to death. We need to put them in an entertaining environment where there's characters and there's things to do. And there's things to look forward to. And then somehow the money is just like minimized. Not to say that they're not going to have to do all that reassuring stuff.

There's going to be contracts. There has to be numbers and all that stuff, but the decision will already be made and then they will use the numbers and figures to look smart and backtrack and make the numbers fit. 

Hope Morley: Disney World and Disney are very intentional also about designing your waiting experience. You know, you're talking about walking, but also they are expert line designers. So they have you go through multiple rooms so that you feel like you're making progress and you can't see how many people there are.

They have interesting set design. I always think about the Tower of Terror's wait, I don't know if you did that cause you had little kids, but, that it's all this like old hotel, like cool creepy vibe. 

Like the Haunted Mansion also has like fantastic wait.

Guy Bauer: It’s interactive. You can like, there's a piano or something. I thought the best line was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has all these cool gems you can play with. And these barrels you spin. And if all six barrels are spinning, then they sing a song for you. And the payoffs are dumb! The payoffs are like, if you spin all six barrels, the seven dwarfs will sing to you.

And I'm a 40 year old man. It's got gems. They're not gems. They're pieces of plastic illuminated by LEDs, like in the barrels. They're not barrels, they're plastic things connected to sensors. Like these are not real. None of this is, but it's a freaking magic trick and that's how we have to design these experiences.

For our customers, we have to start being more magical, like, and I know it's illogical. I know it has no impact on your EHR that you're marketing or whatever it is. Just how people like we like doing that, or else Disney would be out of business if people then, cause you know what, you know what Disney's for?

Disney's for the adults. It's not for the kids. Our kids the entire time were like, now can we go back to the pool? And we're like, no, come on, dammit. We're doing these rides. 

Hope Morley: I had a friend who recently took her six-year-old to Disney World for three days and they came home and she was like, what was your favorite part of their trip to Florida? Her answer was the hotel pool. And she's like, I could have taken you to a pool.

Guy Bauer: Oh, the kids are like, next time we go to Disney, let's just stay at the pool.

Like they don't even understand the concept of Disney. That it's a thing and it gets, it rides the rides are for us. The rides are for us. And we are 40 year old people that know about property taxes and like all these rational things like, Well, what are your property taxes?

8,000?! Get outta here. What? And like, we talk like adults and we, uh, like we use like our eh voice and like, deep voices and all this stuff. And we're like, let's call it in the Haunted Mansion. Like anyway. 

Hope Morley: But why do people go to theme parks? People go to theme parks because our brains crave new experiences, right? We want to get out of our houses. We want to see things we haven't seen before. We want to see those gems lighting up lead with LEDs and make barrels sing. Cause our brains need new things constantly.

But that's another lesson, right? If you are, and I know we've said this on the podcast before, but if your marketing and your customer experience that you're giving to your prospects is just the same redundant thing that people's brains are seeing all day, every day. It's not memorable and no one's going to seek it out.

So a way to take some learnings from why people go to Disney and spend all their money into this stuff for ostensibly, for their kids. But really for us it's because we need new experiences. We want to see new things.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, I mean, we love to be entertained. Part of what it means to be a human is like, we love the arts. We have so many conversations where it's like, well, we need to list all the things we do or else no one will know. And, and you know, and these ads turn out to be three and a half minutes, and we've heard it.

That's the root of corporate videos where you're just saying everything and then HubSpot comes out with Kathryn Hahn as a pirate, and it's an actual entertaining, hilarious. It's not even, it's not hilarious. It's just clever and like makes you chuckle. And like, they equate a business to being a pirate and like, it's just cute and fun and it entertains you and you know what, and it just further entrenches the HubSpot name. Salesforce does this exquisitely and they are B2B.

We need to start thinking like Disney. That's my main point is how can you actually deliver entertainment through the delivery method? Like, ah, it's not just about telling what you do. It's actually about giving someone a payoff in the moment and like giving them a little joy in the actual consumption of your content.

Just like Disney does, because if Disney was not pleasurable, no one would go on these lines. Oh my gosh. These lines are my feet at the, by day five by day five. I actually, me and the kids mutinied on Jen. Cause my feet felt like they were completely flat. Like they had lost any arch. It was just like grinding.

I mean, it was awful, but we still did 13 hours that day. You know what I mean? Like It's a thing where you make people walk 26,000 steps when they're in pain.

Hope Morley: And then you go wait 75 minutes in line for a four minute ride. That makes no sense.

Guy Bauer: It makes zero sense. You're exactly right. Well, some of the rides are not even four minutes. Oh, I was timing these things. Some of them are 90 seconds. One of them, Barnstormer, was literally 38 seconds. And that was a 60 minute wait to go on. It makes no logical setup. Like it makes no logical ROI. The ROI on that is terrible, but it actually isn't, it's actually everything.

It proves that we're not paying attention to the right things. Cause I think if consultants, no offense to consultants because they're our clients, but if consultants went into a theme park, they would do whatever it took to reduce the wait time. Whereas I think if you were an alchemist like Rory Sutherland, you would just make the entertainment better.

Right. And then like, there's this ride Rise of the Resistance. It never gets below a two-hour wait ever. Ever. And it's the most popular ride because the entertainment is off the hook. It's like the most interactive Star Wars experience you can possibly get. And the word spreads. And so people are like, yeah, I'll wait two hours. I don't care. 

It's focus on the experience that people are having in the moment. And then all of this logic stuff takes care of itself because we are really good at rationalizing our illogical behavior. 

Hope Morley: Well, that's, it's really easy. Well, it's easy for you to justify the money that you spent at Disney. Cause you were talking about how you'll say we had a great family experience and it's a memory for the kids that they'll have forever. And you, you give this logical sounding thing, but it was like, no, you did it because it was fun.

Was it the most fun thing you could have done with that money? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. 

Guy Bauer: I could have bought a plane. 

Hope Morley: Yeah. Like you could probably go to Italy with that money. 

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Well, and, And let's be real. I mean like B2B, SaaS companies are never going to be as exciting as Disney, right? But you don't have to, you could just be more exciting than your boring competitor. And most competitors are extremely boring and they're all competing on the facts and figures, features and benefits.

Yada, yada, we tell us all the time, but if you can actually entertain someone, like make them laugh, go look at the Kathryn Hahn HubSpot spot. 

Hope Morley: Yeah. And I'll link to it in the show notes.

Guy Bauer: It's actually entertaining. And will it make you buy HubSpot in the moment? No, but when you're in the market for CRM, maybe three, four years from now, you're going to remember HubSpot and you're probably more likely to maybe not just buy on the spot, but enter their funnel, talk to their people and like just you'll have that comfortable nature with their, with their brand.

And that's what this is all about. You know what I'm going to, I'm going to make a hot take here. My hot take is that, you know, those brand anthems that are. At so-and-so, we don't just make this, we make memories because, and while our men, and they always do that. And while our medications may be blah, blah, blah, they do lie and it's like slow Mo. That's over. My hot take

is that that trend that had probably a 15, 20 year run. Those anthems they're done because they entertain no one, you know, who they entertained CEOs of those companies. That's it. And they offered no entertainment value. They're all written the exact same way. I see them over and over and over. 

No, no, your anthem has to be funny.Or sad or emotional, make someone cry, whatever it's got to be Disney and look at Apple, the best marketers of all time. Their last commercial quote unquote was a film. Apple at Work, all the work people. It's like an actual show. I guarantee you it's going to be on Apple TV. I'll make you any amount of money bet. That's going to be a new show. 

Hope Morley: Well, and what, the one that they released, it was like eight minutes long or something like that. 

Guy Bauer: It's already a show. 

Hope Morley: Yeah.

Guy Bauer: That's how we have to think. We have to think in the terms of entertaining someone in the moment, it's not just about conveying these boring things. 

Hope Morley: You got to go into what people actually care about is the other lesson from, from Disney and using psychology and thinking about the way people actually work is remembering the difference between what you care about and what your potential prospects care about. And that's part of the issue with those brand anthems is they don't actually share any information of what potential customers care about because they're just talking about yourself, right?

Your purpose but most of the like purposes that are in those brand anthems are not actually anything that's going to convince you to buy.

Guy Bauer: That's how those anthems are though. They're just like, this was all, it's all like nice. It's all like, everything is good. They're not like we're number three in our market. And we kind of have customer service issues, like they don't do that they're just like, cause people are what's most important and it's just all like nothing.

It's nothing. Nothing. And it offers me no entertainment value. That's see, this is the thing. The medium is the message. And it's always like, if you can provoke, evoke an emotion out of me in the moment, that's what I'm like. I feel like doesn't get through. It's like, it's not the content that it's not the words I'm listening to. It's like everything, but the words it's like it's did I laugh? Did I feel something you don't need to list out everything your company does. 

Nobody's taking notes while they're watching boring ass anthem. Now I'm getting mad. So it's like just entertain me in the moment and that's the best outcome you can get. I promise you. 

Hope Morley: You want to know why Disney has firework shows so often? A, it keeps you in the park until nightfall. So they keep you in the park longer. But you know what the real reason is, I think? I think they want you to end your night on an incredibly high note. They want you to walk out of that park feeling fantastic.

They want you to forget that your feet hurt. They want you to forget that you got sunburned. They want you to forget that you spent all this money and you just have, like, you're just filled with this joy and this magic. And that's how you walk back to your car, to the shuttle, to the hotel. So thinking about that, of like what, when people interact with your brand, what are they walking away with? What is that mood? That feeling. That they have when they leave and do they have one? So if you can leave them with a little bit of joy and they feel like they had a positive experience coming out of an interaction with your brand, that's all you need to do.

Guy Bauer: We have to end the episode there. That's exactly correct. Right. I didn't think of it like that. That's perfect. I have nothing to add. We should walk off now. Yeah. 

Hope Morley: Okay. 

Guy Bauer: I'm going to end. I'm going to close this out. I'm going to give you a Disney hack. We're going to pay you off for listening to this episode. The Disney hack is this whew. Don't watch the fireworks from in the park. Like everyone gathers in front of the castle.

Right? Don't do that. Go outside the park by the buses. There's like a lake there. Sit there. Watch the fireworks the second day and get on one of the buses. And there's no line. You don't have to wait for an hour to get on a bus. You literally walk on that bus. That bus is empty. Goodbye. You saw it. You saw the fireworks.

Cause fireworks are like high up, you know what I mean? You don't have to be there. They're high that's. Imagine vacationing with me. This is what I'm like. Oh, I'm like, let's go here. Let's let's outsmart. I love being an adult. I love it. I love, it's amazing. You see through all this stuff, you see how you're taken, but you know what, it's fine. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? You have to do Disney. What are you going to do? 

Hope Morley: You want to just never do anything fun because, because it's like preying on the fact that you like to do fun things. Oh, how terrible.

Guy Bauer: Bingo. You know, you're right. What are you going to do? Not do Disney? 

Hope Morley: People will be like, oh, Disney is like, quote, unquote, manipulating you. It's like, no, they're not. They're giving you exactly what you want. And there's nothing wrong with that. 

Guy Bauer: Like relax, relax a little. 

Hope Morley: enjoy it.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Well, we were supposed to end this episode like four times, but this was fun. Thank you. Hope the lesson here is leave early before the fireworks. Take your kids away now, daddy, everything wants to see the fireworks and go, no, we don't want traffic. That's just, destroy all the magic for your children. All right. Where, where can people find more information about us? 

Hope Morley: If people want to learn more about us and about Umault, they can visit us on our website at umault.com U M a U L t.com. You can also find us across social media. Our biggest channel is LinkedIn, but we're also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, you can find us at Umault on all those channels. Thank you Guy. And thank you listeners for listening.

Guy Bauer: Don't forget to smash that. Thumbs up button hit subscribe. Wait. Wrong thing. 

Hope Morley: Guy. We're not on YouTube. Bye. 





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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