Online marketing and amusement parks

User Experience Matters In Online Marketing

by Dave on October 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Experiences

Earlier this year our family visited Orlando.  In the course of a week we hit the two major theme parks – several times each. You might think that amusement parks have nothing to do with marketing, but the good ones are in the business of delivering an experience.  I would argue that marketing – especially online marketing – has everything to do with experience.

We had great and not so great experiences.  The differences were really quite simple.

Hurry up and wait

One of the keys to success in delighting your audience is properly setting expectations. Ride wait time is a perfect example of how setting expectations can work for or against you. In our favorite park (and we did have favorites), you could count on the wait time to be generally accurate and at some times slightly exaggerated.  The small error didn’t matter, because when the wait was shorter, it was a pleasant surprise.

In the other park posted rate times felt random.  Long, short, right or wrong, who knew? It got to the point where it was a game to see how accurate they might be.

There are two points here:

  • Getting information right is important – once you break trust with your audience it is nearly impossible to get it back.  Make sure any information is correct and up to date.
  • Setting an expectation, then meeting or beating it, creates not only trust, but higher satisfaction for your visitors.  Set expectations for your audience and keep your commitments.

Attitude sets the tone

You can tell when someone cares – and so can your audience.  In our favorite park (the one with the ears) the staff was always in character – friendly and helpful to a fault.  Their energy and enthusiasm carried over to us – you wanted to have fun too.

In the other park, the employees were (to put it kindly) less than enthusiastic.  In fact, many of them were miserable.  “Have a nice day” was repeated in a tone of voice that was anything but nice.    After a while, it affected your mood.

Again, two points:

  • Good attitudes set a tone for higher satisfaction.  Make sure the tone of your marketing materials and your staff is positive and upbeat.
  • Bad attitudes tend to be infectious too – everyone catches them.  Don’t tolerate bad behavior in your online presences or from your staff.

What does this mean for your online marketing?

While you might not be operating an amusement park, you are attempting to “entertain” your audience with information, advice, or other useful content.  Don’t undermine your marketing efforts by failing to deliver a positive experience.

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