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There are a lot of moms out there. And in a breathtakingly clever way, Disney has figured out a way to leverage the interest that many of those moms express in Mickey Mouse—and all that goes with him—to expand its market, increase its sales, enhance its name recognition, and increase its online and social media presence.

The Disney Social Media Moms is a group of approximately 1,300 parents who receive perks (but not pay) from the entertainment conglomerate. In turn, the company encourages (but does not require) them to blog, post, and comment about all things Disney. Popular topics include reviews of cruises, tips for moving easily through the theme parks, and Pinterest boards with ideas for themed birthday parties.

Cinderella Castle in Disney's Magic Kingdom. Image shot 05/2007. Exact date unknown.The criteria for being chosen as a Disney Social Media Mom are not made public, and competition to be picked is fierce. According to some analyses of the existing group and its members, the preferred moms are very active on social media and do not limit their online conversations to topics surrounding Disney. Rather, these bloggers, authors, and Internet personalities write about parenting, of course, as well as cooking, crafting, and travel. They also attract substantial followings; an average among recently invited Social Media Moms was 27,000 followers on Twitter.

As a Social Media Mom, a consumer might receive an invitation to a special event at Disney World, featuring motivational sessions, updates on new Disney plans, and talks by Disney film producers. They also get substantial discounts in the parks and other retail settings and passes that allow them to skip many of the lines for rides and other attractions. However, even after receiving an invitation, attendees still must pay entrance fees to get into the park and cover all travel expenses for themselves and any family members who join them.

Still, the 200 or so moms who attended the most recent event shared overwhelmingly positive assessments of their experience, including 88 blog posts, nearly 5000 pictures uploaded to Instagram, and 28,500 tweets on Twitter. Marketing like this, by regular consumers who share their own experiences and thus strongly influence purchases by their peers, is unmatchable by traditional marketing efforts. Thus it appears that it’s the moms who really rule the market.

Discussion Question:

What does Disney get from its relationship with the Social Media Moms? What do the moms get?

 

Source: Lisa Richwine, “Disney’s Powerful Marketing Force: Social Media Moms,” Reuters, June 15, 2015

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