What ‘High School Musical’ Taught Me About Direct Marketing
By now, most of you know that the Disney Channel juggernaut “High School Musical,” is perhaps the most powerful brand in America right now. Witness the premiere on Aug. 17 of the highly anticipated sequel, “High School Musical 2,” which whipped America’s “tweeners” (kids ages 6 to 14) into a frenzy — and their parents into buying action.
As of this writing, the sequel’s soundtrack has taken over the No. 1 position on iTunes. And of course, my 7-year-old had to have his soundtrack immediately after the movie aired. That means that for the next few months there will be only one CD playing in my car until I want to pull every hair out of my head. Get me some coffee to go with all that saccharine, fast!
In the 24 hours since the show aired, I was coerced into buying the soundtrack and downloading a video game to my cell phone. Oh, and that’s not all. Two weeks ago, I had to get tickets to High School Musical: The Ice Tour. Oh boy!
No doubt, the Disney folks are masters at creating brand extensions via merchandising. They should be; they work off a multitude of products they can use as cross-sell items. From a direct marketing perspective, all these products serve as tools to increase customer lifetime value. And to think Disney discontinued its catalog — go figure.
Nevertheless, catalogers can learn many great lessons from Disney’s brand marketing prowess. Consider these ...
1. Involve consumers with your marketing vehicle. They’ll buy tons of stuff when they’re emotionally invested in your brand. Put another way, if they love it, and you know they love it — if you build it, they will come. Knowing they love it is the key. That takes having your entire organization facing outward and toward the customer.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.