How 7 People told 350,000,000 others about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Ever wonder how you can spread the message virally using a very small marketing budget? The story below tells you how Universal Orlando Resort used Inbound Marketing to promote The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by telling just 7 selected people who in-turn told another 350 million.

The following is an excerpt from David Meerman Scott's "The New Rules of Viral Marketing" document available at
Imagine you are the head of marketing at a theme park, and you're charged with announcing a major new attraction. What would you do?
Well, the old rules of marketing suggest that you pull out your wallet. You'd probably spend millions to buy your way into people's minds, interrupting them with TV spots, billboards by the side of the highway, and other 'creative' Madison Avenue advertising techniques. You'd also hire a big PR agency, who would beg the media to write about your attraction. The traditional PR approach requires a self-congratulatory press release replete with company muckety-mucks claiming that the new attraction will bring about world peace by bringing families closer together.

That's not what Cindy Gordon, vice President of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando Resort, did when she launched The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Other large entertainment companies would have spent millions of dollars to interrupt everyone in the country with old-rules approaches: Super Bowl TV ads, blimp, direct mail, and magazine ads. Instead, Gordon told just seven people about the new attraction.

And those seven people told tens of thousands.

Then mainstream media listened to those tens of thousands and wrote about the news in their newspaper and magazine articles, in TV and radio reports, and in blog posts. Gordon estimates that 350 million people around the world heard the news that Universal Orlando Resort was creating The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

Recognizing that millions of fans around the world are passionate about all things Harry Potter, Gordon knew she could rely on word-of-mouse to spread her story. After all, Harry is a global phenomenon. ...

Gordon and her counterpart at Warner Bros. chose to launch The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by first telling the exciting news to a very small group of rabid fans. Seven people at the top Harry Potter fan sites such as Mugglenet, were hand selected by Gordon's team, with Warner Bros and Rowling herself providing input about the choices. These seven were invited to participate in a top-secret Webcast held at midnight on May 31, 2007.

The Webcast was hosted by Scott Trowbridge, vice president of Universal Creative, and featured Stuart Craig, the academy award-winning production designer for all the Harry Potter films. In the Webcast, live from the "Dumbledore's Office" set at Leavesden Studios, Craig dicsussed how his team of 20 designers is bringing together The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. ...

Soon after the Webcast, the team sent an e-announcement to their in-house, opt-in email list of park guests so they could hear the news directly too. Team members also sent the e-announcements to friends and family. During the secret Webcast, a Web micro-site went live to provide a place for bloggers and the media to link for information to the theme park, which is slated to open in late 2009 or early 2010. Visitors to the site learned that the park will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, as well as experiemntal shops and restaurants that will enable guests to sample fare from the Wizarding world's best known establishments.

Because Gordon's team launched The Wizarding World of Harry Potter through social media - putting fans first - they were able to run the entire promotion in-house, with a very small marketing budget (covering the Webcast infrastructure and the micro-site production) and a tiny development team. They did not hire an agency, and they did no widespread outbound media relations, no marketing stunts, no CEO conference call, and no expensive advertising.

Of course, not all companies have Harry Potter on their team. But Gordon still accomplished a remarkable feat with an approach that most large organizations would not have taken. She just told seven people and the power of word-of-mouse led to 350 million people hearing the news.
The time to practice Outbound Marketing is gone. It's now time to focus on Inbound Marketing. It can save you time, money, energy and create stellar results for your company.

Thank you for Reading,

No comments:

Post a Comment