Happy Memorial Day!
You’ll never guess where I spent the night last weekend.
I spent it downtown in San Diego, onboard the famous United States Aircraft Carrier, the USS Midway (and yes, it was very exciting).
It was part of the YMCA Indian Princess group that I’m in with my two daughters.
What an amazing time we had!
We spent a total of about 18 hours on board.
We explored behind the scenes tours.
Heard amazing stories from our tour guides.
And wandered all around a big hunk of steel long after the “regular” tourists had left.
But the best part was our sleeping quarters…We were stacked 3 (!) people high in bunks better suited for 18 year old men.
They wouldn’t let us sleep in the officers quarters even though I asked them if we could. The very smart tour guides who spent the night slept in those quarters themselves!
The picture to the left doesn’t do these bunks justice. They are very uncomfortable and I was on the top bunk with no guard rail. And they woke us up promptly at 6am for navy chow and getting OUT of these bunks was very difficult.
But… what is the big MARKETING takeaway here?
Well, comfort DOES matter.
(my aching back the next day would definitely agree)
But, there was something else.
It’s that you really CAN’T underestimate the power of EXPERIENCE.
Whether it be a harbor cruise, a trip to Disney, or sleeping on an aircraft carrier — its about the EXPERIENCE that can really make the difference.
And the USS Midway took an old aircraft carrier and then gave a great experience to all of those who were on board.
A few of the specifics that made it memorable:
1. We ate “navy chow”, not food (and boy, powdered eggs are *really*, *REALLY* bad tasting).
2. We did salutes to our tour guides and they taught us how to salute properly with our right hand.
3. We stood in formation and were part of a squadron. (we even got to stand ‘at attention’ and then stand ‘at-ease’).
4. We became ‘crew members’ and got a great sew-on patch after spending the night. This was a big part of the experience because the ONLY way to get this patch is to spend the night on the carrier.
5. We got to hold and play with all sorts of things from airplane cockpits, to the steering wheel which was really fun, to the anchor chains and dock lines… even the landing cable from the flight deck.
Overall, it was an amazing time and very UNIQUE.
EXPERIENCE is a great way to differentiate YOU and YOUR business from your competition… even if you’re essentially selling the same exact product.
What kind of experience are you immersing your customers/clients/patients in?
How can you make the experience better?
One of my favorite Walt Disney stories has to do when the park first opened. The costumes for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest of the crew apparently looked really, really bad. They had holes in them, and they were more scary than the were exciting.
Actually one of our local San Diego members verified this with me because he was there on opening day as a kid and said the costumes were really bad.
I even found a picture online that confirms the costumes were definitely not quite as refined as they are today! (there’s another great marketing lesson there… don’t wait for things to be perfect before you take action)
Apparently, someone told Walt Disney that he really needed to get rid of the silly people dressed up in costumes.
Walt said, absolutely not – that is what makes us different and UNIQUE.
Well, there is a lot more that makes Disney unique but what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Disney, its that mouse named Mickey.
So, give some serious thought to having a memorable experience with your business and then watch and see what happens.
You too might get some of that Midway Magic for yourself and your business.
President, Timezone Marketing
Author, “The Hour A Day Entrepreneur”