Marketing Disney Travel to Fans Around the World
“By leveraging the power of Disney experiences to create emotional connections with our guests and consumers, we’re able to keep our brand fresh while respecting its legacy and power.” — Jill Estorino, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales, Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
Jill Estorino is executive vice president of global marketing and sales for Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, which means she oversees about 2,000 people around the world who market and sell Disney theme parks, cruises and other vacation products. She has been with the entertainment and travel giant for nearly two decades, having started out in travel trade sales at Walt Disney World in Florida. She recently spoke to SheReports about leveraging consumer data, removing bias in marketing and having the best job in the world.
What do you oversee in your role at Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and what’s your day-to-day like?
I oversee a team of 2,000 people that includes Consumer Insights, Measurement and Analytics, Media Planning and Buying, Customer Relationship Management, Franchise Strategy and Planning, and, of course, our in-house creative agency, Yellow Shoes. Together, we are responsible for marketing and selling Disney destinations, products, experiences and signature vacations around the world, including six theme parks, four cruise ships (with three on the way), Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Consumer Products, games and publishing. Day to day, that means I need to pivot between businesses, for example, from Disney Cruise Line to Disneytown in Shanghai. I need to understand the unique insights of our consumers — from China, Europe, Latin America — and move from strategic to creative to operational decision-making based on the needs of my teams. It’s the best job on the planet.
Disney is a brand with a huge amount of heritage built into it. How do you balance that with marketing travel and tourism products that need to feel fresh and exciting?
While our legacy is strong, our brand continues to evolve. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented time of transformation as a company, from new and legacy franchises to our new approach to distribution and even the Disney+ streaming service launch. As a marketing organization, that means we have more stories to tell than ever before, and through leveraging consumer insights and data as a force for good, we’re able to get even closer to our fans. One example of that is our recent Marvel Day at Sea campaign, in which we targeted fans with Marvel affinity and who had visited Walt Disney World with unique ads, encouraging them to book a Disney cruise specifically for this experience. By leveraging the power of Disney experiences to create emotional connections with our guests and consumers, we’re able to keep our brand fresh while respecting its legacy and power.
As a marketing organization … we have more stories to tell than ever before, and through leveraging consumer insights and data as a force for good, we’re able to get even closer to our fans.
Disney is part of the #SeeHer initiative, to improve depictions of women in advertising. How do you think about gender roles in your marketing?
At Disney, we have a company-wide strategy that accelerates and deepens our commitment to gender-inclusive practices. In the marketing discipline within Parks and Consumer Products, it’s our responsibility to ensure we accurately portray women and girls in our advertising. We have a number of efforts to help us gauge how we do this, from a Gender Equality Measure tool, which allows us to evaluate how we represent women in our ads, to looking at our hiring practices in front of and behind the camera. We are partnering with industry leaders to ensure that our on-screen representation and behind-the-camera talent are inclusive and that our workplace culture reflects the experiences of the people to which we, as a brand, want to connect.
Has #SeeHer led you to rethink your marketing strategies or creative at all?
Absolutely. We have taken a fresh look at our marketing mission, operations and model, and embedded it into our entire process — from the strategic brief to the creative brief, from media planning to creative production, and of course including measurement both pre- and post-execution. In order to reduce the bias you have in your advertising, you must remove the bias from the day-to-day work process. It is a continuous learning process, one that the entire team is excited about.
At Disney, we have a company-wide strategy that accelerates and deepens our commitment to gender-inclusive practices.
What do you see as best practices for marketing travel and tourism products to women today?
We generally stay gender-neutral and focus our marketing toward parents and adults traveling without kids. We work hard to deeply understand all of our customers and ensure we represent Disney experiences in ways that are inclusive and that respect the tremendous diversity of our global audience.