How would you market “A Night At The Museum”?

Marketing “A Night at the Museum”

My kids love that movie. And who wouldn’t? Isn’t if fun to make all the characters at the museum come to life? It turns the traditional museum on its side.

Yesterday I chaperoned my daughter’s class on a field trip to The Museum of Nature and Science. It got me thinking. What caught me by surprise was the complete lack of marketing. We rode a generic school bus, entered through the school bus entrance and packed our own lunches. There were no ticket sales, no up-sells and no gift shops as part of the experience. There were no characters, no trinkets and no souvenirs.

It was also very static. The animals were stuffed. There was no background music. It was, well, educational.

Remember, the best marketers observe their customers and learn from them.

In every exhibit, the kids I chaperoned were drawn to things that were dynamic. The buttons that made sound, the buttons that lit things up, the buttons the made things move. The flipcharts with information, they flipped and flipped and flipped. They couldn’t read, they just flipped.

The most popular spot in the museum was the traveling exhibit about health. Why? It was completely dynamic and interactive. It was, quite frankly, fun.

This all got me thinking. If I were to monetize the museum and be responsible for increasing the revenue it generated, how would I do that?

Ah. I’d make it “A Night at the Museum“, coupled with some Disneyland.

How could you do that?

At the dinosaur exhibit, I’d have someone dressed up in a dinosaur costume. I’d have dinosaur sounds in the background and music to set a mood. Each static exhibit would have a button for kids to push to make a sound, make some lights or make something move. I’d add something that lets kids “Jump like a dinosaur” or “run like a dinosaur”. Something that let them compare their own abilities to that of a particular type of dinosaur. I’d have a computer set up where they can touch a dinosaur in the picture and a story would play about that type of dinosaur.

The kids need to touch things! They need to move! They have the most fun when screaming.

Does going to a place where everything is behind a piece of glass sound appealing to this audience? Does being someplace they need to be quiet sound like it meets the needs of the target customer? Ok, so I’ve assumed that museums are for teaching children. Maybe they were designed for adults who want to get out for some quiet time. No, that’s who designed them, not who they want to attend them.

OK, let’s get back to making this place fun. Notice I’ve made the assumption that fun=profits. That’s because if its fun, we will go back more. And the more we visit the more we spend.

I’d have a souvenir cart inside the dinosaur exhibit or right outside. It would sell dinosaur bones, dinosaur stuffed animals, dinosaur puzzles and games. Everything dinosaur.

Having one central gift shop makes it sooooo easy to walk past. Having the gift cart that interrupts the flow of traffic, grabs your attention and pulls you in is much more effective. Having all that stuff right in front where you kids can touch it is so tantalizing. You’re sure to increase conversions. Hit them while the emotion is still high, right as they are walking out of the exhibit.

In the exhibits where the animals are stuffed, why not add a volunteer dressed up in the traditional attire of that local? I’d like to see the volunteer in the Botswana exhibit, wouldn’t you? Again, let’s bring those exhibits to life with music and lighting. Get the kids interacting. How about a spear throwing activity in the Botswana exhibit? And, put a souvenir cart inside or right outside the exhibit.

My favorite is the Egyptian exhibit. I’d love a volunteer dressed up like Cleopatra. How about a video game where you kill the Egyptians with your sword? Or an area where you build your own pyramid? Of course, my girls would love the souvenir cart filled with sparkling jewels. Like I said, hit them while their hot!

Ok, that sounds like fun to me. I’d go visit more often with my kids.

The more we visit the more we spend.

If you were given the task of monetizing the museum by increasing revenue and attendance, what would you do? How would you market it? How would you design the product to appeal to the target audience?

About Debra Zimmer

After 25 years of growing entrepreneurial businesses at companies such as Microsoft, where she attracted 700,000 members into an online community in 18 months and then grew a second one to 250,000 members in 10 months, Debra Zimmer then struck out on her own to grow an online retail store to 6-figures of income and put it on AUTOPILOT for 3 years. With an engineering degree and an MBA from Columbia Business School, Debra is the undisputed expert in helping experts, entrepreneurs and executives to focus their brilliance and magnify their impact using social media and internet marketing tactics.

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