Inside the Disney Marketing Machine – great read!

Inside the Disney Marketing Machine cover
Inside the Disney Marketing Machine cover

Learn about the resurgence of Disney marketing after Walt, from an author who lived it! I first learned about Lorraine Santoli when I was working for Disney in the ’90s, and I’d receive the weekly Corporate Synergy communications. That let us know all the latest happening within the company to see if there were opportunities to work any of it into our own products in our department.

It was such an exciting time at Disney! After Walt passed away in ’66, the company kept going, but not really strong. With a new President, Frank Wells, and CEO, Michael Eisner, the company started to become alive again.

Lorraine’s new book, Inside the Disney Marketing Machine – In the Era of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, reveals, through exclusive access to top-tier Disney management, how the magic was made in an era of explosive company growth.

Focusing on the “Disney difference,” Inside the Disney Marketing Machine not only details how marketing concepts were derived, executed and sold to consumers at that time (Part One, Marketing Outside the Company), but how corporate priority projects were marketed internally across all Disney business segment boundaries through a never-before-revealed synergy process (Part Two, Marketing Inside the Company).

The story begins when Lorraine arrives at Disney in the late ‘70s (her tenure was from 1978-2000) when the studio that Walt built was in a rut turning out formulaic films mostly targeted to kids. The arrival of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells in 1984 brought revolutionary change to how the company operated and, more importantly, how it marketed its products that were derived from its over fifty diverse business segments from Motion Pictures and Television to Theme Parks, Theatrical Productions, Home Entertainment, Consumer Products and Sports, among others.

(1990) Disney CEO, Michael Eisner and Disney President, Frank Wells
(1990) Disney CEO, Michael Eisner and Disney President, Frank Wells

Eisner and Wells were in fact the first Hollywood executives (only after Walt Disney himself) to aggressively cross-promote from within using synergy in addition to employing traditional marketing strategies. By adding a synergy component to marketing plans across business segments, the root product, whether a film release, theme park event, corporate celebration or other company priority, became more profitable than it would ever have been standing alone. For Eisner and Wells 1 + 1 = 3.

Following the pair’s directives, a corporate synergy program was developed and led by Santoli (under the guidance of a synergy VP). She held that role for a decade, from 1990 to 2000, and managed all internal marketing communications across every business segment of The Walt Disney Company. The process ultimately eradicated the business-binding mentality of silo-based thinking. The successful operation of that Disney synergy process is detailed in this book.

Overall, Inside the Disney Marketing Machine shows you what it was like to reshape a faltering and much-loved company into a media juggernaut. Her humorous anecdotes and stories, along with exclusive contributions from senior Disney management takes readers inside the world’s most powerful marketing machine in a special time when it felt like everything that Michael Eisner and Frank Wells touched, turned to gold.

Check out Lorraine’s book at Amazon, and be sure to visit her website at