Over the past few years, most companies have started to build out the right new roles and responsibilities to accommodate the new tools and techniques associated with inbound and internet marketing. This has resulted in some new job titles, different priorities, and in some cases, a wholesale rework of the overall marketing strategy.

Of course, this is not just an HR role adjustment. In some cases, it comes down to having to decide between what type of professional you need in each capacity. For example, it is important to draw a line between a “White Hat SEO” and a “Black Hat SEO.”

I thought it would be fun to look at some of the roles and personality types we encounter in today’s modern marketing team structure using a Disney analogy. Some of these are actual job titles or responsibility areas, while a couple are more descriptive of personality types or execution style. See what you think of my analogies below. Hopefully this resonates with the kid inside of each of you.

SEM Manager: Shang

Disney Movie: Mulan
Character Attributes: Logical, Thorough, Loyal, Intense Focus On Achieving the Goal

Disney Analogy for Internet Marketing: Shang from Mulan

The son of General Li, the head of the Chinese army, Shang is a logical and thoughtful influence on the main character, Mulan. He is dedicated and loyal, and exhibits an intense focus for achieving whatever objectives are placed before him.

While your SEM Manager is no member of the royal bloodline, he or she will be most successful with the same attributes. PPC requires a great deal of ability to analyze and filter through large data sets, so logic and thoroughness are must-haves. If you treat them well, SEM Managers can be some of the most loyal members of the team. Since their performance hinges completely on their ability to target and hit pre-determined goals (CTR, CPCs, Conversions, Cost / Conversion, etc.), most SEM pros are also intensely focused on the right things.

Copywriter: John Darling

Disney Movie: Peter Pan
Character Attributes: Smart, Adventurous, Outstanding Imagination

Disney Analogy for Internet Marketing: John Darling from Peter Pan

John Darling, one of the kids whom Peter Pan visits and takes on a journey to Neverland in the original movie, is the older of the two boys in the family. For a 10-year old, he exhibits maturity, smarts, and an amazing imagination. Operating with an air of sophistication, John is very articulate and comes across as having a great command of the English language. He also likes to play Captain Hook during role play, and shows an interest in adventure throughout the story.

Your copywriter has to display some of these exact same attributes. Of course, every good writer brings intelligence and imagination to the table, even those that are tasked with writing business-only copy (how else can you make the driest of topics sing?). Since copy is not always spelled out, the onus for exploring the possibilities often falls squarely on the writer’s shoulders. They must be comfortable branching out and thinking of all the possibilities, before honing in on the right adventure through which they will take the reader.

Content Strategist: Captain Amelia

Disney Movie: Treasure Planet
Character Attributes: Smart, Independent, Intolerant of Failure or Incompetence

Disney Analogy for Internet Marketing: Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet

Captain Amelia commandeers a ship that has been hired to travel to “Treasure Planet” in the movie of the same name. She is witty and quick to react to stimuli, and appears to be a mix of a person and a cat. The movie suggests that she is the “finest captain” in any galaxy, and she displays leadership qualities such as independence and very high intelligence. She is also very intolerant of rude behavior, incompetence, and failure to complete assigned tasks. One of her killer quotes in the movie begins with, “Let me make this as monosyllabic as possible…”, attesting to her smarts and lack of patience with those who lack her mental capabilities.

Here on earth, we have the role of content strategist. As someone who must take a range of inputs and organize them into a coherent strategy for properly targeting personas with a series of content assets, the content strategist must also be highly independent and savvy. After weaving such an intricate array of content priorities, it takes a great deal of patience to handhold others through the execution process. Some content strategists can easily handle that slow process, while others may lose patience along the way.

Social Media Manager: Tigger

Disney Movie: Winnie the Pooh, The Tigger Movie, and others
Character Attributes: Fun-loving, Social/Friendly, Love for Life

Disney Internet Marketing Analogy: Tigger from Winnie the Pooh

Tigger has been a key character in the Winnie the Pooh series, even having his own movie released back in 2000. Tigger is a very energetic, fun-loving creature, and one who seems to like himself enough to talk about it. He exhibits a robust love for life, and is known to be friendly with everyone he encounters across the various Pooh themed movies, books, and television shows. He is always interested in helping friends in need, and serves a protagonist role in the storyline.

Similar to Tigger, social media managers have to be social and friendly by their very nature (or job description, if that works better for you). Since networking is part of the game, they have to be great at “pay it forward” behavior, such as helping others solve problems, meet people, and have a good experience with the brand. Although less narcissistic in nature than the behavior of Tigger, a good social media manager will have no problem speaking on behalf of their company or brand in a positive light.

White Hat SEO: Tiana

Disney Movie: The Princess and the Frog
Character Attributes: Hard-Working, Goal-oriented, Motivated, Determined

Disney Analogies for Internet Marketing Jobs: Tiana from The Princess and the Frog
In the movie, Tiana grows up in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her life dream is to open her own restaurant, so her father teaches her that she must work hard and stay focused to achieve those goals. Through especially the early part of the film, it is clear that her work ethic is very high, showing her motivation, determination, and inner strength. She will put in the effort it takes to succeed with high ethics and poise.

In a similar fashion, the white hat SEO has to remain obsessed with staying completely within the lines. For those of us in the SEO game, we know that Google’s rules keep tightening, so it takes more and smarter efforts to stay afloat. Ethics remain top of mind for the white hat SEO, and it takes a large volume of hard work to achieve the goals of driving improved rankings, traffic, and business success. There is no room for slacking.

Black Hat SEO: Maleficent / The Cheshire Cat Hybrid

Although it may seem odd, there are actually two characters from Disney that characterize different parts of the Black Hat SEO persona. Let’s look at them separately.


Disney Movies: Sleeping Beauty
Character Attributes: Narcissistic, Ruthless, Devious, Magical

Disney Analogies for Internet Marketing Roles: Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
Maleficent is a very shady character, but intriguing enough that Disney is working on a movie about her. She is very narcissistic, as evidenced by her most famous quote: “You poor simple fools, thinking you could defeat me. Me, the mistress of all evil.” You can also see how she is ruthless in that quote, but she is also devious and possesses magical powers.

So the intense evil aside, there are similarities to the black hat SEO. Most black hatters are narcissistic enough to convince themselves that they are smart enough to avoid a slap by Google. Too many people still see the SEO industry as “snake oil salesmen”, and this is the result of devious salespeople promising magical results, then ruthlessly automating any cheat they can find to make it happen. Sure, they aren’t evil incarnate like Maleficent, but some of the attributes align nicely.

The Cheshire Cat

Disney Movie: Alice in Wonderland
Character Attributes: Mysterious, Smart, Mischievous

Disney Analogies for Internet Marketing Roles:  The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

What good Disney analogy would omit an intriguing character like the mystical Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland? The Cheshire Cat is a very mysterious character indeed, one who can even change his shape to entertain, frighten, or fool others. The Cheshire Cat talks a great game, and even helps Alice on several occasions. However, beneath the surface, he is a mysterious trickster who is only looking out for himself and his own amusement.

Like the cat, a Black Hat SEO can adapt on the fly in a variety of situations. Since their methods are misunderstood by most people, they can be mysterious and are typically very smart about how they operate. Clearly, it takes smarts to stay a step or two ahead of Google and their anti-Spam game, so that comes with the territory. At the same time, they tend to be quick talkers who might be helpful, but can often confuse the listener with the way the spin the message. The following Cheshire Cat quote illustrates the analogy effectively: “Only a few find the way, some don’t recognize it when they do – some… don’t ever want to.”

ROI Obsessed Hag: Cruella DeVille

Disney Movie: 101 Dalmatians
Character Attributes: Greedy, Impulsive, Reckless, Controlling, Egotistical

Disney Analogies for Internet Marketing Roles: Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmations

Cruella DeVille is one of the most recognizable characters from any Disney movie. She displays all of the tyrannical characteristics that one might expect from a corrupt executive – greed, ego, controlling, impulsive, and overbearing. The whole premise of the movie is about her hoarding Dalmatian puppies with the intent of turning all of them into fur coats. Her thirst for fur is simply unmatched, as she screams, “I live for fur! I worship fur!”

Then there is the myopic decision maker who doesn’t understand the differences between lead generation and everything else. He or she has no concept of the tradeoffs between quality and quantity, or a well-managed buyer’s journey, or even how demand generation differs from lead gen. This type of person will ask stupid questions like “How much incremental revenue will it provide the company in the next 30 days if we add long-tail keywords on the website? Why should we do this?” They only want one thing, and they want it NOW dammit! Forget about the long term benefits of doing things right.


There you have it, my take on building analogies between the typical modern Internet Marketing roles and Disney characters that resemble the personalities.

What roles did I miss? Do you think another character would be a better fit for any of the above? Add your ideas in the comments below, and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share with others who might find this entertaining or interesting.

This guest post is provided courtesy of Tommy Landry, President of Return On Now. Operating out of Austin, TX, Tommy and his team help companies of all sizes improve their online visibility and lead flow. This post was inspired by his two kids, who are ecstatic to see Disney applied to internet marketing.

Image Attributions

Feature image source: User Hyku on Flickr with Creative Commons Attribution License
Shang image source: User JLinsky on Flickr with Creative Commons Attribution License
John Darling image source: User JeffChristiansen on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License
Captain Amelia image source: User Venus-Mike-Adel-Leo on DeviantArt, Creative Commons Attribution License
Tigger image source: User ZutaraGirl on DeviantArt, Creative Commons Attribution License
The White Rabbit image source: User RVR on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License
Tiana image source: User Sam Howzit on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License
Maleficent image source: User HarshLight on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License
The Cheshire Cat image source: User Rikkis_Refuge on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License
Cruella DeVille image source: User MojoJoeJoe on Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License

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