Service Dominant Logic: an Analysis of Universal Studios Orlando

Topics: Orlando, Florida, Marketing, Universal Studios Florida Pages: 6 (2463 words) Published: August 12, 2008

The following paper aims to analyze a current conglomerate in the light of modern marketing theory, using the collection of articles provided by Jonathan Schroeder as a conceptual platform to make evident the application of theory to practicality. The Oxford English Dictionary defines marketing simply as the promotion or selling of products. However, the school of thought around this facet of business that has arisen over the past several decades reveals a far more complicated and intricate world. “The formal study of marketing focused at first on the distribution and exchange of commodities and manufactured products and featured a foundation in economics. The first marketing scholars directed their attention toward commodities exchange, the marketing institutions that made goods available and arranged for possession, and the functions that needed to be performed to facilitate the exchange of goods through marketing institutions.” However, as evolution in the field continued into the 1950s, “the functional school began to morph into the marketing management school, which was characterized by a decision-making approach to managing the marketing functions and an overarching focus on the customer.” (Vargo, 2004, pg 1) The contention that marketing is a discipline geared towards services shall be applied to a modern marketing practitioner. Specifically, this paper shall focus on the theory of a service-dominant logic for marketing, investigating the marketing workings of Universal Studios Orlando, a major theme park in the central Florida area.

A brief introduction into the company currently under investigation is required. “With its grand opening in 1990 - Universal Studios Florida became the first real challenge to Disney's dominance of the Orlando tourism market.” ( The first incarnation was found at the Universal Studios lot in Hollywood, California. Beginning as a simple backstage tour of the lot, it eventually developed into a fully fledged theme park. “It was the success of that venture that inspired Universal to eventually invest the princely sum of $250 million in 1990 to launch an east coast version of its theme park – this one designed to challenge Disney head on.” ( Despite a substantial rough patch upon its opening, including malfunctioning rides, long lines and general dissatisfaction (providing the park a significant premiere black eye), Universal was able to become a key player in the Orlando theme park market. In order to further challenge the Disney dominance, by 1996 Universal had decided that they needed to create an entire resort destination. The expansion included a second theme park (Islands of Adventure), a night-life district (CityWalk), and an eventual three hotels (Hard Rock, Portofino Bay, and the Royal Pacific). “Thanks to this major new expansion, the tourism downturn that nearly decimated most of the industry in 2001 and 2002 had little impact on Universal… Rumours of expansion are back in the air – venues have been added, or remodelled at CityWalk (including the popular Red Coconut Room nightclub), the once venerable “Back to the Future” attraction at Universal Studios has been closed to make way for a new A-List attraction (rumoured to be based on the upcoming movie “The Simpsons” – from the Fox TV Show), and rumours persist that Harry Potter may be coming to Islands of Adventure – whether the specifics of these rumours are accurate remains to be seen – what has been confirmed is that major expansion is planned for the next three years.” ( While perhaps not the premiere resort/theme destination of the central Florida region as...
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