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Experiential Marketing: A Rose By Many Other Names

I’d like to introduce my presence at Fast Company with a few thoughts about my blogging focus, Experiential Marketing, a fairly new term with an incredible range of definitions. Rather than attempting to pin down the correct Experiential Marketing definition or to align myself with a particular school of thought, I plan to make use of the proliferation of definitions to explore the possibilities for Experiential Marketing as a concept and as a practice.

I’d like to introduce my presence at Fast Company with a few thoughts about my blogging focus, Experiential Marketing, a fairly new term with an incredible range of definitions. Rather than attempting to pin down the correct Experiential Marketing definition or to align myself with a particular school of thought, I plan to make use of the proliferation of definitions to explore the possibilities for Experiential Marketing as a concept and as a practice.

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In academia, such proliferations of terminology tend to occur when a discipline is in flux and marketing can certainly be considered a discipline undergoing rapid fluctuations. In the case of Experiential Marketing, the current array of definitions sometimes appear only peripherally related but they offer a great deal to consider.

Rather than a neat definition, the International Experiential Marketing Association offers a manifesto from the “founding board members” who consider themselves “ambassadors of this revolution”, one that is “predicated on one-on-one personal interaction between a marketer and a consumer.”

I love manifestoes but I found the following line from the introduction most useful to indicate the power of Experiential Marketing:
“Businesses will live or die not by the attributes they promise, but by the experience they offer customers at every touch point – in the store, at the website, with the product, and through events and advertising.”

Such a statement points to the fact that, while many aspects of Experiential Marketing may not be new, an Experiential Marketing perspective can integrate one’s activities while enriching them throughout.

Lois Carter Fay defines Experiential Marketing as “marketing that involves one or more of the senses.” Though that strikes me as incomplete, it suggests a great tool for Experiential Marketing analysis and Fay has some nice examples of enriching one’s marketing by considering its effects on each of the senses.

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My own interest in Experiential Marketing is strongly based in event organizing, though I don’t want to limit the practice to discrete events. However, I will be pursuing my fascination with such marketing experiments as Charmin’s bathrooms in Times Square, images and videos of which have proliferated online.

Encountering a brand while one is having an immersive experience is a powerful thing and, in addition to considering branded entertainment and retail outlets as entertainment centers, I will be examining examples of misuse of that power such as the disdainful perspective displayed in roach bait marketing and deceptive product placements.

If discussion of such topics interests you, please consider noting any particularly strong encounter with a brand during an immersive experience such as a New Year’s Party and drop me a line.

We’ll start the New Year with fresh data to analyze!

Happy Holidays!

Clyde Smith • ProHipHopclyde(at)prohiphop(dot)com