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Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Bernd H. Schmitt

Experiential marketing, a decidedly turn-of-the-millennium form of corporate persuasion that strives to elicit a powerful sensory or cognitive consumer response, is rapidly superseding the stodgy features-and-benefits approach generally in vogue since … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Bernd H. Schmitt
Publisher: Free Press
1 review about Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers...

"A New Model"

  • Feb 2, 2000
In Marketing Aesthetics, Schmitt & Simonson argue that "most of marketing is limited because of its focus on features and benefits." They then presented what they characterized as "a framework" for managing those experiences. In Experiential Marketing, Schmitt provides a much more detailed exposition of the limitations of traditional features-and-benefits marketing. Moreover, he moves beyond the sensory "framework" into several new dimensions, introducing what he calls "a new model" which will enable marketers to manage "all types of experiences, integrating them into holistic experiences" while "addressing key structural, strategic, and organizational challenges." The key word is "holistic"; the key process is Issues


In his Preface, Schmitt introduces his reader to someone he identifies as "Laura Brown." At the end of each of the 11 chapters, Laura Brown reacts to the material presented. Often, she responds with questions which the reader may be tempted to ask. For products but what if a company is an industrial firm? What if it is a consulting firm or a medical practice? How does experiential marketing come into play for these kinds of companies?" Or at the end of Chapter via a brand? What kind of communities are the 'brand communities'? What about communities of real people?"

Obviously Schmitt is a clever fellow. He includes Laura Brown (who turns out to be a real person) to respond to his material with questions such as these so that, in effect, he can say "I am so glad that you asked me about that!" Of course, he then answers the questions. This interaction is playful, adding humor; it is also a brilliant device by which to expand and enrich the flow of Schmitt's ideas.

They are very important ideas indeed. Simultaneously, Schmitt establishes a rock-solid conceptual infrastructure while examining a number of different companies (eg Nokia, Procter & Gamble, Apple Computer, Volkswagen, Siemens, Martha Stewart Living, and SONY) which demonstrate the fundamental principles of Experiential Marketing. One of the book's most valuable contributions is provided in Part Two as Schmitt focuses on what he calls Strategic Experiential Modules (SEMs), each of which has its own distinct structures and principles which must be understood by each manager. SEMs include sensory experiences (SENSE), affective experiences (FEEL), creative cognitive experiences (THINK), physical experiences and entire lifestyles (ACT), and social-identity experiences (RELATE). Schmitt examines each, explains how to achieve the effective integration of all four.

In the Epilogue, he reveals Laura Brown's identity (no surprise there), suggesting that the experience-oriented organization is a "Dionysian organization and focuses on creativity and innovation...it takes a broad, helicopter view focusing on long-term trends, pays attention to its physical environment, and views its employees as human capital." Indeed, he hastens to add, "the experience-oriented organization is keenly interested in promoting its employees' experiential growth." Schmitt thus offers an alternative to the traditional organization which is oriented toward order, structure, analysis, and short term.

If you read Experiential Marketing and then share my high regard for it, I urge you to read also (if you have not already done so) The Experience Economy and The Entertainment Economy.

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