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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Experiential Marketing Opens the Minds of Customers

Experiential Marketing Opens the Minds of Customers

LEE Min-Hoon

Nov. 22, 2011

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Originally released on October 12, 2011

Experiential marketing, an emotionally loaded marketing technique to win the hearts of customers through special experiences, has been thrust into the spotlight. Impressing customers desensitized by a tsunami of information and stodgy marketing will require something that exceeds customers’ expectations. With the majority of consumers tightening their purse strings after the global financial crisis and consumption being concentrated on certain products pertaining to their interests, experiential marketing has proven its worth even further. Besides, the fact that benefits and pleasures offered by newly emerging products and technologies can be appreciated only through hands-on experience also underlines the need for experiential marketing. Companies who have pulled off their experiential marketing strategies have been providing customers with amusement, affection and achievement by effectively managing the five experiential factors (sense, feel, think, act and relate).  In other wo rds, unprecedented, out-of-the-box ideas (sensory experiences) amuse customers making them burst into them. Customers feel cared for by companies’ provision of better-than-expected subtlety (affective experience) or “only for you” kinds of special services (social-identity experience). Furthermore, soliciting customers’ ideas on product planning and development (creative cognitive experience) and offering opportunity to have a taste of a new life style (physical experiences and entire lifestyles) help customers have a sense of achievement.  

Firstly, sense marketing (sensory experience) is a marketing technique that elicits customer response by using unexpected sensations. Recently, all of the five sensations have begun to be exploited to please customers who have been inured to monolithic, unilateral communication. Second, feel marketing (affective experience) is an emotion-arousing technique that encourages customers to harbor positive and special emotions such as nostalgia and attachment towards companies or brands. Third, relate marketing (social identity experience) is a strategy designed to emphasize the fact that the company values each and every customer. Fourth, think marketing (creative cognitive experience) is a strategy that stirs customers’ creative cognitive curiosity or offers customers the opportunity to participate in production development processes. Last but not least, act marketing (physical experiences and entire lifestyles) is about helping customers relate to the company's brand value by developing b ehavioral programs, in which customers can play the role of a sponsor or a partner.  

Successful experiential marketing requires provision of differentiated experiences according to intimacy with customers.  For instance, topicality and the spirit of a challenge that trigger intense curiosity and word of mouth are needed at the first point of contact. In addition, TPO-appropriate experiences should be offered, passionate employees should be utilized to create unforgettable experiences and word of mouth should be taken advantage of to spread customer experiences. Lastly, bearing in mind that experiential marketing is not the preserve of consumer goods makers, business-to-business (B2B) companies also need to take an open-minded approach towards experiential marketing.

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