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Rob and Pablo Experiential Marketing Evaluation Essay


Introduction

Rob and Pablo, the co-proprietors of SNOG (a chain of UK based yogurt shops), mention that the secret behind their success lies not only in the type of product they sell but rather in the way in which they make each transaction an “experience” for their customers.

What these two entrepreneurs are referring to is the general ambiance and “feel” that permeates a particular store or shopping area.

This particular concept can be defined as experiential marketing which relies on establishing an emotional and rational connection with a customer to convince them to buy a product or patronize a particular service.

Experiential Marketing in Action

Within the context of experiential marketing, the “experience” that Rob and Pablo are referring to is not just the quality of the product itself but what customers feel when they enter into a particular establishment1.

In the case of Snog, all their outlets have a warm and friendly ambiance which is not only family friendly but actually promotes, in their words, “a happy feeling” for customers.

For example, it can be seen that in the case of Apple Inc. that all their stores, no matter what country they are present in, have a stylish and ergonomic design that looks “clean, modern and cutting edge” which has come to exemplify the experience of buying products at an Apple store.

Based on the popularity of not only Snog but of Apple itself, it can be seen that by making their store into an “experience” rather than just a store, this helps to encourage buying behaviour among their clientele and even repeat visits.

As such, for any business that wants to increase their customer base it is important to develop the experience their venue provides so as to better appeal to consumers and create repeat business.

Components to Market Orientation

There are three components within market orientation that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to examining experiential marketing, namely: a company’s competitor orientation, its customer orientation or whether it adheres to inter-functional coordination.

When it comes to marketing strategies involving customer orientation, a company utilizes its available resources in gathering data on the needs and behaviours of the consumer segment that it is targeting.

The same can be said for competitor orientation marketing strategies; however, in this case it focuses on competitors within the same market instead2.

Either method has a distinct weakness; focusing too much on consumer orientation can actually blind a company to changes in the market or may actually stifle innovation since the company focuses too much on consumer satisfaction rather than changing based on trends3.

Focusing too much on competitor orientation on the other hand results in too much time and capital being placed on competitive activities which results in companies at times neglecting their consumer bases and focusing too much on getting ahead of the competition.

In the case of IBM, what was done was to focus on a customer oriented strategy by providing solutions instead of merely software and hardware4.

Not only that, the company also avoided the potential pitfall of being blind to changes within the market by in effect taking itself out of the competitive direct to consumer PC market and instead focused on a niche market strategy involving multinational corporations, institutions and other such organizations.

This strategy can be considered a stroke of genius since it enabled the company to further enhance its reputation through better client services which in effect resulted in additional clients for IBM5.

The end result of this particular marketing strategy enabled IBM to become the 2nd largest firm within the U.S. based on the number of employees it currently has as well as enabling it to reach the fourth highest position within the U.S. market in terms of the sheer amount of market capitalization it has at the present.

Marketing and Customer Experiences

This section argues that consumption is an embodied experience rather than consisting of mere business transactions and, as such, this is why experiences can be an economic offering. Space where consumers do their shopping is related to their bodies, sensations, feelings, emotions, and their actions6.

The space where experiences are plotted, staged and consumed are the sites to offer the memorable events for consumers to immerse themselves in.

These sites are thus defined as experiencescapes and can be considered the primary means by which products are marketed to people.

It is within this context that the concept of experiential marketing is doubted since if the act of appealing to customers is through an experiencescape and is an inherent aspect of marketing in general, this means that experiential marketing is nothing more than a contemporary manifestation of already present marketing orientations.

It is a well known fact that the presentation of anything that can be feasibly sold to a consumer is an important factor in whether or not a product is a success or a failure.

Companies have gone so far as to invest millions on advertising campaigns, consumer focus groups, product viability testing as well as a variety of other factors in order to entice people to buy their product7.

In hotels, restaurants and shopping malls, enticing a customer to come to their location is not just a matter of having the best product at the lowest cost but rather presenting a certain image, ambience, and experience.

From this it can be understood that people are attracted to going to a certain location based what they see as being a pleasant experience for them which goes beyond mere shopping or eating8.

When taking into account the numerous malls and shopping centres around the world such as the Dubai Shopping Centre in the United Arab Emirates or the Mall of Asia in the Philippines, ergonomically they can be considered a vast waste of space and electricity with large avenues that could have been occupied by shops yet are filled in with waiting areas, indoor fountains, fancy sculptures as well as expensive air conditioning systems.

The justification behind such endeavours and its correlation with experiential marketing will be tackled in the next section.

Case Example

A systems analyst would tell you that the resources expended on malls hold little significance for selling goods to consumers and would best be used in a more productive fashion.

However, following such advice would result in an architecturally benign structure that would be efficient in reducing costs and maximizing sales however such a location would probably not be frequented by customers at all9.

The reason for such extravagances in a shopping mall is that people are attracted by presentation and desire a way in which they would be able to experience something beyond just shopping for goods and services10.

The fact of the matter is the process of buying goods and services from a store is normally a tedious and boring experience.

Having to drive or take public transportation to a shopping centre, finding the type of store that contains the articles of clothing in question and having to go back home consumes vast amounts of time and, as such, under ordinary circumstances most people would be rather hesitant to repeat this kind of behaviour11.

Retailing works off continued consumer patronage and, as such, the more a person goes to a certain location to buy something the greater the resulting profits for the company in question.

In order to encourage this type of behaviour, shopping centres and retailers have to make the experience of shopping an enjoyable one in order for consumers to continuously come back due to the enjoyed experience12.

This process is called an experiencescape which can be described as the creation of an environment that creates an experience beyond that of the mere buying of goods, rather, it is a type of marketing that is meant to entice, delight and encourage repeat visits in order to get people to buy products at certain locations13.

In the case of the Mall of Dubai, the Mall of Asia as well as numerous other global shopping centres, a trend has occurred leading to the creation of ever increasing building sizes with one mall becoming bigger than the next.

Each succeeding mall tends to possess more amenities, luxuries as well as a plethora of various consumer oriented services meant to entice more visits in the future14. One clear example of an experiencescape in the shopping centres of today are the movie theatres15.

Movies themselves are meant to enthral, entertain and otherwise provide an experience like no other, yet it is far easier and cheaper to merely wait for the DVD of a movie to come out, rent it at the fraction of the cost of a movie ticket and watch at home at the convenience of the renter.

Thus, it must be questioned why then do people spend money to watch movies in shopping centres?

The fact is that watching movies on a large screen is a far better experience, combined with surround sound and the reactions of other audience members, it is an experiencescape meant to impress, entertain and otherwise captivate the attention of a moviegoer so as to encourage repeat visits16.

People enjoy their senses being stimulated in one form or another which an experiencescape is able to provide and, as such, people are willing to pay ever increasing amounts of money or go to shopping centres with the best entertainment value just to stimulate their senses17.

This is based on the fact that life in general for most of the population is rather benign and boring. With this in mind, ever increasing amounts of people are in search of methods to fill this boredom with something that would be able to captivate the senses18.

Shopping centres, malls and mega complexes are able to provide this, hence the fact people have a tendency to congregate around such areas in order to experience the various experiecescapes that are available in them19.

This of course results in greater sales for the numerous stalls, booths, and stores located within the mall itself since people are not only enticed to experience all that is available around them but are also encouraged to spend money by either eating at restaurants located within the shopping centre or by buying something through a spur of the moment purchase20.

Taking all these factors into consideration, it can be seen that the creation of “customer experiences” is a normal part of marketing and doing business.

While it may be true that experiential marketing has been gaining considerable ground as of late, the fact remains that it is merely a manifestation of the customer oriented marketing strategy that was described earlier on in this paper.

As such, it is true that creating an experience to appeal to customers is important, however, it is erroneous to believe that experiential marketing is the process by which this primarily occurs since the examples of the malls and movie theatres all show that experience creation has been utilized for decades as a means to draw customers in so that they can buy products and patronize services21.

Analyzing the Concept of Customer Experience

If a person without any work experience whatsoever were to enter into the retail industry as a sales clerk, one of the first lessons that they would learn is the concept of the customer experience.

This concept is based on the fact that a customer that experiences exemplary service, a professional work attitude from employees and is treated as a person and not just as a mere figure on an accounting sheet is more likely to come back and shop again at the same location22.

It is due to this that the focus of most retail companies today is enhancing the customer service through store design, customer relations, rules and regulations as well as constant change in order to meet the needs of a variety of customers.

The aspect of store design in a customer’s experience all deals with the aesthetic point of view that is perceived by the customer23. It is a well known fact that people are more likely to do business with an outlet if it looks aesthetically pleasing versus another outlet that may have cheaper prices but is aesthetically demeaning.

The fact of the matter is humans, more often than not, choose aesthetics over any perceived savings they may accrue from purchasing from an aesthetically inappropriate location24.

The basis for this trend in aesthetics is human psychology which has stated that people have a propensity to congregate around areas that are more aesthetically pleasing than those that are not. This is proven by the fact that most people prefer taking walks in a spacious well kept park rather the nearest junkyard or landfill.

As such, based on aesthetics, the overall appearance of a shop is then created as a result of what designers perceive to be an attractive design for a customer that compliments the type of product being sold25.

Examples of such incidences are apparent in the state of the numerous stores at malls that each have their own unique design that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and are meant to draw customers in.

Another aspect of customer relations involves the use of customer services skills in order to create an atmosphere wherein customers are assisted by employees in a friendly professional manner, assisting the customer with whatever it is they need help with and creating an atmosphere where the customer feels at ease26.

Numerous retail outlets such as Gap, Levi’s, Dolce & Gabanna as well as a variety of other brand name stores take it upon themselves to constantly train their employees in proper customer service skills in order to create better customers relations with their consumers27.

The best result of such an action is patronage on the part of the customer towards the store for the great customer relations experience that the store was able to give28.

Taking these factors into consideration, it can be seen that the domain of appealing to customer experience is not the sole property of experiential marketing; rather, it has been present through the development of aesthetic designs and proper customer service which have been the mainstay of product retailers for hundreds of years29.

As such, based on all the examples given, it can be stated that appealing to a customer’s emotions and rational behaviour is nothing new and has been a part of marketing ever since its inception30.

The concept of experiential marketing has merely been more adept at bringing to light what was already obvious to many marketing professionals.

Conclusion

Overall, it can be stated that there is a need to understand the buying experience from the consumer’s perspectives for future studies. This involves understanding how consumers react to and make sense of the buying experience and how they interact with the buying environment created by companies.

The fact of the matter is buying experiences were created for the express purpose of making money off of consumers. If consumer attitudes towards them are properly understood, the more likely corporations are able to make money off of them.

It is within this context that this paper concludes that experiential marketing is nothing more than a passing fad in the current realm of marketing literature.

Bibliography

Anggie, C, & Haryanto, J, ‘Analysis of the Effect of Olfactory, Approach Behavior, and Experiential Marketing toward Purchase Intention’, Gadjah Mada International Journal Of Business, vol. 14, no. 1, 2012, pp. 85-101

Bulearca, M, & Tamarjan, D, ‘Augmented Reality: A Sustainable Marketing Tool?’, Global Business & Management Research, vol. 2, no. 2/3, 2010, pp. 237-252

Cannenterre, J, Mou, N, Moul, S, Bernadac, M, & Ghor, A, ‘How do companies innovate and attract consumers through experiential marketing?’, Scientific Research & Education In The Air Force – AFASES, vol. 1, 2012, pp. 29-38

”Experiential marketing risks attracting the wrong crowd”, Media: Asia’s Media & Marketing Newspaper, vol. 2, no. 3, 2008, p. 14

Glickman, B, ‘Bring back the bash: 5 new rules for experiential and event marketing’, Public Relations Tactics, vol. 18, no. 7, 2011, p. 10

Hackley, C, & Tiwsakul, R, ‘Entertainment Marketing and Experiential Consumption’, Journal Of Marketing Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 2006, pp. 63-75,

Hart, L, & Mrad, S, ‘Student-led Consulting Projects Succeed as Experiential Learning Tool for MBA Marketing Strategy’, Business Education Innovation Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 75-85

Hyejune, P, Heejin, L, & Youn-Kyung, K, ‘Experiential value: Application to innovative consumer technology products’, Journal Of Customer Behaviour, vol. 12, no. 1, 2013, pp. 7-24,

Kuang-Hsun, T, & Kun-Huang, Y, ‘The Impact of Experiential Marketing and Qualia on the Brand Image, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: With the Digital Camera as an Example. (English)’, Marketing Review / Xing Xiao Ping Lun, vol. 9, no. 2, 2012, pp. 161-179

Lee, T, & Chang, Y, ‘The influence of experiential marketing and activity involvement on the loyalty intentions of wine tourists in Taiwan’, Leisure Studies, vol. 31, no. 1, 2012, pp. 103-121

Leighton, D, ”Step back in time and live the legend’: experiential marketing and the heritage sector’, International Journal Of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing, vol. 12, no. 2, 2007, pp. 117-125

Luo, M, Chen, J, Ching, R, & Liu, C, ‘An examination of the effects of virtual experiential marketing on online customer intentions and loyalty’, Service Industries Journal, vol. 31, no. 13, 2011, pp. 2163-2191

Maddox, K, ‘Survey shines spotlight on ‘experiential marketing”, B To B, vol. 91, no. 10, 2006, pp. 4-38,

Maher, J, ‘Students’ attitudes toward the experiential marketing research project: An exploratory investigation of the impact of reality’, AMA Winter Educators’ Conference Proceedings, vol. 14, 2003, p. 299

Mehta, K, ‘Experiential Marketing – A radical new idea for the Indian Disability Sector’, Aweshkar Research Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, 2013, p. 10

Miller, R, & Washington, K, ‘Part XIII: Consumer marketing: Chapter 89: Event & experiential marketing’, Consumer Behaviour, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 515-517

Ming-Shing, L, Huey-Der, H, & Ming-Fen, Y, ‘The study of the relationships among experiential marketing, service quality, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty’, International Journal Of Organizational Innovation, vol. 3, no. 2, 2010, pp. 352-378

Munoz, C, & Huser, A, ‘Experiential and Cooperative Learning: Using a Situation Analysis Project in Principles of Marketing’, Journal Of Education For Business, vol. 83, no. 4, 2008, pp. 214-220

Pathak, S, ‘It’s not just events anymore’, Advertising Age, vol. 85, no. 5, 2014, p. 12

Schmitt, B, ‘Experiential Marketing’, Journal Of Marketing Management, vol. 15, no. 3, 1999, pp. 53-67

Senthil, M, Chandrasekar, K, & Selvabaskar, S, ‘”Experiential Retailing” as a Strategic Tool for Retail Store Differentiation and Brand Association – A Conceptual Approach’, SIES Journal Of Management, vol. 8, no. 1, 2012, pp. 92-102,

Seo, Y, ‘Electronic sports: A new marketing landscape of the experience economy’, Journal Of Marketing Management, vol. 29, no. 13/14, 2013, pp. 1542-1560

Sheng-Hshiung, T, Yi-Ti, C, & Chih-Hung, W, ‘The Visitors Behavioral Consequences of Experiential Marketing: An Empirical Study on Taipei Zoo’, Journal Of Travel & Tourism Marketing, vol. 21, no. 1, 2006, pp. 47-64

Shobeiri, S, Laroche, M, & Mazaheri, E, ‘Shaping e-retailer’s website personality: The importance of experiential marketing’, Journal Of Retailing & Consumer Services, vol. 20, no. 1, 2013, pp. 102-110

Srinivasan, S, & Srivastava, R, ‘Creating the futuristic retail experience through experiential marketing: Is it possible? An exploratory study’, Journal Of Retail & Leisure Property, vol. 9, no. 3, 2010, pp. 193-199

Suh, T, Bae, M, Zhao, H, Kim, S, & Arnold, M, ‘A multi-level investigation of international marketing projects: The roles of experiential knowledge and creativity on performance’, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 39, no. 2, 2010, pp. 211-220

Vila-López, N, & Rodríguez-Molina, M, ‘Event-brand transfer in an entertainment service: experiential marketing’, Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 113, no. 6, 2013, pp. 712-731

Wooldridge, B, ‘The power of perception an active/experiential learning exercise for principles of marketing’, Marketing Education Review, vol. 16, no. 2, 2006, pp. 5-7

Wynd, WR, ‘An Experiential Approach to Marketing Education’, Journal Of Marketing Education, vol. 11, no. 2, 1989, p. 64

Zainuddin, N, Previte, J, & Russell-Bennett, R, ‘A social marketing approach to value creation in a well-women’s health service’, Journal Of Marketing Management, vol. 27, no. 3/4, 2011, pp. 361-385

Footnotes

1 C Munoz & A Huser, ‘Experiential and Cooperative Learning: Using a Situation Analysis Project in Principles of Marketing’, Journal Of Education For Business, vol. 83, no. 4, 2008, pp. 214-220

2 M Bulearca & D Tamarjan, ‘Augmented Reality: A Sustainable Marketing Tool?’, Global Business & Management Research, vol. 2, no. 2/3, 2010, pp. 237-252

3 P Hyejune, L Heejin & K Youn-Kyung, ‘Experiential value: Application to innovative consumer technology products’, Journal Of Customer Behaviour, vol. 12, no. 1, 2013, pp. 7-24,

4 Y Seo, ‘Electronic sports: A new marketing landscape of the experience economy’, Journal Of Marketing Management, vol. 29, no. 13/14, 2013, pp. 1542-1560

5 T Lee & Y Chang, ‘The influence of experiential marketing and activity involvement on the loyalty intentions of wine tourists in Taiwan’, Leisure Studies, vol. 31, no. 1, 2012, pp. 103-121

6 M Wooldridge, ‘The power of perception an active/experiential learning exercise for principles of marketing’, Marketing Education Review, vol. 16, no. 2, 2006, pp. 5-7

7 B Glickman, ‘Bring back the bash: 5 new rules for experiential and event marketing’, Public Relations Tactics, vol. 18, no. 7, 2011, p. 10

8 C Hackley & R Tiwsakul, ‘Entertainment Marketing and Experiential Consumption’, Journal Of Marketing Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 2006, pp. 63-75,

9 T Kuang-Hsun & Y Kun-Huang, ‘The Impact of Experiential Marketing and Qualia on the Brand Image, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: With the Digital Camera as an Example. (English)’, Marketing Review / Xing Xiao Ping Lun, vol. 9, no. 2, 2012, pp. 161-179

10 S Srinivasan & R Srivastava, ‘Creating the futuristic retail experience through experiential marketing: Is it possible? An exploratory study’, Journal Of Retail & Leisure Property, vol. 9, no. 3, 2010, pp. 193-199

11 R Miller & K Washington, ‘Part XIII: Consumer marketing: Chapter 89: Event & experiential marketing’, Consumer Behaviour, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 515-517

12 K Maddox, ‘Survey shines spotlight on ‘experiential marketing”, B To B, vol. 91, no. 10, 2006, pp. 4-38

13 C Anggie & J Haryanto, ‘Analysis of the Effect of Olfactory, Approach Behavior, and Experiential Marketing toward Purchase Intention’, Gadjah Mada International Journal Of Business, vol. 14, no. 1, 2012, pp. 85-101

14 T Sheng-Hshiung, C Yi-Ti & W Chih-Hung, ‘The Visitors Behavioral Consequences of Experiential Marketing: An Empirical Study on Taipei Zoo’, Journal Of Travel & Tourism Marketing, vol. 21, no. 1, 2006, pp. 47-64

15 ‘Experiential marketing risks attracting the wrong crowd’, Media: Asia’s Media & Marketing Newspaper, vol. 2, no. 3, 2008, p. 14

16 N Zainuddin, J Previte & R Russell-Bennett, ‘A social marketing approach to value creation in a well-women’s health service’, Journal Of Marketing Management, vol. 27, no. 3/4, 2011, pp. 361-385

17 K Mehta, ‘Experiential Marketing – A radical new idea for the Indian Disability Sector’, Aweshkar Research Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, 2013, p. 10

18 J Maher, ‘Students’ attitudes toward the experiential marketing research project: An exploratory investigation of the impact of reality’, AMA Winter Educators’ Conference Proceedings, vol. 14, 2003, p. 299

19 M Senthil, K Chandrasekar & S Selvabaskar, ‘Experiential Retailing’ as a Strategic Tool for Retail Store Differentiation and Brand Association – A Conceptual Approach’, SIES Journal Of Management, vol. 8, no. 1, 2012, pp. 92-102

20 L Hart & S Mrad, ‘Student-led Consulting Projects Succeed as Experiential Learning Tool for MBA Marketing Strategy’, Business Education Innovation Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 75-85

21 M Luo, J Chen, R Ching & C Liu, ‘An examination of the effects of virtual experiential marketing on online customer intentions and loyalty’, Service Industries Journal, vol. 31, no. 13, 2011, pp. 2163-2191

22 D Leighton, ‘Step back in time and live the legend’: experiential marketing and the heritage sector’, International Journal Of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing, vol. 12, no. 2, 2007, pp. 117-125

23 N Vila-López & M Rodríguez-Molina, ‘Event-brand transfer in an entertainment service: experiential marketing’, Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 113, no. 6, 2013, pp. 712-731

24 T Suh, M Bae, H Zhao, S Kim & M Arnold, ‘A multi-level investigation of international marketing projects: The roles of experiential knowledge and creativity on performance’, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 39, no. 2, 2010, pp. 211-220

25 L Ming-Shing, H Huey-Der & Y Ming-Fen, ‘The study of the relationships among experiential marketing, service quality, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty’, International Journal Of Organizational Innovation, vol. 3, no. 2, 2010, pp. 352-378

26 WR Wynd, ‘An Experiential Approach to Marketing Education’, Journal Of Marketing Education, vol. 11, no. 2, 1989, p. 64

27 S Shobeiri, M Laroche & E Mazaheri, ‘Shaping e-retailer’s website personality: The importance of experiential marketing’, Journal Of Retailing & Consumer Services, vol. 20, no. 1, 2013, pp. 102-110

28 S Pathak, ‘It’s not just events anymore’, Advertising Age, vol. 85, no. 5, 2014, p. 12

29 J Cannenterre, N Mou, S Moul, M Bernadac & A Ghor, ‘How do companies innovate and attract consumers through experiential marketing?’, Scientific Research & Education In The Air Force – AFASES, vol. 1, 2012, pp. 29-38

30 B Schmitt, ‘Experiential Marketing’, Journal Of Marketing Management, vol. 15, no. 3, 1999, pp. 53-67

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