3 Quotes from Experiential Marketing Pioneer Bernd Schmitt That Ring True Today


Experiential marketing is still a nascent approach to branding; the term itself is younger than the Cuban Missile Crisis, younger than Apple or Microsoft, and younger still than The Lion King or Pulp Fiction.


One of the very earliest pioneers of this burgeoning marketing field was Bernd H. Schmitt – currently a professor of international business at Columbia University, in New York. In 1999, Schmitt coined the term “experiential marketing” – a phrase which refers to a marketing orientation which places heavy emphasis on creating memorable brand experiences for a target audience.


It’s now been nearly two decades since the concept of experiential marketing began leaving an indelible mark on the entire field of branding. And since the past very often informs the present (and thus the future, as well), here we’ll take a look back at some of Bernd Schmitt’s quotes on experiential marketing – and provide our own 2018-esque commentary.


1. “One of the most fundamental concepts of experience marketing is that value does not only reside in the object of consumption (products and services), and in seeking out and processing information about such objects; value also lies in the experience of consumption.”


Commentary for 2018: With this statement, Schmitt adroitly defined the fundamental difference between experiential marketing and other forms of marketing. It highlights the fact that brands in the 21st century must pay just as much attention to delivering high-impact, quality experiences as they do to creating quality products and services.


2. “Another key distinction in experience marketing concerns the unusualness of the experience. Ordinary experiences occur as part of everyday life; they are routine and result, to a degree, from passive stimulation. Extraordinary experiences are more active, intense, and stylized. Extraordinary experiences have been referred to as ‘flow,’ ‘peak experiences,’ ‘epiphanies’ and ‘transcendent customer experiences.’”


Commentary for 2018: Experiential marketing is much more than just the creation of experiences for consumers; what’s important – most important, in fact – is that these experiences are starkly unusual to such a degree that they can jar the minds of consumers out of the ordinary routine of daily existence. That’s how magic is made through experiential marketing.


3. “Unexpected memory-driven effects have been reported for variety seeking of experiences as well. Traditional variety-seeking models assume that individuals choose, each day, the experience that provides the most pleasure. [More recent research] showed, however, that consumers switch away from a favorite experience even if they get less pleasure from the switch than they would from a stay. The reason for this effect seems to be that individuals favor building memories of a variety of sequences. Take the example of a vacation. A person may anticipate that the pleasure from the overall vacation, when looking back, may be greater if there is some variety.”


Commentary for 2018: Marketing leaders who intend to devote greater resources to experiential marketing campaigns must keep in mind that a rich variety of live brand experiences will usually reap greater long-term profits than executing the identical brand activations, again and again.


Think your company’s target audience deserves extraordinary brand experiences? Then get in touch with Femme Fatale Media’s experiential marketing team here. We’d love to hear more about your brand, company, and the people you serve.

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