Experiential Marketing: what it is and how to use it to attract customers

Experiential marketing is aimed not only at selling the product but also at the resulting experience. The focus of this particular type of marketing shifts from a product economy to one based on consumer impressions: we no longer sell shoes, for example, but the resulting idea of well-being.

Therefore, it is not the functional and rational characteristics of a service that determine its success, but the intensity of the experiences that it will be able to offer.

In this regard, social platforms make it possible to extend the virality of advertising campaigns and allow customers to share their experiences related to a specific product with others.

Today it is very important to have the technical knowledge of social platforms that are always constantly updated. The Course in Web Marketing and Social Media Marketing Course are the best choice to have the necessary skills for the online presence of your business.

Now let’s take a closer look at what experiential marketing means and how it can help you grow your business.

What is experiential marketing

In recent years, with the growth and diffusion of social media marketing and web marketing, there has been an interest on the part of companies to involve users from an emotional point of view. This trend has changed the way of interpreting marketing, therefore we have come to have an experiential marketing approach to promote the experiences that a brand can make the consumer feel.

According to Schmitt, one of the leading customer experience experts, an experience is an event that occurs following a stimulation. This experience can involve the consumer on a personal level in the very act of consumption. The goal of the brand is to create full-immersion branded experiences that stimulate positive emotions in consumers.

It is therefore necessary to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and personally test the product for sale. According to Schmitt’s thesis, the multidimensional nature of experiences is classified into:

  • sense,
  • feel,
  • think,
  • act,
  • relate.

5 Key Elements of Experiential Marketing

Each of these categories has its structure and process which constitute the objectives of experiential marketing policies. Again according to Schmitt, putting all five characteristics together in promotional offers makes the customer experience much more effective. Let’s see in detail what they consist of and some examples of brands that have used them.

experiential marketing characteristics


Sense is a type of marketing that aims to create sensory experiences through the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. A concrete example of the use of sense marketing is that of the Italian coffee house, Illy.

“delight consumers from all over the world with an excellent coffee and an extraordinary experience that involves the senses and the spirit” (corporate mission – Illy)

In 1998 Illy founded Aromalab, a laboratory aimed at studying the chemical-physical processes underlying the aroma of coffee – smell

He began to collaborate directly with the farmers, to optimize the taste of coffee – taste

It also offers collections of cups designed by various artists – view


Feel marketing refers to the inner feelings of customers. the aim is to create effective experiences. It is precisely during consumption that most of the emotions are felt. With traditional emotional advertising, it is not possible to fully stimulate these emotions because the consumer’s feelings are not addressed directly.

For the success of this type of experiential marketing, you need to start by understanding what are the stimuli that arouse certain emotions.

By offering the possibility of fully experiencing the spaces visited and thus establishing immediate contact with visitors. After the visit, the main feeling that the visitor brings with him is that of wonder and amazement.


Think marketing is what creates a cognitive experience. Consumers are stimulated from a creative point of view to decode the advertising campaign and understand the message. This type of marketing is mainly used for technological products, product design, and corporate communication.

types of marketing

A very good example is that of a few years ago produced by Volkswagen to launch the new Polo. The commercial filmed a group of policemen who, after getting out of their car, went to take cover behind a Volkswagen Polo. Naturally, the message that we wanted to convey was that of the sturdiness of the new Polo and to underline the difference from all the other cars.


The act is a type of marketing that aims to involve body experiences and lifestyles. This approach aims to improve the lives of consumers by showing alternative lifestyles and ways of acting. Famous actors or athletes are often used to provoke emotional experiences of a motivational nature. Nike’s “Just do it” campaign is one example. With star athletes in action, it transforms exercise into an enjoyable physical experience.


Relate marketing includes all aspects of experiential marketing: sense, feel, think, and act, connecting consumers with other individuals and other cultures. Two examples of excellence are the American ‘Harley Davidson and the Italian Smemoranda.

Harley Davidson is no longer just a motorcycle brand, it has become a way of life. Its fans consider Harley products part of their identity. As for Smemoranda, the brand has managed to transform a simple agenda into an object through which one’s personal and cultural identity is built. Through emotions, thoughts, and dedication noted on it, we relate to others.

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Types of experience according to Pine and Gilmore

Pine and Gimore argue that we have entered the fourth era of economics, that of experiential manufacturing. It follows the economics of raw materials (first era), the economics of the production of goods (second era), and the economy of the production of services (third era).

This means that in the current era, goods and services are no longer enough and alone are not enough to ensure that consumers are satisfied and gratified. There is therefore a need to produce experiences that derive from acts of consumption.

For Pine and Gilmore, experiences can be:

  • entertainment: one passively absorbs what is happening through the senses (listening to music )
  • educational: you experience the events by actively participating in them with your body or mind (training area)
  • aesthetics: one physically immerses oneself in an event but remains passive (visiting an exhibition)
  • evasion: you participate actively (the casino)

Storytelling and the consumer experience

Marketers pay close attention to storytelling, used in experiential consumption. Customers who identify with a story create strong connections with the brand: rather than listening to stories, we like to be personally involved in them. The best stories are believable, have personality, are about characters we root for, and include a beginning, middle, and end. The consumer needs storytelling, to verify the authenticity of the brand and understand if it is in tune with their values and aspirations.

storytelling and consumer experience

With the spread of the internet and the proliferation of information on the web, consumers are increasingly aware of what they want and what they can find on the market. This means, on the one hand, that they have more needs to satisfy, and, on the other, that they expect the products purchased to be able to meet their expectations. So we go from a consumer to a consumer actor, from a consumer to a prosumer, which is both at the same time.

On the other hand, companies also evolve and have the opportunity to get to know their customers more deeply, in an ever more direct and personal way. How? By storing and cataloging data relating to their purchases. These allow you to develop products designed ad hoc for the person, customized and specific, based on their preferences.

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Experiential and social marketing

In the case of experiential marketing, the opportunities that the web offers are many. All social networks contribute to giving visibility to advertising campaigns. But that’s not all: social platforms can make promotional messages go viral. In this way, thanks to social media marketing, events gain greater longevity, because, through sharing and comments, they allow you to talk about them before (promotion phase), during, and after.

This is why today all companies are present on social networks: to interact with users one to one and to keep customer loyalty high. Through the sharing of your messages, the achievement of the objective of each advertising campaign can be significantly increased.

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Engage and excite through social media

Social channels are a very powerful tool for your campaigns. Let’s see how to leverage them in your experiential marketing advertising.

Social media campaigns:

  • allow you to receive practically instant feedback from the customer;
  • compared to other marketing channels they are cheaper. Any company can practice web marketing strategies at more than reasonable prices;
  • good placement on the various channels allows you to promote the brand, let your mission shine through, and establish a strong bond with your consumers;
  • through social monitoring tools, you can supervise the validity of your digital marketing strategy and make changes aimed at improving it;
  • they allow you to compare your digital strategy with that of your competitors.

Here are some tips to make your advertising campaign effective:

  1. set goals and results;
  2. determine how to measure them;
  3. analyze and identify your target (who are your customers? What interests do they have?);
  4. devise a creative and impactful campaign: think of potentially viral content. The more exciting the posts, photos, and videos are, the more they will be shared;
  5. use social channels to maximize engagement (encourage sharing).

Examples of Experiential Marketing

We will now look at real examples of how experiential marketing can captivate audiences, creating authentic and lasting connections with consumers.

The Kellogg’s campaign: from the Product to the consumer experience

An example of experiential marketing applied to social media is Kellogg’s “Because of Yum” campaign. It consists of a series of 18 short films, made by Leo Burnett London, enjoyed on the main social platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. The company developed this idea to encourage people to think of cereals as a potential snack by suggesting they eat them not only in the morning for breakfast but also at other different times of the day.

“Because Yum” is very concrete, and offers followers simple recipes to make in a short time and typical occasions to enjoy them: after the gym, during school assignments, and more.

How does the campaign go viral? Users are encouraged to share photos of their dishes on their social networks.

Misereor: an example of marketing for charity

Misereor, a well-known German Catholic organization for development and collaboration, has introduced a new way of giving charity.

By placing digital billboards in airports, he has raised awareness of issues such as world hunger. In this case, a loaf of bread is displayed on the billboard, when a person inserts their credit card for a donation, the image moves as if the card were cutting a slice of bread. Subsequently, a thank you message from Misereor appears, with a link inviting you to donate the same amount every month.

The success of this campaign is the possibility to show people who give to charity where their money goes. Just a slice of bread for a family in difficulty.

Guinness: making the consumer the protagonist by creating experiences

The Guinness brand focuses on what everyone would like to try at least once in their life: luxury cars and private jets. That’s what the marketing idea was. Representatives of the brand, wearing Guinness flight uniforms, hit bars around the UK, where they surprised customers by offering them the chance to win prizes. To participate, they had to order a pint of Guinness.

Once this was done, they had to get a tablet that showed them the prize they won, which could be a passport case or a keychain and other goodies. One player per night could win the ultimate prize: a free private jet trip to Dublin with four friends. The effective idea was to associate the product, Guinness, with a customer desire, on which they have built a memorable experience.

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