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Destination Branding - What Is Experiential Marketing?

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Today's marketplaces are cluttered with wide range of products and services offered, which are heavily packed with diverse marketing efforts in place to persuade and attract consumers. Brands are now confronted with the challenge to differentiate themselves, create connections and stimulate greater emotions in consumers. Furthermore, companies within tourism industry are operating in a sector where there are very heavy competitions, and the bargaining power of customers is very high. This has made it necessary for organisations to focus more on finding effective marketing approaches to reach target market. In order to promote destinations in tourism industry, principles and actions of traditional marketing are not sufficient enough anymore. Consequently, what will be a more effective way to attract potential customers in the competitive marketplaces? To make selected destination, Bangkok, Thailand, to have a great success, the marketers must build lasting relationship with the customers through an implementation of experiential marketing as a tool to achieve competitive advantages.

What is Experiential Marketing

You can imagine about Scotland when you hear the music from the bagpipes. When you picture of Africa Safari by the sound of drums being played, and the Alps through the French horn. You can suddenly get into the mood for movies through the smell of popcorn. As well as, the scent of coconut that tends to be associated to sunny day during summer holiday, white beach and deep blue sea.

What do all these things lead you to?

Experiential marketing was derived from the concept of experience economy as part of work introduced by Pine and Gilmore (1999). Pine and Gilmore (1999) stated, "When a person buys a service, he purchases a set of intangible activities carried out on his behalf. But when he buys an experience, he pays to spend time enjoying a series of memorable events that a company stages to engage him in personal way". Experiential marketing focuses on making a personalized connection by using both rational and emotional to drive the decision-making and consumption (Shenh-Hshiung, Yi-Ti, & Chih-Hung, 2006).

Experiential marketing consists of five different types of experiences, which are sensory experiences (sense), emotional experiences (feel), cognitive experiences (think), behavioural experiences (act), and relational experiences (relate) elements that replace or enhance product values (Schmitt, 1999b).


According to Lindstorm and Kotler (2005), people perceive the world through all their senses simultaneously, so the more sensory an experience, the more engaging it will be. In order to build awareness and motivation among customers, marketing communication should not only appeal to the visuals, but also to all five senses. Smell, hearing, touch, taste and sight must be stimulated, so that the communicated message can be perceived as valuable, exciting, and interesting (Schmitt, 1999b).


Feeling marketing focuses on committed persuade affect that line within the company and its brand. It is about inner feelings and emotions of the consumers in which the business targets to create greater emotional experiences (Schmitt, 1999b). Organisation must be able to realise of how important to apply the right stimulations that can trigger emotions and encourage in the customers' consumption habit (Chih-Yun, 2009). Therefore, positive or negative feeling toward products or services will influence the extent to which they will be consumed.


The objective of think marketing is to encourage customers to engage in cognitive thinking and solve problems for customers through the use of innovative method, which it then may result in a more concerned on re-evaluation of the company and its products and services (Schmitt, 1999b). Thinking marketing demands come through surprise, interest, and attract consumers to think and concentrate.


Act marketing focuses on increase physical experiences to show customers the replacement for lifestyles, interaction, and enrich their lives (Schmitt, 1999b). The goal of act marketing is to influence customers' tangible experience for long-term behaviour and lifestyles in favour of the particular products or services (Chih-Yun, 2009). When customers are engage in an experiential environment actively, some emotions are triggered.


Relate marketing includes sensations, feelings, cognitions, and actions (Schmitt, 1999b). However, relate marketing bypass the individuals' personality, personal feelings, recognition, and action levels, thus relating the individuals to something outside their private stale (Schmitt, 1999b). In other words, relate marketing usually appeal to demand on self-improvement of personal desires, and to be perceived positively by others in order to show favourable feelings to connect people with a wider social system (Schmitt, 1999b). Furthermore, a strong and powerful brand relationship and brand group could be built upon.

Experiential Marketing VS Traditional Marketing

The principles and concepts of traditional marketing are to promote the value of the products, describe the behaviour of consumers, and competitive activity in the marketplaces (Hsiu-Jung, 2009). Traditional marketing is used to develop new products, plan product lines and brands, design communications, and respond to competitive activities (Annica & Alakoski, 2009). It concentrates on mass communication in which consumers are viewed as rational decision makers who concern about features and benefits of the products and services (Schmitt, 1999a). Generally, traditional marketing tends to overemphasize on the usage of the visual, print media, as well as sounds as promotional methods. In addition, it focuses on persuasion and encouraging customers to purchase the products and services, and pay little attention on what happen after purchasing (Chih-Yun, 2009).

Whereas, experiential marketing describes marketing ideas that give consumers in dept, tangible experiences in order to provide them with sufficient information to make purchase decision (Gautier, 2003). Experiential marketing believes that the most powerful influence takes place between the stages of after-purchase, real usage, and experiencing. It is normally focus on customer experiences that provide sensory, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and relational values at the same time. These values replace the functional values traditional marketers concentrate



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