A Brief History of Experiential Marketing

by Sep 16, 2014

When you market, you create an experience, Do it successfully and you engage your audience. When your experience is one that your target audience comes to feel comfortable with and seek out for enjoyment (other than for the brand’s original offering) you’ve successfully engaged them. Experiential marketing has slowly taken root and grown to become reputable within the marketing world. Its history has created a geometric curve of turning brands into memorable experiences.

The Beginning

In 1979, Gary M. Reynolds formed the Miller Band Network as the beginning of engagement marketing, the first moment in the history of experiential marketing. From there, the process of engaging the consumer became a more common practice with each passing year.

Moving Forward

While the concept has existed in a modern format for decades, it was not until March of 2006 when the Advertising Research Foundation defined engagement marketing. They defined the idea as “Turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context”. ARF also developed a theory and formula that by adding the number of contacts times the level of trust invested by each then adding the engagement will equal brand impact results.




In the early 21st century, TV networks even began a guarantee process that is based on experiential marketing. This spinoff method of guarantee was based on the idea that if the station built a context that let people relate to the brand, they could guarantee engagement. Consider this; Would you be more willing to watch a show based on a spinoff character from the Simpsons (also a spinoff) or just a new random cartoon? The idea of engaging people on things they are familiar with is nothing new. This guarantee has continued to this day as engagement continues to grow.

As the 21st century has continued, numerous companies have begun interlacing events, standard marketing venues, street promotionspop-up shops, buzz campaigns and every other possible angle to build on the history of experiential marketing. With so many avenues for marketing and creating an experience, marketers have more chances to help their clients and the consumer than ever before.



What the Future May Hold

Keith Ferrazzi has termed the new movement toward experiential marketing a part of the Relationship Age, which may be the successor to the Information Age. Since it’s well known that feelings are what bring about success, using technology as a way to enhance human interaction and connection is a given. As more marketers work to build experiences that encourage active participation from consumers, this is an exciting time to operate. Marketing has changed, and people are connecting to brands like they never have before through the help of experiential marketing.




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