Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The story of how experiential marketing became a blue ocean for philosophers

1.      Wrong idea about a philosopher:
Bookworm sitting in the corner of a dusty old library reading an even dustier book.
Philosophers like most things in life come in different shapes and sizes. Contemporary philosophers, however, occupy themselves with a broad scope of current issues, from ecological thought and movements, to the European crisis, the flaws of the prison systems, sustainability, quantum physics, art, and, yes experiential marketing. Surely not everything happens inside the same head and at the same time. The point is that philosophy is a discipline deeply rooted by its interest in contemporary life.
So, why would philosophers have anything worthwhile to say about marketing?
The answer is simple: philosophers are expert communicators with a highly structured mind. Being an expert communicator means truly knowing how to persuade, how and when to use arguments and when emotional messages, and how to create structural profiles based on qualitative or incomplete information. If these skills are not enough to give them an advantage over most marketers I know, keep in mind that they have also the uncanny ability to see problems from a myriad of different angles, which can be of great help when managing teams and clients. If you ever had a client asking for something that seems entirely at odds with his own goals, no one better than a philosopher to explain why a different course of action should be taken. This ability to transform problems into reasonable silutions is fundamental, because it would allow you to, in this particular case, approach the client from his own point of view making the at times impossible task of changing someone’s mind a feasible possibility.
‘Hmm this surely doesn’t sound so bad, but you said something about ‘experiential marketing’…
 Yes! I refer to experiential marketing for one important reason. The creation of consumer experiences, whether at the level of the offering or of the marketing efforts requires for a complex network to be created with a sole aim in mind—effectiveness! The hard truth is that most people learn by doing or by trial and error, which can be extremely costly for a company and which can leave a stain on a marketing manager’s reputation.
Philosophers are not only able to envision this network, without losing track of its complexities, but they are also able to provide an additional and incredibly valuable insight on human experience itself. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not some abstract or perhaps even mystical story about the human spirit—although you may get that when you go for after work drinks. Their insight is valuable because it provides you, on the contrary, with a perspective on experience based on precisely those material means at your disposal.
A philosopher will be able to provide you with clear answer to questions such as: How do both reflection and emotion work jointly in the consumer’s mind? How can I make the messaging more persuasive without being pushy? How can I expect my customers in Latin America to react to my European campaign? Is it really worthwhile to make culture specific ads?
There are many grasping and interesting figures that will help you discover the great potential of philosophers. A few of my favorites on human experience are Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari,the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau Ponty. When it comes to understanding networks, few are as illustrative and acute as Bruno Latour is.  

Written by Daniel Vargas Gómez

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