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Experiential Marketing Must-Reads

There are a million books about advertising and marketing, including classics like Ogilvy on Advertising and Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and Robert Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook. However, experiential marketing is a growing niche that deserves dedicated space on your bookshelf as more brands find that integrating the customer into the selling experience creates longer lasting memories and bonds. Here are some experiential marketing must-reads:

Experiential Marketing; Secrets, Strategies, and Success Stories from the Greatest Brands by Kerry Smith and Dan Hanover is the book that comes up most on top 5 or 10 lists of books under this subject. In addition to recounting the history of the subject, they also go into the psychology of the event design, habits of successful experiential brands, how to combine digital and social media, and how to convert from passive to interactive marketing strategies.

Experiential Marketing: A Practical Guide to Interactive Brand Experiences by Shirra Smilansky is just that: practical. For both B2B and B2C businesses, Smilansky discusses how to create lasting and authentic connections with the brand customer base and discusses the changing landscape of retail (retail isn’t dead; boring retail is dead!), provides ample case studies, and provides an accessible methodology for the reader to emulate.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath is another in the canon of the Heath brothers books that is educational and entertaining. Able to synthesize complex ideas in behavioral economics from researchers like Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky with real world examples and storytelling, the Heath brothers focus their attentions on our attention and why certain moments matter to us more than others and why. This is more of a why book than a how to, but since many great ventures start with “why?”, understanding the foundation can only help lead to a stronger outcome.

An open book with butterflies flying out from between the pages.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger dispels the myth that online is the only place to be. Most word of mouth is generated person-to-person with influencers also taking up some of the slack of online and advertising muscle. Berger talks about how to make your product go viral and how to generate better word of mouth.

Designing Experiences by J. Robert Rossman and Matthew D. Duerden is a comprehensive look at experiential design and theory. With discussions on cognitive behavioral concepts and real world frameworks on what makes an event successful and fulfilling, the book provides tools on how to actualize ideas from brainstorming to execution.

The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money. This must-read experiential marketing book by B. Joseph Pine II explores how solid brands evoke more emotional and visceral connections than just images of logos or goods. They delve into how experiential marketing can help foster longer lasting customer loyalty which, in turn, improves a company’s bottom line. We now live in a world where people watch 30 second TikTok videos or listen to three hour Joe Rogan podcasts. Attention can be fleeting and creating immersive experiences is vital to combatting distraction.

PopUP CleanUP has worked with numerous experiential marketing firms from NCompass International to BeCore to Game7 to create branding activations that are healthy, safe, and beautiful for their guests and customers. We are more than cleaners. We are a part of your team.

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