Well, touché. In case you need a refresher, less than a month ago, we received our usual monthly op-ed from Huge, this time from Andrew Kessler, founder/CEO of Togather, a startup out of Huge Labs. Kessler, whose Togather operation serves as a platform that helps clients deploy event marketing programs with “the same control and measurability of a digital ad buy,” seemed to have sounded the death knell for experience marketing. Well, someone has taken issue, namely Eric Murphy, former VP of marketing/promotions at RCA Records who’s now head of his own experiential/music marketing agency, Pop2Life. Murphy has taken some issue with Kessler’s piece as you’ll see below. Carry on, sir.
“The ‘experience marketing’ trend is close to extinction.” -Andrew Kessler, founder/CEO of Togather
I’ll be honest. When I first caught wind of Kessler’s Op-Ed piece, I wanted to punch him in the face. After all, he was basically labeling the very thing that’s made my agency successful a joke … a waste of time and money. Or more specifically, nothing more
than a “dazzling physical installation,” heavy on pointless, big-budget items like “colored lights, a giant logo,” lots of “freebie swag,” and little more to measure success than a fuzzy count of gift bags and “total impressions.”
So I put on a Jason mask™, gathered a few key clients, and headed over to Kessler’s house with a truck full of colored lights and giant logos.
Actually, I channeled that initial surge of outrage into some deeper thinking about how and why someone as intelligent and successful as Andrew Kessler would conclude that the best possible outcome of experience marketing was “a large crowd … lots of
product interest … [and] photo albums of smiling fans.” (Which frankly is what a lot of brands hope to accomplish with the majority of their marketing efforts, experiential or otherwise. More on that later.)
To be fair, Kessler posed some worthwhile questions regarding the value and impact of experience marketing campaigns:
-”Are we providing the right kind of value to give us a return on brand favorability?
-”What kind of action did this drive?
-”Can we deliver an experience that also lives beyond the actual event?”
All of these are excellent questions. Every marketer worth their weight in swag should apply them to every marketing investment they make. Still, proclaiming the pending extinction of a species [of marketing] that, when done right, checks off all four boxes of the ubiquitous “AIDA” acronym (Awareness | Interest | Desire | Action) with a big fat marker seems … well … a bit un-evolved.