Experiential Discourse in Marketing

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Experiential Discourse in Marketing

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Title: Experiential Discourse in Marketing
A Methodical Inquiry Into Practice and Theory
Author: Kahle, Lynn
Abstract: The subject of this thesis is the experiential discourse in marketing: how experience is researched by scholars as well as understood and delivered by practitioners. While experience-based approaches have been accepted and implemented by consultants, scholars have yet to comprehensively embrace experience as an academically robust concept (Holbrook, 2007; Palmer, 2010). An experiential perspective seeks to delve deeper into cognitive and emotional levels concerning consumption (Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982). In order to gain insight into the intricacies of experience, a large data set consisting of conference speeches and interviews was qualitatively analyzed, applying content analysis (Kassarjian, 1977). The findings reveal that there are many lessons to be learned about how practitioners design and deliver experiential offers. Compared to the cases often cited as part of the experience economy, which are typically manifested in retail environments, consumer products and staged events, the findings reveal a more nuanced discourse and a broader range of experience offerings representing many industries, including: hospitality, software, documentary film making, science, gaming, banking, and environmental design. The data shed light on several aspects worthy of further research. How an experience adds value, supports values, and is meaningful to the user is crucial. Understanding a user’s goals is important in order to be able to design appropriate interaction touch points yet allow fluid engagement. In addition to shaping experience environments, whether physical or virtual, the findings reveal that practitioners exhibit an astute sensitivity to context and process. Moreover they are concerned with affording “flow,” meaning optimal experiences (Csikszentmihalyi, 2003): not only for users but also for themselves. The focus on purposeful activity and change suggests that experience is part of an innovation discourse, potentially creating better offers and relationships. This resonates with academic and business communities alike.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8408
Date: 2012-02

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