Memorable Customer Experiences: A Research Anthology

Willemijn van Dolen (University of Amsterdam Business School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 2 August 2011




van Dolen, W. (2011), "Memorable Customer Experiences: A Research Anthology", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 393-393.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The book covers the subject of experiential marketing in a consumer context. The editors have presented a very timely and well‐structured collection of papers that discuss different perspectives of the topic. The objective of this book is to explore the challenges within the scope of the subject rather than to provide a “one‐size‐fits‐all” approach to create memorable customer experiences.

The book starts with an introduction (pp. 1‐5) in which the editors provide a clear summary of each chapter, followed by 16 chapters organised into six sections. The first section, covering two chapters, discusses the conceptual foundations of experiential marketing. It focuses on the core debate whether experiential marketing is another format of traditional marketing or a new marketing practice. The next section, covering four chapters, illustrates how modern businesses create memorable experiences in the context of branding and brand communities. The third section consists of three chapters and turns the focus to a normative understanding of how customer experiences should be designed. Part four of the book explores another managerial question, namely how companies strategically manage customer experiences. Section five discusses challenges in the evaluation of customer experiences, for example with respect to the validity of self‐reported emotions. The book ends with a concluding section addressing the critiques regarding experiential marketing such as the neglect of the business reality in everyday service encounters.

The editors demonstrate experiential marketing in various contexts, including package tours, magazine shops, universities, automobiles and restaurants. Furthermore, the chapters and examples discuss a variety of elements that are of influence in experiential marketing such as authenticity, emotions, scents, surprises and luxury. This provides a comprehensive illustration of the various issues in this field. It is notable that the editors also discuss the methodological issues as well as a critical reflection on experience marketing by Brown and Holbrook highlighting the pitfalls of the current practices and the fact that experiential marketing may not be successfully applied in just any context.

Although the art of delivering memorable experiences is thorough and convincing throughout the book, the examples and focus lean toward brand management and retailing. It would have been insightful and interesting as other recent developments such as new technology and the integrated model of online and offline experiences would have been covered. Some chapters include online material such as the work by Loewenfeld and Killan on brand communities. However, the book overlooks the research on computer‐mediated environment and the subsequent societal and behavioural changes resulting from the growing impact of the online channel. Another topic that might have been an added value to the book is corporate or individual social responsibility. For example, could experiential marketing be a useful way to involve consumers in more responsible consumption?

Notwithstanding the above, the book is unreservedly recommended to both academics and practitioners. The editors' intention to provoke further thoughts and actions on understanding and developing experiential marketing is successfully achieved.

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