Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SoHo ExperiMENTAL? What’s That?

ME: Experiential. It’s SoHo ExperiENTIAL.

MOST PEOPLE I MEET: ExperiENTIAL? What’s that?

ME: Like experience. It’s an adjective pertaining to experience.

MPIM: Experiential.

ME: Yep. Take the word experience, drop the CE, and add TIAL to the end.

MPIM: Gotcha. SoHo Experiential.

ME: Yep.

MPIM. Cool… What’s that?

This is an excerpt from nearly every conversation that I have had with anyone I meet that asks me what I do. I tell them about our agency, explaining that we produce consumer experiences that create connections between consumers and brands. They seem intrigued, but this idea still doesn’t quite resonate without some examples. I mention the different types of events that we produce, and it usually isn’t until I mention a common sampling scenario - women handing out free drinks in a bar - that I get a few head nods.

“Ohhhh… ExperIENTIAL!”

As best as I can tell, the idea of experiential marketing seems to have just recently become mainstream among marketers, so I figure we still have a decade or two before a Experiential Marketing is as commonly understood by the general public as Law, Dentistry, or PHP Ninja. That’s a real job – look it up.

On occasion I meet someone who is interested in how an agency works, how we pitch clients, win business, etc. I enrich them with how an agency responds to RFPs, networks with potential clients, and pitches a lot of work on spec. I speak of fitting programs into small client budgets, squeezing margins, and the necessities of executing a test program. I try to explain the common practice of provide clients efficiencies of scale, even when a program is... well... not being executed to scale.

“So… how do you… uhmm…”

“Make Money?” I say, “Well… it’s like fishing… sometimes you won’t catch anything, sometimes you will catch a little one, and on occasion you’ll land a prize winner… but the bait always costs the same.”

I guess you have to like fishing if you are in the agency world.

I recently came across a video that I think perfectly elucidates the agency world and our relationship with clients, in real-world terms that everyone can understand.

All you agency folks should enjoy… clients, maybe not so much ;-)

Until next time!



  1. Try explaining how you are an event manager for an experiential marketing company ;-) I've given up trying to explain what I "do"...I can't even use the term "mobile marketing" any more because evidently now that defines marketing/advertising/promotions via wireless devices???! Maybe I should just tell people I'm a pimp...no explanation necessary.

  2. Funny Joe. Sometimes I go with astronaut... you get some nice reactions there too.