Customers no longer simply want to purchase a product from your business and walk away satisfied.  They are looking for a value-added experience that goes beyond the tangible. They are looking for a relationship with your brand that provides them with a meaningful experience that transcends the purely material aspects of a product or service.  What has been dubbed the experience economy is now a fact of life in developed economies around the world. Whether this phenomenon is the result of a demographic shift or a structural change in the global economy is irrelevant. What you need to worry about is how you can benefit from this change and use it to the advantage of your business.

What Is The Experience Economy and How Does it Differ From The Service Economy?

The experience economy refers to the need for contemporary businesses to focus on their customers’ experiences rather than merely the products and services they provide.  If done effectively, the customer experience can constitute the product itself.  Experiences are now something that you can sell, and this has been true for some time now. For example, Airbnb has started offering experiences as well as accommodations on their platform.

Distinct from the service economy, which in the simplest of terms is defined as an economy where the primary economic activity is the provision of services rather than the production of goods, the rise of the experience economy suggests that consumers are largely satisfied and satiated with the amount and quality of the goods you offer. Now, they are looking for something different and bigger that will satisfy their need for a good life and contains meaningful and memorable experiences, or support a higher cause they believe in and want to be a part of.

This is especially true of younger consumers, namely millennials, who have had enough of material things.  This generation does not feel the need to own possessions, but instead, they want to have more experiences and live life to the fullest, without burdening themselves with the responsibilities that come with owning things such as houses and cars.  Success is no longer measured by their possessions but by the amount and the quality of their experiences.  After all, we are the sum of our experiences. The rise in digital nomadism and people who are no longer conforming to a traditional lifestyle but are instead opting to work remotely and travel the world are showing this desire to live life to the fullest, have as many experiences as possible and not be driven by material possessions. 

The Customer Experience

Focusing on the customer experience can be done in two primary ways that are closely related. Both methods revolve around boosting your customers’ engagement with your business.

First, eliciting participation from your customers is one part of the strategy. For example, getting your customers to text your business or interact with you through contests or surveys can provide you with insights into what your customers want.  It is also important to give your customers the impression that by soliciting your brand they are part of something larger or are contributing to the development of your brand in some way.

Therefore, you need to take customer opinions, suggestions, and advice into account. The idea now needs to be that you are creating your brand with your customers as part of the process. Having a customer loyalty program with positive reinforcement for contributing and participating is still a good thing to provide in the experience economy as well.

Responding positively to customer participation leads to the next point, connecting with your customers is equally important. Connections are best forged by creating spaces for meaningful dialogue with your users and clients. This can involve responding to questions and comments left on social media platforms.  It can also include posting regular high-quality content, ideally video-based content, to boost your online profile.

Make sure that you have open lines of communication on all the major social media networks.  Connecting is all about having a two-way conversation with your customers and showing them what you are all about and that you care about them. 

Marketing In The Experience Economy: Creating Value-added Experiences

Taking the changes and opportunities represented by the experience economy is essential when designing an effective marketing strategy these days. If you want your business to be successful in a world where people expectvalue-added experiences, it is important to pay attention to what your customers want. The fact that customers are expecting more from you than before is not a negative drain on your business but rather an opportunity to build loyalty and foster a long-term relationship with every customer you interact with.

Your engagement with your customers also needs to flow through all available formats. These include both the digital and material worlds. Do not stick to just one medium with your message but look to expand your marketing to be as prominent as possible in the public eye.

Leveraging technology is one of the first things your business needs to do in order to embrace the experience economy. With more people checking their phones and consuming content on the internet than ever before, the opportunities for adding experiences to customers looking for memorable moments are greater than ever before.

Personalizing the experience that your customer has with your brand is also an important point to consider. With more access to customer data than ever before, using analytical tools to pinpoint precisely what each customer wants will give you opportunities to cater tothe experiences you offer accordingly.

Make sure that the things you promise to your customers are always upheld as well.  Failing to follow through on what your brand promises to do is a sure way to lose the interest and trust of your customer base. 

Create A Memorable Experience

If you do not provide your customers with a memorable experience in this environment, they are likely to leave and look elsewhere. Research shows that more than half of consumers will leave brands for reasons that have nothing to do with the price or features of a product but rather due to poor customer experience.

Especially if you are building your brand in a competitive niche or industry, you need to differentiate your products from those of other companies by making a memorable experience for your customers. Implement the strategies outlined here and get to work on giving your customers what they want.