Put in the “…ing”: Inject Value Through Experience

Joe Pine defined the Experience Economy. It all began in 1992 with the concept of Mass Customization. Now remember the world that existed in the early 90’s. The World Wide Web was still text based used by government, military and educational institutions. The Mosaic Browser had not yet been released. Email addresses were still long strings of numbers. In short, the digital world as we know it was an embryo. But Joe wrote a book entitled Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition and put his finger on the pulse of what was to become the driving force behind market differentiation and revenue growth.

Now businesses learned that somehow they have to listen to the customer and understand on multiple levels the work that a buyer needs to get done. It was not about expectations and features, like ‘faster horses.’ It was all about their day to day experience doing things. ExperienceEconIt was about grocking what lay under it all – what people were trying to accomplish and where the gap lay. It is in the gap that the creativity and innovation opportunity lies. Joe defines this as the point of sacrifice. As he describes in this interview with IN Live! – the key is to figure out the point of sacrifice, find a solution that is personal to that individual, make that solutions usable and customizable by many, and you have a runner.

Now let’s take that concept and go beyond a company and recognize it as a formative principle of economics. Enter Joe’s next book, written with Strategic Horizons co-founder James Gilmore, The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business a Stage (an updated version has just released). For the first time, what theme park, theater and film companies had been doing for decades was now being translated into an approach corporate America could adopt for enterprise and consumer products and services.
Joe explained that consumers didn’t just want to walk into a toy store. They wanted to step into the world of dolls with their own personal stories that little girls could identify with and pay for the experience – the American Girl Place. Now a 50 cent cup of coffee, could be priced 400% higher, and that was the lowest price offering. Enter Starbucks. Now a hotel room was not about a bed, bath and desk. But a fantasy world into which one enters to explore. Introducing The Library. (Joe recommends room 300.003 – the Economics Room. Guess why.) And the test for a successful, value added experience is the willingness for the consumer (client, customer) to pay, even as advance admission, for what they receive.

Joe then adds the next layer into the mixing bowl – the rise of digital technology and the endless possibilities that affords for mass customization, value creation, and the rethinking of your business on a quantum level of matter, time and space. He adds the additional dimensions of anti-matter (augmented and virtual reality plus all things digital), anti-time (asynchronous consumption and the extension of time), and anti-space (additional forms of virtual and digital consumption). This is what he calls the multiverse. And he discusses these layers in his latest book co-written with Kim Korn of Creative Advantage, Inc., entitled Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer-Unique Value on the Digital Frontier.

Joe makes clear that it is not that all companies need to be experiential to gain value. But they can be. The key is to know what type of company you are, and innovate around that.

by Limor Schafman

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