Have you ever found yourself wondering why your local pub is throwing a Harry Potter themed karaoke night? Or how Cat Cafes became such a thing? Or why would people book a fire eating class? Or who would pay to play pretend mermaid for a day (photoshoot and tail included, of course)? And don’t get me started on axe throwing bars… As fun and dangerous some of these activities seem to be, they all share one thing in common; they are all a result of the experience economy.
This moment-centric, financial wave caters to create the most memorable, personalised, and shareable moment possible. It has transformed and redefined businesses for over 20 years. It has shifted the focus from the product itself to the engaging concept that supports it. Yet, it wasn’t until the spotlight social media created that we started to pay more attention, and noticed how a simple Instagram Story could affect the way we do business.
Testing The Influence
To further understand it’s importance, we recently created a poll targeting Gen Z and Millennials, asking them a few behavioural-based questions. Such as: “Would you either spend your money on the new iPhone 11 Pro (valued at $1899) or pay for a two weeks European tour (valued at $1899)?”.
87% stated they would pack their bags and head off to Europe. Leaving a small 13% getting the new iPhone. But, we then wondered, what if money was not an issue? Would financial freedom affect their behavioural purchasing preference?
So we asked again; “If given as a gift, would you pick an iPhone 11 Pro or a trip to Europe?” To our surprise, 33% would queue up for the new smartphone, leaving a lower 67% flying off to Europe. Regardless of the change in preference, our results showed a majority of 65%, selecting an experience. Demonstrating where youth’s hard earned cash is going.
But don’t worry, you’re not late to the party. To help you adapt to this economical trend, we’ve compiled three key points to help you add some of that experience economy goodness to your business.
#1 Experience Thy Audience
One of the golden rules of marketing and business in general is to understand your audience beyond their age and gender, especially if you’re trying to find new ways to cash in from them. How do they think? What do they do during their lunch break? Do they prefer cats? Are they gluten intolerant? What artists do they follow? What is their political view? These are questions you should be asking.
Going deeper than what the traditional target audience demographics asks for, and having the answer to these questions, makes it easier to idealise the right value proposition. At last, you’ll discover that a Quentin Tarantino Trivia night might be what brings in juicy ROI. Don’t overthink it and be open minded. If you doubt the success of an idea, ask yourself and your actual target market – will this work for my customers?
#2 M2C: Moment to Connect
Customer experience has never been more important than it is now. Nowadays it’s relatively easy for a customer to ruin a brand’s online reputation. That’s why nothing is more impactful than a successful encounter between a brand rep and a client. For this, focus on relatability and authenticity to achieve success.
Make sure your customers are getting the most realistic experience with your brand. A way to do this of course is through (buzzword incoming) authentic content. Sometimes the small things count, such as writing their names in every email, or, understanding their behaviour for personalised product suggestions. What’s necessary is to make sure folks feel that the brand gives a damn. So be nicer on the phone and personalise as much as you can.
Be human, but be smart – because customers at the minimum expect memorable experiences. And they’re more likely to really take you to town in online reviews and social media if their experience is any level of bad.
#3 Share-Ability Effect
In 2019 to share something to our online profiles, is what word of mouth looks. And we know how much that’s worth.
Social media platforms provided the space to share the many facets of our lives, which only pushed the experience economy to new heights. Our online validation has been sustained through pictures at brunch, selfies while traveling, or IG Boomerangs of weekend drinks. Nowadays, it’s a true competition between businesses to get that Instagram tag, story mention, and Facebook review.
And in times where Apple is releasing a new phone every year, we succumb to constant updates. So novelty in a brand is necessary, but it’s only successful if it creates the right engagement. Which requires lots of thinking outside the box. Think exclusive events, fun competitions, witty replies to user engagement, or Instagramable spaces.
Expand on creativity and uniqueness, things that feel human, and cater to your following. Create buzz, ride the momentum and make it shareable. Nothing is too crazy. In the end, think about whoever decided cronuts was a good idea… was very right!