Earlier this year, Joseph Pine and Jim Gilmore celebrated the fifth anniversary of the publication of their book "The Experience Economy," which has sold well over 100,000 copies worldwide. To commemorate that anniversary, they sent out an email discussing their experiences (no pun intended) over the last five years as people have embraced the idea of experiences in business. Their email reads: " ... on the whole, too few companies have come to grips with the fundamental thesis of our book -- that experiences are a distinct form of economic output, as distinct from services as services are from goods ... new experiences must be introduced into the world to fend off commoditization, and to create new wealth and economic prosperity." They then propose a set of five questions to help us all in our thinking. They believe strongly that we should bring value to our clients and businesses by designing, developing, and staging truly memorable experiences for which some type of admission can be charged. I have to admit I'm not sold on that yet, as I feel great experiences can have indirect positive impact on the bottom line and don't necessarily require a fee. But, I thought I'd share with you their five questions as food for thought.
1) What revenue does your business generate today from new paid-for experiences that you did not offer five years ago?
2) Who has managerial responsibility for those experiences you offer that provide direct streams of revenue?
3) Over the last 5 years, has your enterprise gone beyond customer satisfaction to programmatically eliminate some dimension of customer Sacrifice, stage some new element of customer Surprise, or hold customers in Suspense over some aspect of your relationship?
4) What investments has your organization made to recast your workers' human performances into compelling theater?
5) To what extent have you gone beyond experiences to help guide transformations for customers?