Sometime during the last 30 years, the service economy emerged as the dominant engine of economic activity. At first, critics who were uncomfortable with the intangible nature of services bemoaned the decline of the goods-based economy, which, thanks to many factors, had increasingly become commoditized. Successful companies, such as Nordstrom, Starbucks, Saturn, and IBM, discovered that the best way to differentiate one product from another--clothes, food, cars, computers--was to add service.
But, according to Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, the bar of economic offerings is being raised again. In The Experience Economy, the authors argue that the service economy is about to be superseded with something that critics will find even more ephemeral (and controversial) than services ever were: experiences. In part because of technology and the increasing expectations of consumers, services today are starting to look like commodities. The authors write that "Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience."
Many will find the idea of staging experiences as a requirement for business survival far-fetched. However, the authors make a compelling case, and consider successful companies that are already packaging their offerings as experiences, from Disney to AOL. Far-reaching and thought-provoking, The Experience Economy is for marketing professionals and anyone looking to gain a fresh perspective on what business landscape might look like in the years to come. Recommended. --Harry C. Edwards
You are what you charge for. And if you're competing solely on the basis of price, then you've been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation. What would your customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? Experiences. The curtain is about to rise, say Pine and Gilmore, on the 'Experience Economy', a new economic era in which every business is a stage, and companies must design memorable events for which they charge admission. With "The Experience Economy", Pine and Gilmore explore how successful companies - using goods as props and services as the stage - create experiences that engage customers in an inherently personal way. Why does a cup of coffee cost more at a trendy cafe than it does at the corner diner or when brewed at home? It's the value that the experience holds for the individual that determines the worth of the offering and the work of the business. From online communities to airport parking, the authors draw from a rich and varied mix of examples that showcase businesses in the midst of creating engaging experiences for both consumers and corporate customers.
"The Experience Economy" marks the debut of an insightful, highly original, and yet eminently practical approach for companies to script and stage compelling experiences. In doing so, all workers become actors, intentionally creating specific effects for their customers. And it's the experiences they stage that create memorable -and lasting- impressions that ultimately create transformations within individuals. Make no mistake, say Pine and Gilmore: goods and services are no longer enough. Experiences are the foundation for future economic growth, and "The Experience Economy" is the playbook from which managers can begin to direct new performances.