Winning In The Experience Economy

Tamara McCleary

Part 1 of the series “Winning In The Experience Economy

How does data translate to experience? In today’s world, we speak a lot about the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, cloud, and much more to drive intelligent business, but we often seem to lose track of the fundamental power of experience to drive our customer interactions and sales.

As human beings, we create a lot of data, and it is increasing exponentially every day. The PBS program Nova Wonders recently shared a truly mind-boggling statistic: we now create 2.5 billion gigabytes of data per day. This is equivalent to 250,000 Library of Congress’s worth of data, every day. And since this statistic was derived when the show was produced, it’s likely even higher today.

We are now living in an experience economy. So how do we harness the power, the opportunity, and the insights in this raw data while also improving the customer’s experience? Previously, you might have read my perspectives on the relationship economy, which posits that all transactions, personal or commercial, are based upon building trusted 1-to-1 relationships. The experience economy is not a new concept; it merely augments the relationship economy premise. The experience economy posits that both consumers and businesses want more than just delivery of products and services; they expect that an exceptional, positively charged, and memorable experience will come packaged with their purchase or use of a commodity.

In a July 1998 Harvard Business Review article, “Welcome to the Experience Economy,” authors B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore summarized this concept: “From now on, leading-edge companies – whether they sell to consumers or businesses – will find that the next competitive battleground lies in staging experiences.” Wisdom in 1998… 21 years ago… speaks truth to us today in 2019.

Over the past two decades, the experience economy has more than taken off, it’s become the expectation. So much so that in today’s economy, not only are leading-edge companies expected to deliver a tremendous experience, virtually all companies are expected to deliver a positively charged experience to their customers. And our expectation of what denotes a positive experience has evolved as we have become groomed through an “always-on” digital universe, social media, mobile, text, etc. We have changed our behaviors and expectations as consumers.

A recent survey from Bain found that 80% of customers chose to leave a brand due to poor customer experience. Research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicates that up to 67% of customers switch brands – not due to price or features – but due to customer experience or a perceived lack of attention, personalization, and engagement by the brand.

So how can we leverage customer data to enhance customer experience? How can we win in the experience economy? This can be summed up simply with the following formula:

X+O: Experience Management (X) meets Intelligent Enterprise (O)

With the power of end-to-end customer relationship management (CRM) systems, businesses can now integrate all the touchpoints and stages of the customer’s journey through harnessing an extensive customer database paired with AI to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

In a world where many suppliers offer similar products, what differentiates brands is an individual’s perception of their own experience. Even in the B2B space, individuals, not companies, make purchasing decisions. Pricing is the smallest component in a purchasing decision. Instead, what drives conversion is the perception of overall experience and perceived value, demonstrated and cemented indelibly from user experience (UX) to customer service. Intelligent enterprises take “perception is reality” to a whole new level, as technology enables a more personalized customer experience delivering ROI through measurable business growth and the relationship ensuring relevancy for tomorrow.

Explore the challenges, opportunities, and technologies involved in achieving critical business outcomes in the experience economy. Read more about the neighborhoods of the digital core, network and spend management, digital supply chain, customer experience, and people engagement.

Tamara McCleary

About Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary is CEO of Thulium, a social media analytics and consulting agency, driving Smart Social through proprietary data analytics and award-winning storytelling. Tamara ranks in the top 1% in influence globally. Named the #1 most influential woman in MarTech by B2B Marketing, recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of 10 Online Marketers to watch, and named Top Digital Marketer by Brand 24 in 2019. Featured multiple times in Forbes for her pioneering influencer marketing strategies on social media for B2B and Enterprise, Tamara serves as a unique advisor to leading global technology companies such as Verizon, IBM, Mercer, MMC, SAP, Dell EMC, and AWS.