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Economists have typically lumped experiences in with services, but experiences are a distinct economic offering, as different from services as services are from goods. Today we can identify and describe this fourth economic offering because consumers unquestionably desire experiences, and more and more businesses are responding by explicitly designing and promoting them.

As services, like goods before them, increasingly become commoditized—think of long-distance telephone services sold solely on price—experiences have emerged as the next step in what we call the progression of economic value. The Progression of Economic Value An experience is not an amorphous construct; it is as real an offering as any service, good, or commodity.

To realize the full benefit of staging experiences, however, businesses must deliberately design engaging experiences that command a fee. This transition from selling services to selling experiences will be no easier for established companies to undertake and weather than the last great economic shift, from the industrial to the service economy.

Unless companies want to be in a commoditized business, however, they will be compelled to upgrade their offerings to the next stage of economic value. An early look at the characteristics of experiences and the design principles of pioneering experience stagers suggests how companies can begin to answer this question.

Staging Experiences that Sell To appreciate the difference between services and experiences, recall the episode of the old television show Taxi in which Iggy, a usually atrocious but fun-loving cab driver, decided to become the best taxi driver in the world.

He served sandwiches and drinks, conducted tours of the city, and even sang Frank Sinatra tunes. By engaging passengers in a way that turned an ordinary cab ride into a memorable event, Iggy created something else entirely—a distinct economic offering. By asking to go around the block again, one patron even paid more for poorer service just to prolong his enjoyment. The service Iggy provided—taxi transportation—was simply the stage for the experience that he was really selling.

An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event. Commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable.

While prior economic offerings—commodities, goods, and services—are external to the buyer, experiences are inherently personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual, or even spiritual level.

Economic Distinctions Experiences have always been at the heart of the entertainment business—a fact that Walt Disney and the company he founded have creatively exploited. But today the concept of selling an entertainment experience is taking root in businesses far removed from theaters and amusement parks. New technologies, in particular, encourage whole new genres of experience, such as interactive games, Internet chat rooms and multi-player games, motion-based simulators, and virtual reality.

The growing processing power required to render ever-more immersive experiences now drives demand for the goods and services of the computer industry.

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Our business is the delivery of information and lifelike interactive experiences. But experiences are not exclusively about entertainment; companies stage an experience whenever they engage customers in a personal, memorable way. Neither are experiences only for consumer industries. Companies consist of people, and business-to-business settings also present stages for experiences. For example, a Minneapolis computer-installation and repair company calls itself the Geek Squad.

Similarly, many companies hire theater troupes—like the St. Louis-based trainers One World Music, facilitators of a program called Synergy through Samba—to turn otherwise ordinary meetings into improvisational events that encourage breakthrough thinking.

Business-to-business marketers increasingly create venues as elaborate as any Disney attraction in which to sell their goods and services. In June , Silicon Graphics, for example, opened its Visionar-ium Reality Center at corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California, to bring customers and engineers together in an environment where they can interact with real-time, three-dimensional product visualizations.

Customers can view, hear, and touch—as well as drive, walk, or fly—through myriad product possibilities. You Are What You Charge For Notice, however, that while all of these companies stage experiences, most are still charging for their goods and services.

Companies generally move from one economic stage to the next in incremental steps. But eventually IBM had to charge customers for what it had been giving away for free, when a Justice Department suit required the company to unbundle its hardware and software.

The company no longer gives away its services to sell its goods. No company sells experiences as its economic offering unless it actually charges guests an admission fee. An event created just to increase customer preference for the commoditized goods or services that a company actually sells is not an economic offering.

But even if a company rejects for now charging admission to events that it stages, its managers should already be asking themselves what they would do differently if they were to charge admission. The answers will help them see how their company might begin to move forward into the experience economy, for such an approach demands the design of richer experiences. Companies should think about what they would do differently if they charged admission.

Soon, perhaps, with 65, square feet of restaurants and stores being added to the complex, Star will charge its customers admission just to get into the complex. Some retailers already border on the experiential. At the Sharper Image or Brookstone, notice how many people play with the gadgets, listen to miniaturized stereo equipment, sit in massage chairs, and then leave without paying for what they valued, namely, the experience.

Could these stores charge admission? Not as they are currently managed. But if they did charge an admission fee, they would be forced to stage a much better experience to attract paying guests. The merchandise mix would need to change more often—daily or even hourly.

The stores would have to add demonstrations, showcases, contests, and other attractions to enhance the customer experience. With its Niketown stores, Nike is almost in the experience business. To avoid alienating its existing retail channels, Nike created Niketown as a merchandising exposition. If that is so, then why not explicitly charge customers for experiencing Niketown? Would people pay? An admission fee would force Nike to stage more engaging events inside.

The stores might actually use the basketball court, say, to stage one-on-one games or rounds of horse with National Basketball Association players. Afterward customers could buy customized Nike T-shirts, commemorating the date and score of events—complete with an action photo of the winning hoop. There might be more interactive kiosks for educational exploration of past athletic events. Nike could probably generate as much admission-based revenue per square foot from Niketown as the Walt Disney Company does from its entertainment venues—and as Disney should but does not yield from its own retail stores.

Charging admission—requiring customers to pay for the experience—does not mean that companies have to stop selling goods and services. Disney generates significant profits from parking, food, and other service fees at its theme parks as well as from the sale of memorabilia. In the full-fledged experience economy, retail stores and even entire shopping malls will charge admission before they let a consumer even set foot in them. Some shopping malls, in fact, already do charge admission.

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Consumers judge them worth the fees because the festival operators script distinctive experiences around enticing themes, as well as stage activities that captivate customers before, after, and while they shop. With nearly every customer leaving with at least one bag of merchandise, these festival experiences clearly capture shopping dollars that otherwise would be spent at traditional malls and retail outlets.

Some companies will eventually be like trade shows, charging customers to sell to them. Trade-show operators already charge admission to the experiences they create; individual business-to-business companies will need to do the same, essentially charging customers to sell to them. Diamond Technology Partners for instance, stages the Diamond Exchange, a series of forums that help members explore the digital future.

Current and potential clients pay tens of thousands of dollars annually to attend because what they gain—fresh insights, self-discovery, and engaging interactions—is worth it. No one minds that in staging the event, Diamond greatly improves its chances of selling follow-up consulting work. The Characteristics of Experiences Before a company can charge admission, it must design an experience that customers judge to be worth the price.

Excellent design, marketing, and delivery will be every bit as crucial for experiences as they are for goods and services.

Ingenuity and innovation will always precede growth in revenue. Yet experiences, like goods and services, have their own distinct qualities and characteristics and present their own design challenges. One way to think about experiences is across two dimensions. The first corresponds to customer participation. Such participants include symphony-goers, for example, who experience the event as observers or listeners.

At the other end of the spectrum lies active participation, in which customers play key roles in creating the performance or event that yields the experience. These participants include skiers.

But even people who turn out to watch a ski race are not completely passive participants; simply by being there, they contribute to the visual and aural event that others experience. The second dimension of experience describes the connection, or environmental relationship, that unites customers with the event or performance.

At one end of the connection spectrum lies absorption, at the other end, immersion. People viewing the Kentucky Derby from the grandstand can absorb the event taking place beneath and in front of them; meanwhile, people standing in the infield are immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells that surround them.

Furiously scribbling notes while listening to a physics lecture is more absorbing than reading a textbook; seeing a film at the theater with an audience, large screen, and stereophonic sound is more immersing than watching the same film on video at home.

We can sort experiences into four broad categories according to where they fall along the spectra of the two dimensions. Educational events—attending a class, taking a ski lesson—tend to involve more active participation, but students customers, if you will are still more outside the event than immersed in the action.

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He realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove successful. Whirter, who had been running a fact finding agency in London.

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Since then, Guinness World Records has become a household name and the global leader in world records. The book has gone on to become a record breaker in its own right with sales of more than 1.That evening at Castlebridge House, he realized that it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europes fastest game bird.

Mars two moons, Phobos and Deimos, are like the bay leaves of the solar system theyre fine I guess but what are they trying to do The larger satellite, Phobos. He realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove successful. Both brothers had an encyclopedic memory on the TV series Record Breakers, based upon the book, they would take questions posed by children in the audience on various world records and were able to give the correct answer. One complete picture.

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