Distinctive Experiences

Spring 2017
By Joseph Pine II & James Gilmore | Strategic Horizons LLP

Today we are in an Experience Economy where goods and services are no longer enough; what consumers want are experiences – memorable events that engage each individual in an inherently personal way. But in the two scant decades since we first wrote about this natural economic progression beyond the Agrarian, Industrial, and Service Economies, the focus on economic experiences has already been diluted by follow-on concepts that have arisen in its wake. Most notable among these is the “Customer Experience” movement, generally abbreviated CX, which aims to make interactions with customers nice, easy, and convenient. These are all well and good attributes, but they characterize services, not experiences, and are themselves easily copied. Retailers must resist the siren call of CX and learn to stage the truly distinctive experiences consumers desire, lest they be commoditized.

B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore are the co-founders of Strategic Horizons LLP and the co-authors of, among other books, The Experience Economy, recently named one of the top 100 business books of all time by 800CEOread. They can be reached at PineGilmore@StrategicHorizons.com or +1 (330) 995-4680.


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