How Your Business Can Ensure Success in the Experience Economy

Way long ago in 1998–yes, that long ago–B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore published a piece in Harvard Business Review (link at the end of this article) that the experience economy had arrived. And, sure, in 20th Century terms, it had. As they explained in their article, the progression began with families buying items, such as Betty Crocker, because there was less kitchen time to prepare the ingredients for a child’s birthday cake. Then parents started going to the bakery store to pick up cakes for their kids and no longer making the cake at home. And, eventually in the late part of the 20th Century, with more work and other demands, families started to outsource the entire birthday to soup-to-nuts groups that did everything, such as Chuck E. Cheese and the Discovery Zone.

And now we’re in the 21st Century, and experience matters even more and companies are beginning to try out different technologies, for instance, virtual reality and augmented reality. Major corporations, such as Facebook and Apple, have made substantial investments into those technologies because the future is coming quickly and I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2018 we see some other global experience, such as Pokémon Go.

Smart marketers understand that creating an experience–with technology–is essential to being able to sell a product or service in today’s world. So, how do you do it?

Customer Experience Continuum

An essential activity to create an excellent customer experience program is not only to have excellent customer service but to go further and understand what your customer experience is from start to finish. From the moment a prospect sends you an email, places a call to your office or messages you in some way, what is the experience your company provides? Understand the entirety of the customer experience from the moment they initially reach out and to what happens after the purchase.

Words Matter for Customer Experience Principles

Once you understand the experience that occurs, and more importantly what you want to make sure your leads experience, you have to ask yourself (and your team) to help you develop principles that will guide the experience from start to finish. In this case, words matter. For example, are you looking for your clients to have “fun” while they partner with you? Are you looking for “excellence in communication”? Whatever the words are that matter to you, develop principles around them and ensure everyone on your team is onboard.

Data In and What Comes Out?

When you’re talking about data, your CRM is everything. You want to make sure your CRM captures everything that is essential to know about your leads and clients. If your team isn’t inputting every touchpoint with your customers, accurately, then you’re not going to be able to anticipate their needs. Part of the customer experience is to know what your prospects and partners are going to want, even before they want it. As an example, in one of my companies, our former partners get reminders at regular intervals about scheduling their next fundraiser with us.

Provide a Sensory Experience

Everyone is used to having many experiences throughout the day. If they’re scrolling social media, your leads and clients are being “marketed” to with live streams, videos or images. Corporations are moving toward providing people virtual experiences and with technology tools. Granted, we’re in the early stages of these types of moments, but it’s already started. If you want to buy a diamond ring, you can see the ring virtually on your hand by supplying a photo. You can also see how furniture will look in your home with apps and a VR headset. Think out of the box and discover creative ways to bring your products and services to market.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

If you’re not using it already, consider looking into your Net Promoter Score, or NPS. This measuring tool goes beyond simple customer satisfaction. The index calculation, based on the responses of your customers regarding how likely they would be to recommend you to others, helps you understand and predict future revenue growth. The best type of sales you can make are those based on the recommendations of others, particularly if you can predict revenue growth.

Humans haven’t changed since the publication by Pine and Gilmore in the HBR article. The only thing that has changed significantly is how technology has transformed our lives and the world writ large. Humans, however, have always wanted the same thing in a product or service. Consumers want the experience they have with your business to match the expectations they had in their mind when they first inquired about your product or service.

Strategic Management for Business Development

A correct strategy can simplify the complexity of business equations. When you work on a pre-planned strategy, you stay more confident and organize while performing any task. This assures that you can meet your target in the desired time limit.

Before digging the advanced bricks in it, let us first understand what exactly strategic management is all about.

Strategic management is based upon analyzing the major initiatives taken by the top brass of the company on behalf of its owners. The professionals practicing strategic management have their involvement into resources and internal & external company matters. It entails specifying the following major aspects related to the company-

1. Organization’s mission,
2. Vision
3. Objectives, developing policies and plans, usually in terms of projects and programs, which are designed to achieve these objectives, and
4. Allocation of resources to implement the policies and plans, projects and programs.

Importance of Strategic Management in business –
• Strategic management helps you to identify the potential of each individual in the organization, so that, you can help them in improving and bring out the best in them to benefit the organization. With this, the level of alertness among the employees increases ensuring fast and effective completion of the objectives or targets.
• It determines the long run performance of the organization by keeping a check on the internal and external elements to affect the growth of the organization.
• It makes you a pro in utilizing limited resources to their maximum efficiency and make maximum profit out of them to increase the profitability of your business.

Approaches to Strategic management –
Approaches to strategic management can be classified into following three major categories –
1. Bottom-up
2. Top-down
3. Collaborative

• In the bottom-up approach, employees submit proposals to their managers who funnel the best ideas up the ladder. It’s usually a part of capital budgeting procedure, in which, proposals are based upon financial benefits. Hence, approved proposals under this kind of management form the substance of the business strategy.
• The top-down approach is widely popular and practiced so far. In this, the top brass of the company, the CEO and the Board of Directors take decisions regarding the growth direction for the company. The strategy flows down and each employee works on the same.
• There is a third method of strategy formation which is collaborative techniques. It generates new ideas in the process leveraging advances in information technology. Collaborative management believes in common goals between management and employees and emphasizes the use of knowledge management systems to share information and create common goals.

Recent trends in Strategic management –
Currently, two management theories are greatly being practiced all across the globe-
1. Theory Z management (Ouchi’s Theory)
2. Achieving Excellence

• The Theory Z management is created by a careful analysis of the success of Japanese Organizations. The theory is widely being practiced in the world everywhere. Z. Ouchi’s theory is based upon seven parameters related to employees, evaluation, responsibilities and control mechanism etc. These parameters also define the basic principle differences between Japanese and American Companies.
• Achieving Excellence is a theory which is developed by Peter and Waterman depending upon eight basic principles of excellent companies, which lays emphasis on the value system, action-driven working, simple structure and lean staff etc.

Future of strategic management –

Strategies play a pivotal role in taking an organization ahead. Strategic management becomes a serious concern for companies in an increasingly competitive environment. It broadens the horizon of imagination and innovation for an organization and makes it stand unique with respect to work, services, and performance. No doubt strategic management secures a great future in the rapidly advancing scenario. Companies are always in dire need of creative minds to draft the blueprint for success to them.

To give a boost to your career or business with the recent and updated techniques of strategy formation, join our strategic management course at iACT Global, one of India’s leading online education provider to the working professionals.