As the world progresses, we find ourselves in designated time periods that categorize the world around us. In 2016, it is believed that we exist as part of the information age (1975 - Current); a period characterized by innovations in technology and an increased access to information and data.
Don’t believe a word of it.
The information age started coming to a close somewhere around the time that the mobile application store was introduced in 2008, and here we are. Welcome to the age of experience.
What is the Age of Experience?
The age of experience is a term that is just starting to build up momentum and recognition in 2016. It stands for different ideals than the information age did, as its focus isn’t put solely on finding new forms of technology.
Its focus is on using resources (including technology) to customize the overarching experience for every single customer, regardless of what your specific offerings are as a company. This experience begins from the moment that someone is introduced to your company and continues through their entire history with it.
Creating New Categories from Old Ideas
Unless your business is 100% proprietary, you will only achieve mild successes by simply replicating products or services that are already in the market. To truly thrive in your industry, you will need to make it a priority to enhance your target customer’s overall experience.
Take Uber, for example. Founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were fully aware that taxi services already existed when they decided to create a mobile application to hail what is essentially a taxi. So they focused on enhancing the experience for customers.
They took into account every stigma associated with the taxi business; unfriendly drivers, lack of accessibility, and an absence of a pleasing aesthetic. Born from these shortcomings is a sleek, visually appealing app where users can press a button to hail a friendly driver.
Uber users don’t even think of Uber’s cars and drivers as taxis and taxi drivers, but if we’re being honest, that’s the function Uber serves. Uber is a taxi service on steroids. A taxi service is nothing new, but they took a new approach.
They created a new experience. They created an entirely different category in the mind of its users (a category worth 68 billion dollars).
The takeaway: If you don’t have something completely brand new to offer the world, take an old idea and make it feel brand new to customers.
Creating Custom Interactions
The 4 P’s (Price, Product, Promotion, and Place) were once the backbone of marketing, but now remain in the mix as nothing more than tools for creating an experience. Don’t get me wrong, the 4 P’s still have their place, but we can no longer approach a product or service launch with the 4 P’s as our only guidelines.
Consumers in the age of experience expect much more of the companies that they do business with.
They expect an amazing interactive experience that is customized to fit their individual needs and wants.
With the vast amount of data and analytics that we gained access to in the information age, there is no longer an excuse for not tailoring the experience of each individual customer.
Whether it's a thank you note for a past purchase, or a purchase suggestion, customers expect that companies know and understand them prior to interacting with them. Through this understanding, businesses should be able to not only provide products or services that align with their customer’s needs, but also be able to maintain a personalized line of communication with them.
We are no longer targeting large market segments, but rather targeting individual people with individual tastes and preferences. Companies will show the most results if they invest in creating systems that work to connect the business’ CRM database with every accessible bit of data on their target customer.
Check out our blog on 4 Things You Need to Know About Experiential Marketing.
Creating Appeal for Millennials Through Innovation
The millennial generation is turning consumerism, capitalism, and human resource standards upside down and changing the way we do business by doing so.
With the millennial population surpassing the baby boomers at around 75 million in the United States, companies cannot underestimate the importance of appealing to millennials. They are the future of consumer choices and tendencies.
It’s not easy for many companies to maintain growth, especially in a business environment that has thrived off of merely being consistent. In the age of experience, and thanks to millennials, consistency is not good enough. We must constantly be aiming to innovate.
Millennials are drawn to rapid change. Any company that learns to adapt quickly to the world around it will succeed in the modern business climate.
Instead of being amazed with the technology behind the iPhone, we live in a world today where people get upset when Apple releases two generations of iPhones that are virtually the same.
Subtle changes are not enough. Whether your company is in the technology, transportation, or entertainment space, you must push outside of the box to impress the generation that will be responsible for the majority of revenue and promotion for many years to come.
Welcome to the Age of Experience
Herbert Spencer coined the phrase, “survival of the fittest” after reading Darwin’s Natural Selection theories. Take the evolutionary theories out of the equation and apply it to business and the sentiment is still there.
In a world that is constantly changing, only the strong will survive. Learn to adapt and manufacture experiences for your customers, or plan your transition into financial mediocrity.
This is the Age of Experience.
Luke Duran is currently serving as an intern for Inbound Marketing Agents. Luke is a music business major at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he manages artists and aims to positively impact people's lives through creative and socially conscious endeavors.