Experience Economy

imagesCANMT25LSource: Pine, J. and Gilmore, J. (1999) The Experience Economy, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 1999.


Economists have typically lumped experiences in with services, but experiences are a distinct economic offering, a 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 businesses are responding by explicitly designing and promoting them, increasingly become commoditized – think of long-distance telephone services sold solely on price – experiences have emerged as next step in what we call the progression of economic value. From now on, leading-edge companies – whether they sell to consumers or business – will find that the next competitive battleground lies in staging experience.


An experience is not an amorphous construct; it is a real an offering as any services, good, or commodity. In today´s service economy, many companies simply wrap experiences around their traditional offerings to sell them better. 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. Un less companies want to be in a commoditized business, however, they will be compelled to upgrade their offerings to the next stage of economic value.


The question, then, isn’t weather, but then –and how- to enter the emerging experience economy. An early look at the characteristics of experiences and the design principles of pioneering experience stager suggest how companies can begin to answer this question.

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