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Is Your Business Capitalizing on the Experience Economy Trend?

Couple Hiking Appalachian Trail
Members of the Baby Boomer generation (born from 1946-1964), tend to measure their success, at least to some degree, by the possessions they’ve accumulated over the years. Some of their most noteworthy milestones relate to major purchases such as a house, car or expensive consumer products. These items have traditionally served as a benchmark for the attainment of wealth, and as a way to demonstrate to others that they’ve “made it.”

In contrast, the Millennial generation (those born from 1981-1996), has a different perspective on what it means to be happy and successful. Rather than focusing on the accumulation of possessions, they’re more inclined to seek out stimulating experiences. They derive more pleasure and fulfillment from an exciting vacation, attending a concert or going on a whitewater rafting excursion with friends than buying a new automobile or home.

The Emerging Experience Economy

The shift in what matters most to people has had a direct impact on how they spend their money. Specifically, the Millennial mindset where what one does is more meaningful than what one owns has spearheaded the development of an “experience economy.” The dawning of the Digital Age has been a significant driver of this economic trend. Just about everyone has a mobile device these days, and they use them to share their experiences via social media, text messages, email and in increasingly rare circumstances, a phone call.

What Does the Experience Economy Mean From a Marketing and Branding Perspective?

If you’re a business owner, the experience economy trend can impact the way customers interact with your brand. They’re looking to engage with a product or service in one of two ways:

  • Participation: They want to take part, either actively or passively in the experience. People who go to an escape room, for example, are seeking an adventure that requires them to take an active role in an event. Concert-goers, on the other hand, are participating passively by watching instead of doing.
  • Connection: Customers also want to feel more of a connection that heightens their experience. They’re willing to spend top dollar to get closer to and immerse themselves in a product, service or event, as opposed to observing from a distance.

Tips for Making Your Company and Brand More Experiential

The Millennial generation will soon overtake Baby Boomers in terms of numbers. If your business has yet to tap into the experience economy trend, you could fall by the wayside in the coming years. Some tips to help make your business more experienced-oriented include:

  • Personalize: One of the benefits of being a small business owner is having regular interaction with your customers. Leverage these relationships to find out what you can do to make their shopping experience more personal and valuable.
  • Facilitate engagement: Find new ways to promote customer engagement. For example, an app that allows shoppers to customize your products encourages their participation and holds their interest.
  • Become multi-dimensional: Millennials rely on a combination of online and offline methods when learning about and engaging with a company. Focus on establishing a strong presence across all of these channels.
  • Implement a service-oriented approach: Millennials want — and expect — exceptional service as a way to maximize their customer experience. Examine your current customer service practices and look for ways to improve them. Make it more “memorable” for people to visit your establishment or purchase your products and services.

CAEDC Can Help You Take Advantage of the Rapidly Growing Experience Economy in the Cumberland Valley

With an abundance of outdoor activities, entertainment, nightlife and job opportunities, the Cumberland Valley is a popular place for Millennials to live and visit. If you’re a Cumberland County business owner, Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation offers a wide variety of services and resources that can help your business cash in on the emerging experience economy.

We sponsor events where you can network with other business owners and get new ideas. We also offer marketing opportunities that will allow you to connect with the Millennial generation and attract them to your company. We even provide access to funding sources and programs so you can expand your business.

Contact us to learn more about the many ways we can help your Cumberland County business grow and prosper in the experience economy.

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