How Consumer Experiences Drive New Business Models
It’s officially Spring Conference Season. Over the last month, I’ve had the great opportunity to attend a couple good ones, FUSE and Collision. I’ve always loved attending conferences. They pull people from all kinds of backgrounds with different experiences all talking about similar problems with completely different approaches for solving them. And in today’s day in age, we need more solutions to our problems. As I reflect on the two conferences, I’ve noticed some interesting trends affecting our industry and how we satisfy our consumers.
There used to be a formula for business success; provide an effective product, market that product and you’ll have a business (extremely simplified). As we all know, that methodology has been thrown out the window. Now consumers, see products and services as mere commodities. The real benefit and value for a business or brand to provide is a combination of cultural caché, a seamless transaction model and a memorable experience it provides to the consumer. In fact, there are some studies that have said that a company’s consumer experience will be the number one driver to sales over product efficacy and even price. Can you imagine that? The experience that you provide as a brand is more valuable to the consumer than the product itself?
This may make some folks squirm a bit. It’s a completely different mindset than what we’re used to. It’s not an add-on process, but a complete overhaul in how we create, market, distribute, sell and service our products. That entire process needs to reflect in a holistic consumer experience journey that each consumer is excited and proud to be on. It’s definitely a large order but let’s take a look at the upside; increased revenue opportunities and more loyal consumers.
As we embark on this digitally-enabled, consumer experience model that our consumers are requiring for a purchase decision, we are given a major opportunity. While we implement the various tactics to execute our consumer experience model, we’re provided with a tremendous amount of consumer, behavioral and industry (both direct and adjacent) data. This is extremely valuable as we look to the evolution of our business models and revenue. Not only do we see how our core product or service is performing, but we can also be ahead of trends to prototype, test, learn and implement from new service and experience offerings for the consumers and revenue drivers.
This is how we leverage transformation towards the future while increasing sales in the short term.
To illustrate this:
While at Collision in New Orleans last week, I had the great opportunity to hear Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer at Marriott International talk about the journey they have been on to expand their consumer experiences. They have a few exciting things they are working on that may or may not work out, but have an end vision of connecting their consumer experiences while expanding their revenue opportunities. They are rooting the foundation of this transformation in data, looking at their rewards program to understand and segment their users in a way to provide incremental value based on behavior. They then are looking at ways to expand their experiences during their core service offering. By geofencing locations for social customer service and partnering with startups to expand services while staying at a hotel they are elevating their consumer experience while maintaining their core product. They are also testing waters for the future looking at other experiences they can provide to their outlier loyal customers by developing custom experiences such as home and boat rental for a more memorable and comfortable stay.
All in all, we are in an exciting moment in business. One where creativity, service design, supply chain, business models, transactions and customer service all need to provide a holistic, seamless and intriguing experience for the consumer. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it does have to happen. The best thing you can do now is take action.