It has been almost 20 years since we first described the next emerging wave of economic history as an experience economy. At the time, no one spoke of “experiential marketing” (its precursor was “marketing aesthetics”). The term “customer experience” had yet to be coined (all the talk concerned delivering excellent “customer service”). While a few technologists may have occasionally referred to the “user experience,” the term had not taken hold to anywhere near the extent that it warranted an acronym; today no one in the digital world need explain what is meant by “UX.” The word “experience” exploded in its usage with product names, marketing taglines, destination venues and digital media. Why the change in terminology? And why to language based on this word “experience”? Clearly, the notion of experiences resonated in the market place of ideas and the world of commerce. Many factors contributed to the widespread acceptance of this lens through which to view the economic landscape. First of all, people were more than ready to embrace a new way of thinking about their offerings, as evidenced by the call to “exceed expectations” and other similarly wanting business buzzwords and mantras. Experience thinking provided a welcome new platform for pursuing new value-creating activity. Second, the very idea that consumers valued experiences more than goods and services was affirmed by personal experience.
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