About Joe Pine
B. Joseph Pine II is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial startups alike. He is cofounder of Strategic Horizons LLP, a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings. In December 2019 Mr. Pine and his partner James H. Gilmore re-released in hardcover The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money, featuring an all-new preview to their best-selling 1999 book, The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business is a Stage. The book demonstrates how goods and services are no longer enough; what companies must offer today are experiences — memorable events that engage each customer in an inherently personal way. It further shows that in today’s Experience Economy, companies now compete against the world for the time, attention and money of individual customers.
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Introduction (00:04): A returning guest from season one of Voices of CX, Joseph Pine II, or Joe Pine, is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker and management advisor to fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial startups alike. He is cofounder of Strategic Horizons LLP, a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings. He and his partner, James H. Gilmore, wrote the bestselling book, the Experience Economy: work is theater and every business is a stage, which demonstrates how goods and services are no longer enough. What companies must offer today are experiences.
Mary Drumond (01:25): Joe, how are you today?
Joe Pine (01:26): I’m doing well, Mary. Yourself?
MD (01:28): Quite well. I’m happy to have you on. You’re such a great guest to have on. You’re still our number one episode, most listened to most downloaded on the podcast. It’s great to have you back.
JP (01:38): Well that’s always nice to hear. Thanks.
MD (01:39): So I wanted to start off this episode bringing up a couple of things that you did address when you were here the first time and kind of talk about, since that was like like a year and a half, two years ago, what happened since then and you have this ability and I’m not going to say that it’s to see into the future. I really do think it has to do with hard knowledge and studying and researching, but of understanding the way that the market shifts. So, I don’t know if you remember even the stuff that you discussed, but one of the main ones that really stuck with me all this time was Toys R Us because I think right after you recorded that initial podcast, Toys R Us shut down all of their stores. And it was right after the podcast, so it was pretty amazing.
JP (02:26): There was like one Canada that they kept open because somebody else owned it. But you know, but that was like completely gone.
MD (02:31): Just completely gone. And on that episode you talked about how Toys R Us seem to have got the model right at one point, which was creating that experience store in times square. And how that could have been their salvation as opposed to try to compete with the Amazons of the world. If they moved into a time well spent model where people actually went there to enjoy it, almost as a show room and not necessarily a place where they would buy, then maybe that have been their salvation. And so Toys R Us went out of the market. Everybody knows, the giraffe cried. We all cried along with the giraffe. And very recently around Halloween, they announced that they were relaunching an experiential store. How was that for you, hearing that?
JP (03:19): Well it is very gratifying. You know, cause a colleague of mine and I ended up writing a digital article for the Harvard Business Review where we said this is what they do, they should do because we knew they wanted to come out of bankruptcy and come out with new stores. And so we outlined, well this is what they should do, to take a time well spent strategy, and they basically doing everything we said, except for very key thing, which is they haven’t found a way to charge admission for any of the experiences that they have inside of the store. But they do have an experience store instead of a 40,000 square foot warehouse, it’s like 6,500 square feet where kids can actually play in the store. So the amount of toys there is just like a fraction of what they were before. But as long as they got a good way of turning them over, then the experience will draw people in, the playing with the toys will get them to want to buy the toys and they should be able to sell, you know, even as much as they did in a 40,000 square foot store. Because the experience is the marketing.
MD (04:20): So that was one of the ones, and the other one had to do with the retail in general. So we went through kind of a retail apocalypse where all these big super well-known brands just kind of bit the dust and everyone was freaking out. Everybody was freaking out. And I remember at one point we wrote about it and then things started changing. We started noticing a shift in the market. We started seeing retail reinvent itself. And you had talked about this.
JP (04:47): Well, yeah. And the basic reason is you’ve got, in physical retail, you know, a time well saved strategy being nice and easy and convenient, as most people talk about it with CX, is not going to cut it. They’re competing against the Amazons, the Walmarts, and the targets of the world that are going to always be more convenient than you, are always gonna have a bigger scale.
MD (05:09): They’re always going to have a better margin.
JP (05:10): Right, always have better margins and lower prices and so forth. So you have to go to, again, a time well spent strategy. You know, so time well saved, it’s about saving customers time, being nice and easy, convenient, and that can yield a great service. But to create a true distinctive experiences, you have to offer time well spent. You have to give a reason for people to come into the store, if you’re a non retailer, to basically want to spend time with you where in the end they value the time that they spend with you. And increasingly companies are doing that. You know, speaking of toys, I’ll mention another one in New York city that’s starting to grow. It’s called camp. And camp actually looks like a regular store, then they have a secret door where you go back to where all the experiences are and it’s a much bigger place the new Toys R Us. But it is all about the experience of the toys. And then obviously if you can’t do it with toys, you know, you can’t create experiences with anything because it’s so experiential. But so are so many other products. You know, the basic principle of today’s experience economy is to get your customers to experience your products before they buy it. And then the chances they will buy it go up.
MD (06:23): And when they do buy it, they don’t necessarily have to buy it at that brick or mortar location. You can provide a time well saved model online where it becomes really easy and effortless for people to just go and buy stuff.
JP (06:35): Yeah. And even have kiosk or other ways of buying it in the store, but then having it delivered directly to the home. You know, I always think like, if you can, you don’t want them to leave your store without buying it. Buy it right there, but then, okay, when do you want it? Where do you want it? Like if it’s a Christmas gift, do you want to have your own inventory for the next month? Or would you like it delivered a couple of days beforehand? You know that’s the route to go. So then you do combine the best of both. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So Camp as a growing store in New York City, that’s also a toy store where they actually have, it’s like a normal store when you go in, but then there’s a secret door to go into all of these different play areas where you can play with the toys. Like I said, if you can’t do it with toys, you can’t do it with anything. And there are so many experiential products out there, but the basic principle is that in today’s experience economy, if you get people to experience your product before they buy it, the chances they will buy it go up.
MD (07:36): Yeah. And having an easy way for people to then purchase the product, but they’ve already played with it, they’ve already enjoyed it, they have already experienced it, it becomes so much easier to make the sale ultimately. All you have to do is provide an easy way for them to purchase it. So when you have the whole idea, I remember very clearly that you spoke about brick and mortar transforming into either showrooms and/or warehouses. And that’s exactly what happened. And we have this example with, for example, what Amazon did with whole foods. Where Whole Foods, not only is their experience location because there is an experience to whole foods, there’s no way around it. But it’s also become a place from which they can ship things under two hour delivery. So it’s also become a location to ease the process of buying online.
JP (08:25): Right, exactly. And, and many companies can do that where you can use your physical places as warehouses where you take something out of inventory there and be able to get it into customer’s hands, you know, fairly quickly because it’s going to be close to where your customers are, and then replenish that in a little more time than it takes.
MD (08:45): Yeah. And you know, it’s funny because for a while I think everybody was really scared by e-commerce and what buying online was going to do. And I think at some point a lot of executives must have really freaked out thinking that nobody was ever going to go to stores again. Recent polls have shown that that’s not true at all. People have actually started going back to retail, going back to shopping malls, going back to stores. As long as the stores are able to provide an experience that’s actually gratifying to people. So it kind of brought that back, right?
JP (09:20): Yeah. That’s what it takes is to provide that experience that people value.
MD (09:26): So one thing that you didn’t talk about when you were with us on the podcast, but I read in your material and I see happening all the time, is the rise of the CXO positions. Chief experience officer within companies. So an interesting thing about the experience economy is that it took more or less 20 years for the experience economy to actually start, right? Did take a little bit longer than you expected? What do you think?
JP (09:53): Recognize, number one, that experiences have always been around, right? So we’ve always had experiences they’re are not a new economic offering, just newly identified. So we can pull them out of the service statistics. We can say, Hey, this is something distinctly different, than experiences are a distinct economic offering from services. And you know, I mean the obvious case, it’s not the only case, but the obvious case of course is Disney theme parks, right? That predated when we discovered the experience economy. But once we named it and where you could see it, I mean, one of the main differences when we first started talking about it and now is that we actually have made the shift. You know, I used to talk about the, the nascent experience economy, the forthcoming, the emerging experience economy. And now it’s here. And that’s what’s happened in the last 20 or 25 years where everybody can see. I used to have to argue with people that this is going on and that you have to see this and now I just say it almost everybody goes, Oh yeah, I see that. Right. I get that. And, and that’s the key thing.
MD (10:51): Yeah. We joke around that it’s hit mainstream, that experience has hit mainstream. You know, I was at the airport the other day and there was this big sign about making your flying experience great or your airport experience great. And the other day I was listening to the radio and Quicken Loans had an ad going about their mortgage and it was making your mortgage experience better. I said, wow, if radio ads are saying experience, it’s because it’s truly hit mainstream now.
JP (11:18): Right right. You just got to make sure they’re not in-name-only experiences, that they’re not just talking and not actually doing anything. Right. That’s the worst place to be in.
MD (11:25): Well, it’s become a marketing term, which we know is a bit tough because sometimes you know, companies don’t really, you know, do what they preach. But that leads me to another thing, which is one thing that I’ve heard you say a lot is that when most people are talking about experiences, they’re not talking about the same thing you’re talking about. So before we carry on, can you establish for our listeners what customer experience means to you?
JP (11:49): Right. So what I think customer experience means to most people, as you read about, not everybody, but for most people, I’ll use that phrase again, they mean let’s make our interactions with customers nice and easy and convenient, and those are all well and good, but those are service characteristics. That’s time well saved. It’s frictionless and so forth. You know, nice is nice, but it doesn’t rise to the level of memorability. And to create a true, distinctive experience, you need to create that memory within people. It’s why you have to engage them in the experience. When we make things easy, we often routinize things, make it easy for our people, but that gets in the way of being personal, of treating this person as the individual that they are reaching inside of them and creating that experience within them because that’s where the experience actually happens. And convenience, again, as the antithesis of what we’re talking about with experience, convenience is get in and out as quickly as possible, spend as little time with the company as possible, when what people value with experiences is the time they’re actually spending with you. That’s what time well spent is about, that they value that time. And so a true distinctive experience is memorable it’s personal, and it’s time well spent. And most people when they talk CX, that’s not what they’re talking about.
MD (13:27): So most people, when they talk about CX, they’re talking about both situations, the time well spent and the time will saved. But for you it is very much about the time well spent.
JP (13:37): Correct. Correct. That when you talk about experience as a distinct economic offering, absolutely.
MD (13:42): Great. So let’s go back into that CXO position. So was it truly you and Jim Gilmore that came up with the term that coined the term chief experience officer?
JP (13:52): You know, I don’t think so. I mean we started talking about it like 12 or 15 years ago. We wrote an article on it way back when, but I don’t think we actually came up with it. I think others were using it, and the first people to use it were actually like CEOs of small companies that knew they’re in the experience business or that they were helping companies stage great experiences and they’re the first ones we saw use say we’ll change the E of of executive to experience. So it’s chief experience officer. And then eventually we started seeing it more and more and then companies in sort of the UX field did it and then where it really started to take hold is when healthcare embraced the term and many, many hospitals started to appoint chief experience officers. There were often physicians or nurses that really understood the clinical role as well that patient experience has. I think it’s always because research shows that in healthcare, the better the patient experience, the better the outcomes and that’s what it’s really about. The other place we see it very frequently, interestingly, is with credit unions, not bank so much, but credit unions. And I always assume it’s because credit unions don’t have customers, they have members. And that that difference of being a member allows them to think more highly of them and the experience that they want to have. So more recently Jim and I published an article with the American Management Association on the roles of CXOs and really did some thinking. We interviewed a bunch of CXOs in healthcare and the CXO of Steelcase and a funeral company, and many others that are out there. And we really started to try and understand what it is that they did in their day to day lives. And so we came up with these five different roles that that CXO should take on.
MD (15:46): And what are they?
JP (15:46): So number one is they need to be a catalyst. They need to be a catalyst within the company to begin to spark people to create that chemical reaction going on that gets people thinking about experiences as a distinct offering rather than just the commodities, the goods and the services that they normally do. So it starting to change the mindset is what that catalyst role is all about. Then secondly, they gotta be experience designers themselves and they gotta teach experience design. They gotta talk about how we go about actually designing experiences that we can then stage for our customers. Then they have to be an orchestrator. And an orchestrator is about taking all the capabilities within the company, the things that we can do operationally and now Amy knows customers, ideally individual living, breathing customers, not just a mass of customers. So that you orchestrate these things to create that experience within those customers. And then there’s a champion and the champion, it’s really two sided. It’s about champion customers within the company so that you begin to think about how we gear our offerings as we develop new ones towards those customers and always getting the company to be thinking of customers. Again, ideally individual living, breathing customers. But then you also have to champion the offerings of the company out towards those customers and be the ones that create experiences to get them to understand what your offerings are and again, get them to experience your offering before they buy them, right? That’s what the champion role is all about. And then finally, there’s guide. Guide is about recognizing that this is a transformation that you have to undergo. If you want to go from being merely a goods manufacturer or service provider to becoming a premier experience stager, it is an internal transformation. It’s an organizational change that has to happen and somebody has to guide that, to point people in the right direction and celebrate the successes and so forth to get change to happen. And one of the things I’ve actually realized I think this year, we define these as roles of CXOs, but whether a company has a CXO or not, these are the five things they gotta do to become a premier experience stager, right? I mean, it’s often good to put it under one mantle and say, okay, this person is in charge. But even if you’ve got various others that are doing it, even if it’s spread out in the organization, you still have to be a catalyst and catalyze change. You still have to design experiences. You still have to orchestrate your capabilities to create those experiences with customers and you still have to champion the offerings to customers, and guide it all to happen.
MD (18:25): If we were to address directly the decision makers within organizations who would possibly appoint a CXO within their company, what departments do you think should answer, if any, to the chief experience officer? What areas of the organization should they– and I’m asking you this because someone asked me this the other week and I didn’t know the answer so..
JP (18:49): Well, one of the things to consider is whether or not the CXO position, I know some that are run this way, that are both focused on the employee experience as well as the customer experience, right? If that’s the case, then yes, you’d want to make sure incorporates a HR as well. You know, what would a lot of companies do is they basically rename their chief marketing officer, chief experience officer. And that’s not necessarily the case. You know, it doesn’t have to be the way you market to customers. But the one thing that I think is most important is, well, two things actually now that I think about, but it’s really that guide function, that it’s a person that people look up to within the organization and look to, to lead the way, to be that shining example of what experiences are all about. And then I think ideally to be the one who is in charge of experience offerings. That as you create new offerings, you know, you may still have operations over there doing manufacturing or doing service provisioning and so forth. But then when it comes time to the experience offerings that are distinct from those, then put those under under the CXO.
MD (20:07): So not necessarily overseeing HR, overseeing marketing, but kind of capturing where this all overlaps perhaps?
JP (20:17): Right, and be in control of the white spaces in between.
MD (20:21): But mainly designing those experiences. That would be the main role.
JP (20:27): Yeah. I recently did a private experience economy expert certification course, for example, for a hospital. And what they did is they created a center of expertise under the head of experience, about six people that were all in the class. And these are the ones that are responsible for understanding what it’s all about, for changing vocabulary, for championing the concept in the company and then spreading the word. And then when anybody has any question, any issue, any tasks, and they can use these as sort of internal consultants. And then the rest of the class we’re all a single person basically at every hospital or every medical office that that this company had. And so they reported to the head of the hospital, for example, but then maintain that horizontal relationship with the center of expertise around experience staging. And that can be a great way to do it.
MD (21:21): Now, in every big organization, there has to be some way to control how the customer is actually perceiving those experiences. So what would you recommend as a good way to metrify whether or not customers are actually even enjoying that experience, if it’s working, if you’re doing the right things, if you’re stimulating the right things.
JP (21:41): Well, you do need different measurements. You know, in the standard measurements of customer satisfaction, of NPS, they really don’t cut it because they don’t give you the information at a granular enough level to really know how you’re doing with the experience. And all the measurements, I will say, at this stage of the experience economy, are more art than science, right? But you’re the number one thing to measure is,, in fact time well spent. Are people valuing the time? Now there’s different ways to do that. They say at at Disney that the way Walt Disney used to measure the experience of Disneyland was he would start at the Gates at closing time and walk back into the park. Cause everybody else was walking back out of the park and then measured by the smiles on people’s faces. And now there’s actually, technology allows you to do that, you can actually get a video of people that are in the experience. And you can analyze that using technology to say, what is the emotion that they’re actually feeling right now? You can also do sentiment analysis on their social media posting, on their comments, on anything else that they’re doing. And if there’s verbal things that they’re saying in the park, you could do that as well. And there’s technology to help you to do that. You can start by simply measuring the amount of time. One client of mine knows how long people tend to spend in particular experiences and they can measure how long each individual does and they know that, okay, if you spend longer than average, then chances are it’s because you actually enjoyed it more than average and viewed it more as time well spent. And they can then use that to better customize experiences in the future to give you more of what you want. And there’s also a company I’ve worked with called Immersion Neuro that actually has Fitbit-like devices that they can put on your forearm and can measure your level of immersion in the experience, which is really about how much are you engaged in that experience and then measure it over time. And you could do this on a sampling basis where you just take certain people and sample it or you know, for smaller experiences you can put it on everybody, you know, eventually you like, you know, in theme parks where they’re actually creating wrist devices and so forth, it started with a magic band at Disney, then you add that functionality to it and then be able to actually measure time well spent. So that’s one of the key things.
MD (24:15): That’s really interesting actually because it reminds me of one aspect of hospitality that has to do with the experience, which is dining out restaurants. And for people who have been in other parts of the world, dining is very experiential there. There are courses, sometimes in good restaurants there are five courses. It’s a very leisurely experience where you’re savoring the food, etc. And here in the US there is kind of a staccato rhythm to it, where you sit down, you get your apps, you get your entrees, you get your dessert and then you go. You know, so–
JP (24:49): I’ve argued with people, I go to Europe a lot, and I’ve argued with people, they talk about how much food American Americans eat. And I said, we don’t eat any more food than you do at restaurants. We just get it all at once. You spread it out over four hours. So it doesn’t seem that bad.
JP (25:06): But it’s very true that, like I personally love to just sit at a table for hours and just forget about time. And that’s something that I think that here in the US if they had restaurants that did do that, it could become an experience that restaurants get upcharge for. If you put a higher price tag to something, but people aren’t concerned about the waiter putting that check in front of you and saying, no rush here. I just wanted to leave this for your convenience. (Please leave right away). That’s something that that can, that can be evaluated as well. And I love that you said that by measuring time you can see how how immersed people are in the experience by seeing how much time they spend in that experience. And it reminded me, Toys R Us did come out with an experience that they’re charging an entry fee for.
MD (25:57): Oh yeah. What’s, what’s that?
MD (26:00): They have like a road show thing. Kind of like candytopia that goes from city to city.
JP (26:08): Oh so it’s a pop-up.
MD (26:08): Yeah. And you go in and there’s giant toys and there’s like a marshmallow pool and et cetera, et cetera. And they’re charging a fee for that. So maybe they did listen to that as well.
JP (26:19): Well I’m going to have to check that out cause I did not, I did not see that one. So, but you bring up a very important point that we haven’t talked about, which is that to economically be in the experience business, you in fact have to charge for the time. Because that’s what people value. You know, most companies, they give away the next level of value in order to better sell what they have today. You know, Starbucks charges a premium for the coffee. They don’t charge for the time you spend in the place. But increasingly what we see is retailers and restaurants, you know, cafes and bars, tourism areas, manufacturers from any branded experiences and on and on the list go, are actually charging admission for the experience because that’s what tells you it’s economically an experience, is charging for time. So the amount you charge for the time people spend in fact becomes a great measure of your actual experience too. In the rerelease of the experience economy. You know, just this month, uh, we rereleased it in hardcover with a new preview based on the subtitle of competing for customer time, attention and money. And we do talk, the last section on money, is about measuring your experience based off money, about charging for time. And so we introduced a new concept there. We call it “the money value of time”, Everybody’s familiar with the time value of money, but the money value of time is basically the expenditure per minute that people are paying. So if you go to a movie, and pay $12, let’s say, as sort of an average price for a two hour experience, that works out to be 10 cents per minute, that every minute of that movie, there was a dime that goes by, that gets you up to that $12 in 120 minutes. You go to a Disney theme parks though it’s on the order of 20 cents per minute that you’re paying. That tells you how much better the experience is. Some of these popups, like you’re talking about, like the museum of ice cream and candytopia and so forth, they’re up around 40 cents per minute. They’re double Disney prices, because of the value that people get. Now it’s a much shorter experience, you wouldn’t be able to spend a full day in there, but you could imagine a place where you had various one of these and and and get there. So measuring your MVT, your money value of time, is a great way also of understanding how great an experience you really truly have. Oh, and then that’s just the admission fee. That doesn’t include your food and beverage, the memorabilia you buy. You know, you add all that because some places are much better at selling memorabilia, including food and beverage and so forth. So often you can get up into the dollar permitted or more territory.
MD (28:45): Yeah. So that’s really important actually. So in order for it to be an economically viable thing that you have to add a price tag to the time.
JP (28:55): Exactly, exactly. Directly for the time. Cause you have to align what people value with what you’re charging.
MD (29:30): So do you think that Toys R Us, like you said, and a lot of other companies, kind of missed that one crucial element right there?
JP (29:37): They did. They did. You know when we first started talking about this, that was the thing we got the most pushback on. Like well it’s crazy to charge admission in a retail store. Well you know what was the first one that did it? American girl places. And one, why? It’s the manufacturer that had gotten into retail. Most of the manufacturers when they get into retail, they understand it. That’s why you’ve got the Heineken experience in Amsterdam. The Guinness, I was in the Guinness storehouse in Dublin three weeks ago, which has an MVT of over 30 cents per minute, with a 25 euros for about a 90 minute experience. Volkswagen has auto stock, Swarovsi has a crystal world experience in Austria. The world of Coca Cola in Atlanta, and on and on the list can go, Manufacturers get it more than retailers do. And I don’t know why that is.
MD (30:27): Yeah. But do you think that, like for manufacturers, other than companies that make this their bread and butter like Disney, like these popups like Meow Wolf, et cetera, that they’re providing these amazing experiences, they have to continually innovate to get people to come back because that offer expires so quickly. If you’ve gone once and you’ve lived that experience and you don’t need to do it again. So with manufacturers, don’t you think that maybe they need to get that memo as well? Like, you know, I live in Atlanta. I went to the world of Coca Cola one time, and very begrudgingly every time after that when I have family and stuff in town.
JP (31:06): Absolutely you need to refresh the experience. You think again about Disney theme parks, any theme park for that matter, right? You know, every week they’re repainting things, you basically start at the beginning and you start painting and you go all the way to the end. So at least it has that freshness to it. And when you’re done, you start over again. But then you need, every year, to come out with a new ride and you need, every couple of years to come out with a big thing like a new hotel or some other huge attraction and you need every five or 10 years to come out with an entirely new land that you do from scratch. So, absolutely, you need to refresh the experience. You need to continue to innovate. You know, that’s the nature of business. If you stop innovating, eventually you die. It’s as simple as that. You have to keep innovating. And what companies need to do today is innovate. Not just in goods and services but innovate in experiences.
MD (32:00): So let’s take a manufacturer that has nothing to do with experiences, let’s say. At at a first glance. Let’s use Nike as an example. So if Nike were to do the experience economy properly, they would create a gym? A Nike sports center?
JP (32:17): Well one is, yes, they could do that. They very much could do that. And you could think about all of the fitness centers out there and how they could really turn that model on its head of where they make money actually when people become fit rather than taking people’s money when they sign up after their new year’s resolution and then don’t use it for months. Two is I think for Nike, it’s a membership club that they ought to have a membership club, that people belong to the club, and they get access to stuff earlier than everybody else does. But they also get get benefits about being able to use Nike plus and get coaching and so forth. You know, virtual coaching would be a key part of that. And then their own places would become more experiential. You know, the original Nike towns, right, you have to go back like 25 years were incredibly experiential. They had people queuing up in front to be able to get in. I remember the one in Chicago where you actually could play basketball in the store and do these other things that were were experiences, but over time the merchandise and kept creeping up on the floor and so forth and basically took over. Well now they’re starting to get —
MD (33:27): Yeah but now they have that again. They’re doing it again, but they’re not charging a fee for it, which is how my mind is working here.
JP (33:33): Cause yeah, they don’t quite get that aspect because they often think, well, it’ll turn people away, then they won’t come. But what you’ve done is you’ve just made a qualified buyer. If they’re willing to pay a fee, right, these people are qualified, these people are dedicated, they’re in the market, and then it sends a signal that this is a place worth experiencing, which giving away stuff for free absolutely does not. And it gives you the wherewithal then to be able to make it a great experience. It’s why all that merchandise and the old Nike towns continually impinged upon the basketball courts and the other experiences, because they weren’t making money off of it. So we had to increase our merchandising. Right? And that’s the death knell of the actual experience that people would love to have in your stores.
MD (34:17): And I’ve got one final question, which may absolutely fit, itt may not, which is how time is becoming a lot more scarce. So people have much less time. So can that hinder the model or is it mostly beneficial?
JP (34:31): Well, number one, that’s actually not true.
MD (34:36): You know what, as I was saying it…
JP (34:43): People say this all the time. So number one, of course, it’s not true because we all have 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Right? So in that sense it’s not true, but we often think that you sort of like usable time, leisure time is more scarce because we’re working so hard and all that sort of stuff. And that’s not true either. I’ve read studies, you know, I just finished a book a couple of months ago called Pressed for Time that is all about this. And I’m reading another one right now, and the studies show that in fact we do have more leisure time than we used to. I mean, you can go back a hundred years and we’ve got gobs more because we’ve got things like dishwashers and–
MD (35:18): Roombas.
JP (35:18): Right, Roombas. And we don’t have to catch the chicken and cut its neck off and pluck its feathers for dinner. Right? We have tons of more time than we used to
MD (35:26): And fight off the wild wolves and other predators, right?
JP (35:31): Right, but here’s the main difference. We make so much more money than we used to in our developed world that the value our time is so much higher and that’s what makes the time seem scarce. Cause our time is much more valuable. We understand the opportunity costs of our time, whether that’s somebody like me who, you know, works out of my home when I’m out on the road working with clients and therefore like, do I want to go and golf this afternoon? Well, not today in Minnesota but you know, in the summer, do I want to go golf this afternoon or do I want to spend my time in trying to do business development? And, and create more work. Well there’s a trade off there. And if I feel like, well, I really want to golf, but you know, my time’s too valuable to not spend this half day doing business development, then I’m making that trade off and it feels like time is more scarce and that’s the way it is for everybody. The other key thing, this is something else we point out in the new edition to the book, is that the smart phone is the number one competitor for customer attention. And we have so much more competition for that time. We have this explosion of experiences both in the real world and then through the smartphone and our laptops, et cetera, through the digital world. That huge increase in competition makes it feel like time’s more scarce because we have so many more options of how we could spend that time.
MD (36:49): So does that just mean that we have to work so much harder in creating experiences that are actually worth it?
JP (36:55): Yes. Yeah. Because you’re now competing against the world for customer time, attention, and money.
MD (37:03): So the core element really just is, it’s not about people not having time, it’s just about being the most worth it option.
JP (37:09): Exactly. Exactly. And that’s what you’re competing for, is their time. And they understand that and they value it more highly.
MD (37:16): So Joe, Harvard press relaunched experience economy on its 20th anniversary. It came out again. The message is as relevant as ever. How can people buy the book? Amazon?
JP (37:27): The easiest way is to buy it on Amazon. And you can go directly to Harvard. You can go to Barnes and Noble and anywhere else that you want. But it’s always, you know, one click ordering time, well saved right there, boom. Done. Convenient.
MD (37:42): And when it comes to the chief experience officer, I know that you have dedicated time and resources into to making this a program.
JP (37:49): Yeah. And on our website, it’s strategichorizons.com, I’ve got a thoughts post up there, a blog posts we call thoughts, that talks about these roles of the CXOs. You can see the framework, the two by two, which we defined four of those five roles and get a link to the full article if you want to take a look at that. And then we also offer our experience economy expert certification course. I mentioned a private one earlier. We have a public course that we do every August here in the Minneapolis area. And we’ve also come out this year with an offering called Onstage that’s a frontline video training offering that brings your ideas down to where frontline staff can develop ideas for what they can do to create a better experience, share them and then apply them. And you know, where it actually matters most is the direct interaction that they have with customers.
MD (38:38): That’s awesome. And I know that you’re very active on social media cause that’s where I connect with you. So LinkedIn, Twitter, where’s the best place to find you?
JP (38:45): LinkedIn. I’m happy to connect with anybody. And then Twitter, @Joepine, and you can search me on LinkedIn. There’s a contact page on our website that we come out with an occasional newsletter of articles that we think are interesting around experiences. You can sign up there as well.
MD (39:05): Awesome. Well thank you so much for being on. I hope that our listeners find this as valuable as I did. It was a great way to spend my afternoon.
JP (39:11): Alright, thanks Mary. I appreciate the opportunity.
Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at survey tech startup Worthix, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.