When people buy from us, they buy more than our products, our services or our labor; they’re buying an experience. With some purchases that’s more obvious–say, a Disney vacation or a shopping trip to Nordstrom–than others–say, a new printer for the office or bookkeeping services. But the desire for an experience is still there.
When we forget about the experience, and focus solely on our product, we often strip away why people buy from us in the first place.
Here are two examples I recently experienced:
Dark Star Orchestra, or DSO, is a Grateful Dead cover band, but not just any Dead cover band. Their claim to fame is that they recreate a specific set, such as the 11/30/73 show from the Boston Music Hall, song-for-song, in the style of the Dead from that period of time. In other words, they’re more than a cover band, they replicate a specific moment in time.
I had never seen them, so when a bunch of friends bought tickets for their recent House of Blues show in Boston, I made the trip down there. At dinner before the show I was told that they have recently been playing some “original” set lists, which was a bit disappointing. Unfortunately, that night was an original set list, with songs from the 70′s through the 90′s.
Now, I can understand that if you’re a creative musician, that playing in a group-specific cover band can be, well, restrictive. So playing in a cover band where you don’t even get to choose the set list could be soul crushing. But that’s what side projects are for. Or, say that Tuesdays are “original” set nights, so people know what to expect when they come in.
If I want to see live Dead performed, I can just go down to the nearest college bar on a Saturday night; I was looking for a specific experience which I didn’t get.
Pabst Blue Ribbon, or PBR, or Pabst, is a good, cheap beer. It’s better than Bud, better than Miller, and it’s cheap. (Did I mention that already?) In fact, nothing follows a glass of single-malt scotch better than a 16oz can of Pabst, aka the PBR Pounder (IMHO). However, as I listened to National Public Radio, or NPR, the other day, I heard a story about how PBR was moving their headquarters to LA.
Not that I have anything against LA per se, but as I’m hanging out in my favorite hipster joint and I reach down for my PBR Pounder I don’t want to have images in my head of Hollywood, palm trees, or worse: Kobe Bryant.
Now, as far as I know it’s not the brewing or bottling that’s moving to LA, just the corporate headquarters. It won’t change the taste of the beer, but it will change the experience of the beer for me and many others who like it’s blue collar vibe. Let’s face it: a lot of PBR is consumed because of its cult status…something that may well be lost when they relocate.
What’s the Takeaway?
I feel too many of us–especially those of us in the B2B space–focus too much on the physical product or the exact service that we bring to market, and not how our customers will experience our offerings. We need to remember that even in B2B, it’s people who are making the buying decisions, and we need to know what experiences they’re expecting and deliver on those expectations.
Have you had a good or bad experience recently with a product or service? Would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Jeff Ruane