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The Experience Economy: A book review by Bob Morris

The Experience Economy, With a New Preface by the Authors: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money
B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore
Harvard Business Review Press (October 2019)

How and why time has become the currency of experiences

This review is of the second updated edition of a book (first published in 1999) in which Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore develop in much greater depth brilliant insights that were introduced in a Harvard Business Review article (1998). During the past 20 years, I think that competition for customer time, attention, and money has become at least 20 times more difficult. According to Pine and Gilmore, time is the currency of experiences. “Several factors account for this competition for time. (See Pages ix-x)

“Think of it this way: How and why “services are about time well saved, while experiences are about time well spent.”

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also liusted to suggest the scope of Pine and Gilmore’s coverage:

o Capturing attention with experiences (Pages xiv-xxi)
o (xxviii-xxix)
o Disney (3-4, 61-62, 83-84, and 185-186)
o Selling process (6-7, 166-167, 174-175, and 177-178)
o Wrapping services around core goods (12-13 and 18-19)

o Stage experiences (35-36 and 145-147)
o The four realms of experience (40-49)
o Designing/combining multi-realm experiences (49-56)
o Cues (69-72)

o Ritz-Carlton hotels (73-76)
o Engage the Five Senses (77-80)
o Collaborative Responses to Various Kinds of Sacrifices (116-121)
o The Act of Acting (135-!58)
o Progressive Field, Cleveland (136-137 and 156-157)

o Aristotle on plot and drama (!39-141)
o (147-155 and 183-211)
o Actors (159-165)
o Improv theatre (163-169)
o Forms of theatre and scripts (163-181)

o Matching theatre (172-175)
o Hiring (184-185, 204-205, and 206-208)
o Technicians in theatre (196-207)
o Putting Wisdom into Work (244-248)
o New landscapes in competition (256-258)

To paraphrase one of Maya Angelou’s most valuable insights, customers will forget what you tell them, they will forget what you do, but customers will never forget how you make them feel when they do business with you. That really is the “secret sauce” when competing for their time, attention, and money.

In this updated edition of their classic work, Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore share what they have learned in recent years about gaining customers’ attention so they will spend more time with your business and, in process, spend more money on what you offer. That’s the WHAT and it hasn’t changed much during the last twenty years.

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