The Experience Economy: Why I Can’t Sell My China

My husband and I are on a quest to downsize and get rid of “stuff” that serves no purpose in our lives. This includes our two sets of beautiful Wedgwood china that we lovingly chose many years ago. But, to our dismay, no one wants it. Not even our sons. And it’s not just me. My friends who share a few gray hairs are experiencing the same.

It turns out the world has changed dramatically since our young days of hedonistic consumerism. And it’s probably changed forever. What’s going on? Consider the following:

According to Business Insider, millennial home ownership is at an all-time low. In fact, according to Trulia, 71% of millennials surveyed regret the purchase in the first place. They simply don’t like the debt, and they regret investing money into a permanent home. Furthermore, they are moving to smaller urban spaces that do not allow for the “collection of stuff.” In other words, “things” don’t matter.
The obsession with Tiny Houses. I can count at least four television shows that promote this streamlined type of living. Personally, I’m obsessed with the idea. According to a ValueInsured survey, millennials are not investing in large homes. And even more surprising, it’s the baby boomers who are more likely to purchase lower-priced homes.

What’s going on? People (not just millennials) are moving toward collecting experiences over things. The “Experience Economy” values more time with family and more money to travel, as well as more time and money to experience all that life might offer. Something other than things. In fact, one could argue that we are a society looking to simplify, even moving toward a minimalist lifestyle. What’s even more telling is the fact that our digital world takes the place of stuff we needed in the past (storage for CDs, for example).

Recently, I was sitting around a C-level roundtable discussing this very topic, and one gentleman even claimed that the move toward “experiences” is for social bragging rights. You’ve seen it – pictures of food, concerts, vacations, etc. – all over social media. Whatever the reason, the Experience Economy is here.

So, if you are a brand like Road Scholar, you are in pretty good shape. But what about the rest of you? Brands that listen to consumers and find opportunities among their evolving wants and needs, rather than in spite of them, are the ones winning today. Consider Nordstrom and their “tiny store” model that offers experiences over shopping. Or Bonobos, who has created a unique retail experience in which you cannot walk out the door with merchandise. Or even ThirstyNest who offers personalized wine gifts to newlyweds who are interested in creating memories over filling up a china cabinet.

So, with smaller living spaces and fewer dollars being spent on things, what’s a brand to do? Ask yourself the following three questions:

How do my products create an experience or enrich the lives of my customers? If you sell puzzles, shouldn’t you really be selling family time, allowing loved ones to gather together and enjoy each other? If it’s a pair of shoes, are they comfortable enough for someone to enjoy the concert they’re attending, or are they lightweight and easy to pack for their next adventure? It’s critical you change the selling benefits of products to reflect how the world has changed.

Are you evolving your product line to reflect the down-sizing of America or the Experience Economy? Are you moving toward products that provide simplicity, efficiency or multi-use? Or, are you developing products that provide unique experiences and allow for social bragging? A word of caution: Just because you have a best-seller today doesn’t mean it will fit into the lifestyle of your customer tomorrow. Evolve!

Have you considered out-of-the-box ideas or shopping experiences with a unique twist that your customer will appreciate? I’m sure there was a time we might have laughed at brands like Bonobos, but who’s laughing now? And didn’t we think continuity programs were dead? Nope. Consider brands like Blue Apron, Birchbox or Stitch Fix that have turned consumerism into a streamlined experience.

Unfortunately, marketing has become more difficult! But, only if you are thinking about selling “things.” People don’t need or want your things anymore. The sharp marketers of tomorrow will be the ones who understand this strange new world we live in and wrap their products into experiences. As for my china? I’m going to change my Letgo description to: the perfect set of breakable dishes for your next Greek gathering.

The Austrian Oak’s Brilliant Positioning Secret

People think that Arnold was the luckiest bastard alive especially considering his “subpar,” acting in his earlier movies and somehow he became famous overnight.

But that’s not the case at all.

His first movie was Hercules in New York and that movie was horrible but I digress.

Let’s get to it.

Arnold moved to the US in 1968, couldn’t speak a lick of English, became a world champion bodybuilder and then an iconic movie star.

But yet what people don’t know is that when Arnold landed his first movie role he was already damn successful.

He had a brilliant mind for business that no one could match.

When he was 21 Arnold started his first business in the Hollywood Hills.

He noticed a demand for bricklayers around the high-end homes and also noticed the “keeping up with the Jones,” mentality.

He formed his own bricklaying company with his bodybuilding friends and demand for his company skyrocketed.

His business wasn’t much different from the other bricklaying companies around YET they couldn’t get the same high paying gigs that Arnold got.

And that brings me to ANOTHER point…
… Arnold charged MORE for his bricklaying services and people PAID for them.

There was nothing special about what Arnold’s business. They did the exact same work as other bricklaying businesses…
… YET..

HE STILL CHARGED MORE.

AND…
… PEOPLE WERE WILLING TO PAY!

Why?

Why did Arnold get more business than the other bricklaying companies? He wasn’t known among the other bricklayers.

Why was he able to charge more?

The answer…
..Positioning.

Positioning allows ANY business the ability to compete in an evergreen cut throat market.

Now more than ever as more and more businesses pop up, having a damn good position is more important than ever.

It’s no longer enough to just launch a product and hope for the best.

Right now if you are a business owner, you aren’t thinking about positioning but you’re about your competitors sweeping in like a thief in the night and stealing away your business.

So here’s a quick easy way to establish a fast Position in your market..

STAND OUT.

Arnold’s Bricklaying business stood out because he positioned the business as a European Bricklaying Company.

But it wasn’t just how he positioned his company as a European Bricklayers, he hired his bodybuilding friends. Now imagine a group of large muscle bound men laying bricks in and around the neighborhood. That’s an image that stands out!

HIGH PRICES.

People believe that high prices means HIGH VALUE(including yours truly.) Depending on the market and your product you can charge a higher price.

In Arnold’s position he could have charged whatever he wanted and people would have still paid for it.

He worked around the Hollywood Hills area and we all know how slick and rich that place is.

Arnold KNEW the market around that area and knew that people would be willing to pay for a European Bricklaying Company.

Even if Arnold couldn’t become an action star he had he business chops and know how to fall back on.

He’s said it in the past that he probably would have built several multi million dollar companies if he wasn’t acting.

How Much Should You Spend On A Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaign?

Running a business is really hard work, and even for those of you out there who have multiple businesses, the work does not necessarily get easier. Not only are you dealing with the day-to-day operations of what your industry is, but you are also navigating the 21st century in terms of spreading the word about your business, and this will undoubtedly include a pay-per-click advertising campaign.

As companies have begun to understand what it means to be relevant players in the online advertising game, being able to know how best to drive traffic to their website is critical for success. Moreover, not only is the initial push of traffic vital, but there is a need to understand what it takes to maintain a static ad campaign. In today’s world of online advertising and marketing, clicks are what it is all about. There’s just one problem – how exactly does a business’s advertising budget factor into funding a successful pay-per-click advertising campaign?

The truth is that all businesses struggle with making sure their advertising budget is efficiently spent and that there is a worthwhile return on investment. Thus, the question comes up about the amount of money that should be spent when it comes to a pay-per-click advertising campaign.

Here are a few things to consider:

Determination of Goals – What’s it all about for your business? Numbers of leads or sales per ad dollars? Knowing what you want & what means the most to your business is the best guide.

Find Out Where You Can Save Money – Advertising experts note that only about 25% of small businesses are active in their PPC accounts. Getting your hands a little dirty may actually save you money because you’re taking the time to see where issues have arisen & trying to nip them in the bud before they become problems.

Factor in Room for Errors or Changes – Advertising budgets need some room to maneuver so that changes can be made when necessary. A dynamic advertising plan is always vital for any business because standing still without financial wiggle room means you get left behind.

Have An Actual Budget From Which to Work – Perhaps the most important part of any pay-per-click advertising campaign, businesses need to have a budget from the beginning. This lets you know how much you can spend & allocate funds for changes that may come up.

As with most things pertaining to advertising and marketing, determining a specific dollar amount to be spend on your business’s per-per-click advertising campaign is not an exact science. Full disclosure: there are a number of websites that provide their versions of equations to give you a ballpark figure, but again, it’s all an estimation. In the end, knowing what best works for your company’s advertising dollars is teaming up with a killer advertising agency that can get a handle on your business, understand your needs, and help you put together a plan to make every advertising dollar work for you.