People buy experiences, not products

At Adobe Summit 2018, Adobe EVP and GM for digital experience Brad Rencher challenged brand marketers to “make experience your business.”  2018 was the year when marketers, chief experience officers, and leaders across business organizations, started to get it that people buy experiences, not products.

Rencher asserted that while the good folks at Adobe have spent a ton of time thinking about the types of experience customers want and need, he said, “. . . we need to change from experience thinkers to experience makers. We need to be customer-obsessed, not customer-centric.”

Okay, now that sounds good. Being customer-obsessed means you are REALLY serious about it, right? To the point of being a little crazy about it. And that’s probably a good thing in most cases. 

But here’s the thing: you have to ask yourself, what are you really obsessed about? How do you know what that is? Do you know your customer that well? How do you know if you do or not? Do you talk with each of your customers every day to know? 

Now you are probably saying, of course not. How could I possibly do that?

The typical answers are: with standard VoC surveys or more targeted methods like feedback from your frontline employees. Yes, they work to some extent, but can they scale? Do they cover the waterfront? 

So how do you know your customer so well you are totally aligned with them and their experience of you is totally aligned with their business life?

You get to know that with intelligent software agents. You know, the chatbot—conversational commerce, some people call it. But that term cheapens and discounts the true potential of these intelligent software agents. It’s the conversation that counts, where you learn in real-time and first hand through the chatbot what is on your customer’s mind, what propels them to do the things they do and you will learn exactly how they are experiencing your company. Not just your customer service, or your products, your services, but experiencing your company within every facet of their business. 

These software intelligent agents, these chatbots, are the conversation conductors for the artificial intelligence that takes that information and transforms it for the enterprise so that the humans at the enterprise make intelligent choices on behalf of their customers. AI gets at least 10 times the information and does this at least 10 times faster than humans, empowering the human in your business to do the human things they need to do, and not the things that machines do better. 

That is the opportunity in this new world where people buy experiences, not products. 

About the Author

Glenn McCreedy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Inara AI—a technologist, digital publishing professional, and entrepreneur with expertise in marketing, product development, and team leadership.

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