Interview: Joe Pine on how to Stage (Digital) Marketing Performances

You’re competing with the rest of the world for valuable time with your customers. You must stage marketing experiences to generate demand. But how, what, and when?

Joe Pine, co-author of The Experience Economy and Infinite Possibility, explains that everybody has a desire for authentic experiences, but you can’t sell experiences because they aren’t a ‘thing’! Experiences happen inside of you. It’s your reaction to the events that are staged in front of s. Work is theatre and your business is a stage.

Last month the internationally acclaimed speaker, author and management consultant Joe Pine visit Performance Solutions to celebrate the fifth edition of its biennial Experience Engineers Event. So how do you stage (digital) marketing performances?

Many people find experience an abstract concept. How do you define an experience? What boxes does or should an experience tick?

Experiences are memorable events that engage each individual in an inherently personal way. The first key really is engagement, reaching inside people and captivating them in some way.

The second is memorability; if your customers (I like to call them “guests”) do not remember the encounter, then it wasn’t a distinctive experience. And the third is time – getting your customers to want to spend time with you, and viewing it as time well spent.

More and more companies hire CXOs, or Chief Experience Officers. Despite the uptake of experience on a C-level, people often consider experience a trend that will pass. What problems do organizations bring up during your workshops? What is your advice for organizations who want to get involved with experience?

Businesses need to understand that this is certainly not a trend; it is a fundamental change in the very fabric of the economy. If you do not shift up what we call the Progression of Economic Value, then your goods and services will eventually be commoditized.

So it starts with mindset, realizing your business is one of staging experiences. For service companies, think of it as the difference between “what” and “how”. What is the functional activities you must do; how you go about doing them can turn any mundane interaction into an engaging encounter.

Marketing experiences often look great on the drawing table, but the translation from concept to reality doesn’t always run smooth. What role do you see for (team) leaders in staging marketing experiences? What are your tips?

First, team leaders should recognize that they are creating and staging an experience, meaning they have to design all the elements to come together to create a certain set of impressions in guests’ minds.

So they should come up with a compelling theme for the experience that makes it cohesive. It does not have to be as “in your face” as a theme restaurant, nor fantasy-like as with a Disney theme park. It is simply the organizing principle for the experience, enabling you to decide what is in the experience and what is out.

And after embracing theatre with the what/how distinction above, among the many other experience principles I could name I recommend this: charge admission. Align what you charge for – the time guests spend with you – with what those guests value, that’s time well spent.

You’ve brought your theory about the experience economy well into the 21st century by adding digital experience in the mix: you call this the multiverse. Today’s virtual gadgets are iBeacons and the Oculus rift, which are additions rather than fundamental changes to our non-digital nature. How do you see the future of the multiverse? And what role do you see for augmented reality?

I do think the time spent in an Oculus Rift and future devices (see: Microsoft’s HoloLensMagic Leap’s “cinematic reality” and more to come) may very well lead to a change in our non-digital nature! But do not think my Multiverse framework is a plea to abandon reality, for it will always provide the richest of experiences.

The future, though, will involve using digital technology to create experiences that fuse the virtual and the real, as augmented reality does. The richest of experiences will be those that embrace all the dimensions of the Multiverse – digital and material substances, real and virtual places, actual and autonomous events – to create experiences that have never before been envisioned, engendered, nor encountered. For with the Multiverse we are limited only by our imagination. And of that there is no end.

And we must say that we are curious… What’s YOUR most remarkable paid for experience?

Well, of all time I would have to say being at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach (my favorite spot in the world) and seeing Tiger Woods beat the field by an utterly amazing 15 strokes. With my wife there to enjoy it with me, it was heaven.

Thank you, Joe! You were a great guest and speaker.

Do you want to turn your business into an experience? Performance Solutions is working on a Customer Experience Theatre Show. Send us a message we will keep you updated on its development. Bookable after summer!

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