Companies try to fit in with millennial’s experience economy

Angelica Cataldo, Columnist

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We live in an experience economy. Don’t know what that is? Ask a millennial. CNBC, Forbes Magazine and even the New York Times have recognized that selling an experience is much more beneficial than just selling a product.

The term “experience economy” was coined in 1998 by business writers Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore to describe the era that followed the agrarian, industrial and service economy. Pine and Gilmore’s logic says businesses need make memorable events for customers because that adds more value to whatever it is they are trying to sell.

Many economists say that this economic mentality has forced many clothing brands aimed at young consumers to adapt and even file for chapter 11.

Despite my generation entering the working world worried about the job availability and their own financial stability, finding the “experience” is not a terrible way to want to live. We are one of the few generations who are not afraid of change, and now businesses must find a way to reach the millennial experience-centered mindset.

Yes, we still want fancy televisions and cars, but the reason we want them has changed. We don’t want just any car, we want cars that match our individual values whether it be environmental or economical. We don’t want to just travel and site see, we want to experience the world around us. Our purchasing habits mirror our individual needs, not just a general audience.

One of the best examples of a business fulfilling this economy is Disney. When you travel to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, you are not just going in and out of the parks having only ridden a few rides and seen a few characters. Disney makes sure when you go to visit their theme parks you are enthralled in the world they are trying to create within them. Disney makes it so that the outside world hardly exists when you are in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Sounds over the top, right?

Today, people eat this concept up. No one wants to spend a fortune at Disney just to ride a few rides and leave. They want to see the movies come to life and they want to experience Disney, full-throttle.

This same concept can be used for any other product. People, especially millennials, want memories and an Instagram post. If you can’t make the product memorable or let customers tailor a product to fit their individual needs, I can almost guarantee it won’t fit this “new” economy.

I know I would rather spend the money to go hiking in the mountains of Colorado than buy a brand new car or TV.

Maybe our generation has tossed aside materialistic mentalities and has embraced the “you only live once” idea in a more healthy way. Maybe this “experience” mindset is a step in the right direction.

Angelica Cataldo is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].