Way back in 1998 a couple of consultants coined the term "the experience economy" and urged companies to offer interesting and unique experiences in addition to products and services.
According to the consultants:
"an experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event."
While the experience economy gained some traction in the late 90s and early 2000s, the advent and success of social media has driven "experiences" into the mainstream. The reason is simple - social media allows people to record their experiences and share them with the world.
And people love to share their experiences. But they also need experiences worthy of sharing - which is driving the growth of experiences that are shareable via social media.
The growth of food trucks is my favorite examples of an industry being impacted by people wanting to share experiences. There's no doubt one of the drivers of the growth of food trucks is the experience they provide and the ability for their customers to share that experience via social media.
There's a great quote from a post on the Foodess Files blog on this topic:
The recording and sharing experiences on social media is so common that people are becoming increasingly worried they are missing out.
Psychologists even have a term for this - FOMO, or the fear of missing out.
This is the apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences that you're missing out on. The number of people suffering from FOMO has dramatically increased due to the Internet and social media.
Social media, the desire to share experiences and our fear of missing out are combining to drive greater and greater interest in social media shareable experiences. Businesses that can figure out how to add shareable experiences to their product/service lines will accrue substantial benefits.