Director’s Circle – What does it take to have an experience economy?
What is the value of an experience? There is the cost of the ticket, cost of travel, cost of food and beverages before, during or after, cost of the outfit (because obviously, you have to get a new one). It generally adds up anywhere between $300 – $500 for one experience and that’s on the cheaper end. But when we think of an experience we aren’t thinking about the dollars it takes to make it happen, we’re thinking of the people we are going to see, the pictures we want to take, how many likes those pictures are going to get on social media. There is so much more to the experience economy than dollars and cents.
Experiences are memorable, sharable and personally engaging – everything generations are starting to want. Let’s look at some numbers from our Mainstreet Now Conference.
• 78% of millennials are willing to spend their money on experiences compared to material things.
• Experience spending tends to be 4X more than material spending ($30 dress = no thanks, $120 Kingfish tickets = yes please!)
• 69% of people, in general, feel more connected to their community by attending social events
So what does this mean for us?
We can drive more traffic, more awareness, and more engagement by giving people a chance to experience downtown Kenosha. It doesn’t have to be expensive, a lot of it can be done through in-kind partnerships. Do you have a cool space? Ask a local fitness instructor if they’ll teach a class. Do you have great food? Ask a local musician if they’ll play in your space. Have a projector? Throw a themed movie night where people can dress up in characters and watch the film. (Or just offer for people to dress in theme and shop, who doesn’t love playing dress up?)
Are You Ready to Leverage the Economy? Here are a few pointers:
Before the event:
Determine your audience – Think of your ideal friend that would fall in love with your plan and show up, that’s your model. Now ask their opinion on design, word choice, etc. (or Facebook stalk them because that’s a thing too)
Market the experiences – Facebook Events is an excellent platform to build broad awareness “organically” (a.k.a. free, as in zero dollars spent). You can also submit events to the calendar on our website, linked to the Visitor’s Bureau and Kenosha News.
Share, Share, Share – Ask your friends to share, ask your coworkers to share, ask us to share! This is how organic posts go viral.
During the event:
Engage with your clientele – Let your audience get to know your distinct experience. This goes beyond customer service; you deserve to show off how you stand out to make a lasting impression.
Document the experiences – This is the best way to market your event the next time it’s happening, find a friend who is good with a camera to take some candid pictures, better yet, do a mini giveaway and ask people to “submit your picture using #(insert catchy, unique phrase here)” People love to win free things and you’ll have a room full of photographers doing the leg work for you.
After the event:
Get feedback – Regardless of how you feel the event went, it matters what people felt. You may have noticed every detail that wasn’t perfect but chances are your audience didn’t have a clue. Figure out what they thought and ask if they have ideas to make it better next time.
Try it again – Events grow in momentum the more people hear about them, capture those people who “wished they could have made it” but hosting the event again. If it wasn’t a riot, then switch it up a bit to work out the knots.
The experience economy is a mindset, a value of sharing rather than keeping something to ourselves. As people we naturally look for chances to connect, opportunities to be part of a group that we identify with. The primary goal is creating an environment where people can share a moment that they wouldn’t have otherwise found. And with Downtown Kenosha being such a vibrant place and culture, we are confident that we can share this for visitors to come.