The Experience Economy: Why I Can’t Sell My China

My husband and I are on a quest to downsize and get rid of “stuff” that serves no purpose in our lives. This includes our two sets of beautiful Wedgwood china that we lovingly chose many years ago. But, to our dismay, no one wants it. Not even our sons. And it’s not just me. My friends who share a few gray hairs are experiencing the same.

It turns out the world has changed dramatically since our young days of hedonistic consumerism. And it’s probably changed forever. What’s going on? Consider the following:

According to Business Insider, millennial home ownership is at an all-time low. In fact, according to Trulia, 71% of millennials surveyed regret the purchase in the first place. They simply don’t like the debt, and they regret investing money into a permanent home. Furthermore, they are moving to smaller urban spaces that do not allow for the “collection of stuff.” In other words, “things” don’t matter.
The obsession with Tiny Houses. I can count at least four television shows that promote this streamlined type of living. Personally, I’m obsessed with the idea. According to a ValueInsured survey, millennials are not investing in large homes. And even more surprising, it’s the baby boomers who are more likely to purchase lower-priced homes.

What’s going on? People (not just millennials) are moving toward collecting experiences over things. The “Experience Economy” values more time with family and more money to travel, as well as more time and money to experience all that life might offer. Something other than things. In fact, one could argue that we are a society looking to simplify, even moving toward a minimalist lifestyle. What’s even more telling is the fact that our digital world takes the place of stuff we needed in the past (storage for CDs, for example).

Recently, I was sitting around a C-level roundtable discussing this very topic, and one gentleman even claimed that the move toward “experiences” is for social bragging rights. You’ve seen it – pictures of food, concerts, vacations, etc. – all over social media. Whatever the reason, the Experience Economy is here.

So, if you are a brand like Road Scholar, you are in pretty good shape. But what about the rest of you? Brands that listen to consumers and find opportunities among their evolving wants and needs, rather than in spite of them, are the ones winning today. Consider Nordstrom and their “tiny store” model that offers experiences over shopping. Or Bonobos, who has created a unique retail experience in which you cannot walk out the door with merchandise. Or even ThirstyNest who offers personalized wine gifts to newlyweds who are interested in creating memories over filling up a china cabinet.

So, with smaller living spaces and fewer dollars being spent on things, what’s a brand to do? Ask yourself the following three questions:

How do my products create an experience or enrich the lives of my customers? If you sell puzzles, shouldn’t you really be selling family time, allowing loved ones to gather together and enjoy each other? If it’s a pair of shoes, are they comfortable enough for someone to enjoy the concert they’re attending, or are they lightweight and easy to pack for their next adventure? It’s critical you change the selling benefits of products to reflect how the world has changed.

Are you evolving your product line to reflect the down-sizing of America or the Experience Economy? Are you moving toward products that provide simplicity, efficiency or multi-use? Or, are you developing products that provide unique experiences and allow for social bragging? A word of caution: Just because you have a best-seller today doesn’t mean it will fit into the lifestyle of your customer tomorrow. Evolve!

Have you considered out-of-the-box ideas or shopping experiences with a unique twist that your customer will appreciate? I’m sure there was a time we might have laughed at brands like Bonobos, but who’s laughing now? And didn’t we think continuity programs were dead? Nope. Consider brands like Blue Apron, Birchbox or Stitch Fix that have turned consumerism into a streamlined experience.

Unfortunately, marketing has become more difficult! But, only if you are thinking about selling “things.” People don’t need or want your things anymore. The sharp marketers of tomorrow will be the ones who understand this strange new world we live in and wrap their products into experiences. As for my china? I’m going to change my Letgo description to: the perfect set of breakable dishes for your next Greek gathering.

How to Choose a Printing Method That Proves To Be The Best For Your Business

Select Appropriate Building Material: -
The selection of the correct building material is the first step in making the printing solutions more effective and useful. New age building materials like cardboard and plastic come with custom printing options in an easy way with the help of simple resources. If designers and manufacturers utilize these options in an effective and efficient way, they can develop an innovative and eye-catching artwork designs for their item packing which give them a gorgeous look. It is been observed that while shopping when customers are walking through the aisles of the store, they just spend few seconds to look at one item placed on its racks and in those few seconds if an items catch their eye and stimulate their emotions then they make a decision in its favor and buy it. Therefore, manufacturers try their best to give their goods as attractive shape and style as they can to attract more buyers and they can do it by printing their packing boxes with interactive artworks comprises of graphics, pictures, and descriptions written in unusual text fonts. Some materials do not come with easy printing options and they are very hard to get printed. Due to this reason, makers always try to select such building materials for their product packaging which can be printed easily and they come with convenient options which allow them to make changes in their artworks according to their needs and requirements effortlessly.

Choose a Suitable Method: -
With the introduction of new and innovative printing methods, the complexion of the packaging industry has been changed completely. Different methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. It depends on the maker and its product that which methods suits them best and makes their life easy in designing their packing boxes. New age advancements in the technology and machinery bring a lot of new things in this field and totally revolutionized the printing world which one cannot imagine in the past. Modern- day techniques such as lithography, Flexography, and rotogravure has totally changed the way of designing and styling of the packing boxes and shows new directions to the makers to market their products. These methods allow them to promote their goods in the market in a better way and help them in improving their selling rate to a great extent which improves their market shares and profit margins. Some methods like rotogravure and dye transfer are useful for those manufacturers who do not want to change their packaging designs for a long period of times because it cost them too much if they keep changing them every now and then. Methods like digital printing and lithography are very effective and useful for those who want to use their item packing design for a short period of time and then keep changing it for marketing and branding purposes because these methods allow them to do that in very low-cost.

Adoption of a Cost-Effective Method: -
In today’s competitive business world, companies and top brands are struggling hard to maintain their market shares with constant growths. Everyone is looking for cheaper and economical solutions for their item packaging which can save their budgets for other things. In this regard, they are going for such printing methods which not only help them in designing beautiful artworks but also prove to be economical for them as well. Lithography is one of the best options for most of the manufacturers these days because it can be done in fewer budgets and can be used for the branding as well to promote the brand name in the market. Digital solutions are another popular method among many makers nowadays because it allows them to make changes in their artworks very easily and give them great results as well. It is best for those brands that keep changing their product packaging styles.

Allow Easy Customization Options: -
The methods which allow the manufacturers to make changes in their packing artworks effortlessly are more popular than the ones which do not provide them such facility. Mostly, they like those techniques through which they can include interactive graphics, imagery, and colors in their sketches which are going to be printed in their item packing boxes. Some techniques do not allow them to use more than two to three colors in their sketches and limit their options but some come with choices which allow them to use as many colors as they want to make them look more attractive and appealing for their customers. It is been noticed that makers opt to go for those solutions in which they get more options in designing their product packaging rather than for those which restricts them to few options.

Prospecting Made Easy

Today’s message is very short and sweet… well maybe not so sweet but short for sure… and hopefully helpful to you.

We’ve all felt the frustrations of trying to get good clients. Heck, trying to get new clients period can be a real challenge.

So today I wanted to share a few ideas that have worked for me…

Start by making a list of who you’d like to work with. Think: “Who’s my perfect prospect?” If you could hand pick any client, who’d that be?

This could be connections from a past job, or business associates that you know and who like and trust you or a vendor who you’ve done business with in the past. As a last resort you could put together a “cold list” of prospects.

Study that target market intensely and find out what problems they’re dealing with today, who are they (male, female), how old they are, what magazines they read etc.

Learn all you can about your perfect prospect and the marketplace in general. This is a critical step. This is very important step and should done before you start your marketing message. I know that I’ve talked about this many times, but it’s super important.

Once you have a target group in mind, create a mailing list. You’re going to be sending them numerous messages, offers, and various messages over and over until they become clients, so I suggest that you put these names in a program like Excel so you can keep up with them easily.

Study the competition and learn what they’re doing what offers they’re sending out, go to their websites, landing pages, and direct mail etc. This way you can position your business uniquely.

Once you feel you have enough “intel”, create a lead generation letter and send it to your prospect list.

It’s going to take more than one letter. I like using a letter series sent over a couple of weeks. Sure, you can sometimes close the deal on a single letter but it’s very unlikely. The power in direct mail is by mailing several letters not just one.

So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response on the first letter you sent. This is typical. Again, the power of a letter series goes a long way to landing that client.

You got to remember, people are busy, they are preoccupied, and flooded with lots of distractions, junk mail, and advertising messages in today’s super-busy world.

Lastly, I encourage you to study the masters. Learn all you can about your craft. If you can afford a mentor, then by all means hire one. A good mentor will save you tons of money, time and frustrations. It’s as good as money in the bank… provided you follow through and act on what you’ve learned.