When Did Everything Become an “Experience”?

Back in my school days, I was a huge fan of marketing classes and thought that one day I might want to work in advertising. Life took a different spin and I didn’t end up working in that field, but I still had the opportunity to put some marketing know-how to good use in the field that chose me.

Just the same, as much as I bow to the wisdom of the marketing masters, I really don’t understand when or why everything suddenly became an “experience”.

Picking up something at the store has become a retail experience. Getting a bite to eat has become a dining experience. Music is now a listening experience and movies are now a viewing experience.

Did everything have to become an experience?

I was amused when I recently visited an establishment and noticed a poster prompting readers to tell management about their experience. The odd thing is that it was posted in the men’s washroom.

What would I have written back? Do they really want a description of my bathroom experience? (Careful what you wish for! Creative types with a sneaky sense of humour might actually take you up on the offer.)

“My approach to the urinal was a pleasant one as the aroma of disinfectant pucks filled my sinuses with a gentle, welcoming blend of lavender and chlorine.

The automatic flushing mechanism was very effective in bathing the urinal in a fresh cascade of water, reminiscent of a serene waterfall, a perfectly choreographed three seconds after I stepped away. I couldn’t have cued it better if I had flushed it myself.

The plastic flowers on the bathroom counter were a cheerful accent which helped bring out the flecks of colour from your meticulously maintained countertops.

The soap dispensers were in fine working condition. The soap itself left my hands feeling sanitized, fresh and seemingly moisturized at the same time. Please do tell, what brand of liquid soap are you endorsing?

The water pressure in the hand washing station was, in the words of Goldilocks, ‘just right’ as was the water temperature, though my friend noted that the tap at station #3 seemed shy in dispensing more than a few teaspoons of water at a time. You may wish to open a ticket to investigate that deficiency.

But overall, please accept my sincere thanks for a top-notch, #1 experience!”

But I digress…

I can understand and appreciate when companies are sufficiently interested in their client service to view things more holistically, and to explore know how things went from the time the client arrived to the time they left. When they take a look at the whole “experience” they can make sure there isn’t a weak link along the way that deters clients from coming back.

If I have a question about a product, who will likely get my business, the company that has me hunting for assistance or the one whose clerk was there before I had even formulated my question.

If I have a problem with a product, who will likely retain my business, the company that encourages me to toss it out and buy a new one, or the company that takes pride in servicing what they sell.

And if my overall “experience” is a successful one, with whom will I be more likely to develop brand loyalty?

Maybe in this move toward everything becoming an experience, I hope we are on the cusp of a renaissance in client service.

But I do think we are on the verge of overusing the term “experience” and need to develop some sort of bench mark to prevent collective eye ball rolling and sideway glances when the term comes up.

For the marketing types who might wonder where that fine line lies, I’d like to offer a handy non-scientific, magazine-inspired-quiz:

Is this transaction worthy of being called an “experience”:
1) Does the transaction typically take longer than 5 minutes? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
2) Could the transaction save a client more than 5 minutes? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
3) Does the transaction typically cost more than $5? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
4) Could the transaction save a client more than $5? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
5) Will the client likely recommend this “experience” to more than 5 friends? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
6) Will the client vividly remember this “experience” 5 years from now? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
7) Will the client still be talking about this “experience” 5 years from now? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points
8) Is it likely that some blogger with an interesting perspective on life could make reference to this “experience” in a blog post? Yes=5 points, No = 0 points

If the resulting score is 15 points or less, a business might want to rethink how notable and memorable the transaction might be in the grand scheme of life. I know that it’s the little things that count, but little things don’t necessary equate to a striking need to be referred to an “experience”.
If the resulting score is between 20 and 30 points, the business probably has a solid case for referring to the transaction as an “experience”.
If the resulting score is 35 to 40 points, be my guest… it could indeed be an “experience”! (if this were a podcast, imagine the sound of trumpets heralding the grand proclamation!)

Regardless of the final score, I extend my heartfelt thanks, congratulations and a metaphoric bouquet to businesses with the interest, dedication and resources to trying to make any transaction the best “experience” that they can! Bravo!

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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,


Filed under Humour

4 responses to “When Did Everything Become an “Experience”?

  1. Maybe Jimi Hendrix started the whole experience thing.

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