In this succinct and thought provoking video. Umair Haque (HBR blogger, author of the New Capitalist Manifesto) shows how marketing is being turned on its head from a focus on differentiation (the vain attempt to show that each product is bigger, better, faster than the next one when all know its is virtually the same) to making a difference (showing the capacity of the product or experience to make a person’s life better.
Marketers have to take on the task of amplifying and enhancing human potential
Umair cites Nike – instead of describing the features of a particular shoe, Nike talks about how the shoes will make you a better runner.
The more we try to differentiate the same old stuff, the more we’re playing a game of diminishing returns.
Pine & Gilmore in their seminal work The Experience Economy written back in 1999 suggested that turning a product into an experience was the first step a producer could take to both differentiate and combat the sameness of a commodity. But the best chapter in the book is its last when they anticipate The Transformation Economy (see a review written back in 2006) which is unfolding now
As described in our paper, Can Tourism Change its Operating Model? (subscribe to receive) and summarised here, the tourism industry has a major problem – year on year returns and margins shrink as the industrial model relentlessly turns sacred places into commodities. We are increasingly swimming in a sea of sameness.
A conscious host understands that their underlying purpose is to create the conditions whereby a guest experiences some form of highly personal, subjective transformation. Their experience makes them a better person; in Haque’s words “it amplifies and enhances human potential.”
That’s why I believe it so important we remind ourselves of the deeper underlying purpose of travel
So travel marketers, how can the experience you offer change the lives of your guest in some meaningful way? How will your guests return home changed?