Leadership Lesson in a Pumpkin Patch

How good is your organization at creating remarkable experiences for your customers? Recently, I had the privilege of hanging out with Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore. These are the guys who coined the term Experience Economy. Shortly after my time with them, I had my own experience economy moment...

Many of you may have a tradition of carving a pumpkin for Halloween or harvesting a few to make some delicious pies. I am aware many of my international readers will have no idea what it means to carve a pumpkin – for you, see this link to learn more about the long history of this tradition.
For those who do buy pumpkins, where do you get yours? Notice the photo above was taken in a pumpkin patch - Burt’s famous pumpkin patch about 60 miles north of Atlanta.
I noticed last week, you could buy pumpkins at my local Walmart for $3.98. Granted, most of the specimens at Walmart didn’t have the girth of Burt’s best, but they were still carvable and edible. So why would someone invest the time and money to travel 60 miles or more to go to Burt’s? The answer is simple: people love experiences!
It’s why Starbucks can charge $5 for a coffee; Ritz-Carlton can charge $500 per night for a room. It’s why you pay for a concert ticket vs. just downloading the album on iTunes. It’s why you rarely tweet pix of your family watching a ball game on TV but are quick to bust a selfie while at the game live. It’s why many of you cut your own Christmas tree vs. getting one on the side of the road.
People love experiences and Burt knows it. He is not in the pumpkin business - he's chosen to be in the experience business. Are you? Is your competition creating experiences to lure your customers away from you? As I survey the business and non-profit world, it looks like a lot of leaders are catching on to Burt's approach.
What did Burt’s experience include? Not just a large box full of pumpkins like Walmart but acres and acres of pumpkins. Burt also had a hay ride, decorations, funnel cakes, icees and more. He created an experience…
People will always pay more for experiences than mere transactions!
How much did Burt charge for this “experience premium?" Hay ride: $5 per person (only $4 for a child) and $30 for an over-sized pumpkin; and don’t forget the photo opportunity - total cost for the family - $50.00. Value: Priceless.
[tweet_box design="default"]Are you creating experiences for your customers?[/tweet_box]
Are you creating experiences for your customers? Maybe your team needs to invest some time and energy in a brainstorming session or two. What could you do to make your product, service, or even your organization, an experience for your customers? They would be willing to pay you more if you could figure it out.
I’m glad we didn’t buy the $4 pumpkin at Walmart.[GLS_Shield]


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