I've written before about the experience economy. Make no mistake, it's here. I've spent more than a few hours hashing through the recently leaked New York Times Innovation Report, and it's clear that they have concluded the same. Content is no longer king. It will always be very important, but we can no longer expect great content, or a great product of any kind, to be sufficient. Experience is now king.
In the NYT report it's noted that the Wall Street Journal has hired an "audience engagement team" and the Washington Post has launched the WPNYC that will focus on design, technology, and experience around content. The Capital article linked above that reports on the WPNYC states, "It's a strategy that reflects the customer experience bona fides of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who bought the Post from The Washington Post Company for $250 million last fall." The report makes much of social media brand engagement, pointing out that passive followers, or audience size, means very little compared to engagement. That is, brands need to build relationships. Further, you'll find the report to state things like, "users have come to expect personalization", and resounding praise for an open social media policy that encourages individual writers and editors to engage readers. Again, impersonal and standardized brands need not apply.
We live in a society that is desperate for unique experiences.
Though we aren't all in the news media business, these innovations simply point to the greater cultural trend. We live in a society that is desperate for unique experiences. We want scarcity. We want to experience something unique, tailored, and special. We want curated experiences that develop greater value around products and services.