How can Louis Vuitton sell handbags for thousands, and others can’t for $20? Style and quality have nothing to do with it; it’s all about the experience. Louis Vuitton offers a product which makes their customers feel special and a part of an exclusive club.
People are willing to spend a lot of money on experiences, but not on ‘things’. This is why Louis Vuitton focuses on ‘feelings’. There is no mention of rational reasons like “Quality”; it’s all about how the product makes you feel. This is why Louis Vuitton can charge thousands and others can’t.
Louis Vuitton – “Is there any greater journey than love?”
Another example is Apple. They focus more on experiences and less on features. You will rarely see Apple highlight technical features in their marketing or advertising.
Samsung phones are arguably better if we look at specs and features, but Apple is not in the game of selling specs. In the example below, you don’t see any technical specifications, all you see is a simple message “Life is easier on iPhone”.
Apple in the business of selling experiences and not things!
iPhone – “Life is easier on iPhone.”
Another example is Patagonia. Patagonia sells outdoor clothing, but if you look at their marketing efforts (e.g., Website or Instagram), you will notice that most of their photos are of people enjoying outdoors – with no product shots in sight. Furthermore, if you look at Patagonia’s website, most hero images (large images) are focusing on experiences (not products).
Clearly, Patagonia understands that they are in the business of selling experiences and not things.
You are probably thinking, this is all great, but we are a small business and don’t have the budget to create a similar experience. The good news is, you don’t have to have a big marketing budget to link a business (brand) to a positive experience.
For example, don’t sell “Italian food”, sell “Authentic Italian food, just the way mamma made it”. By using the words “Authentic” and “Mamma”, you are creating nostalgia (positive personal association). Now you are no longer just selling Italian food.
If you sell “things,” you can only win on price or specs. However, if you sell a great experience you can command a higher price, and customers will be happy to pay for it because people are willing to spend more on experiences; so remember to sell experiences, not things.
Lastly, most customers buy based on “emotion” and then use “logic” to justify their purchase; therefore, always highlight the “emotion” when selling the experience.