Over the past few years, industry experts espoused the value of providing their consumers not with the perfect product, but with the perfect experience. As marketing powerhouse Bozoma Saint John herself said, what makes us identify more strongly with the products that we own isn’t the product itself — it’s the emotions we derive from it.
Forget about the product, or its specs, or its components. In the Experience Economy, the question was, “how does this brand or product make me feel?”
But a new standard of marketing is set to overthrow the Experience Economy, and it’s already begun — the Transformation Economy has arrived. But what does this mean for us?
Transformation means fulfillment
The heralding of Transformation Economy signals that people have now gone beyond consuming and experiencing a product. Now, they are aiming for a deeper, more meaningful rationale for buying what they buy. The question now becomes, “how can this brand or product help me achieve my best self?”
Writing for The Happy Prize Company, Claudia Roth says the shift to Transformation Economy is the logical next step after Experience Economy. After all, once your products have helped your consumers fulfill their functional and emotive needs, consumers can now move on to seeking self-actualization.
Self-actualization can mean different things to different consumers. For some people, their idea of personal fulfillment may be a successful career, while for others, it may be a big, happy family.
As a result, the new standard is intensely personal. Rather than just seeking a certain brand or product experience, consumers are now looking for something genuine that they can connect with and will help them towards their road to personal development.
Thus, the Transformation Economy requires both a consumer who is invested in reaching their truest, most authentic self and a brand that is aware of their target audience’s motivational needs and can help them achieve this.
Transformation means fluidity
In the Transformation Economy, even consumers themselves are evolving.
It used to be that marketers and advertisers had definite notions of the audiences they wished to reach: Gender, age range, educational attainment, socio-economic status, geographical location, political affiliation, etc. These labels, however, indicate a state of near permanence.
The Transformation Economy acknowledges that consumers can evolve. Not only are they looking deeper and pondering how they can change their lifestyle to bring them closer to self-actualization, the consumers themselves are also changing as we speak. Who they are, what they do — all of these will not necessarily be the same six months from now.
Keep this in mind the next time you create customer personas for your target audience. That person, though imaginary, is three-dimensional; they are nuanced and ever-changing. And when these personas are limited to the whos and the whats, there’s a risk of missing out the underlying whys that can help understand the changes they have gone — and will go — through.
Transformation means change, and change often means keeping up. But change can also mean getting left behind if you don’t know what your audiences are doing or feeling.
There are various social listening tools available to digital marketers, but these tools will always represent the more vocal netizens, and ignore those who are simply browsing online, making searches, and consuming content.
To paint a complete picture of your audience, it’s important for brands to have a 360-understanding of what their consumers are saying, and what they are doing online. AdSpark Intelligence is our unique digital synergy of agility in insighting, ideation, and implementation through media.