Selling experiences

Commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable.

The entire history of economic progress can be recapitulated in the four-stage evolution of the birthday cake. As a vestige of the agrarian economy, mothers made birthday cakes from scratch, mixing farm commodities (flour, sugar, butter, and eggs) that together cost mere dimes. As the goods-based industrial economy advanced, moms paid a dollar or two to Betty Crocker for premixed ingredients. Later, when the service economy took hold, busy parents ordered cakes from the bakery or grocery store, which, at $10 or $15, cost ten times as much as the packaged ingredients. Now, in the time-starved 1990s, parents neither make the birthday cake nor even throw the party. Instead, they spend $100 or more to “outsource” the entire event to Chuck E. Cheese’s, the Discovery Zone, the Mining Company, or some other business that stages a memorable event for the kids—and often throws in the cake for free.

Talking to my banker yesterday she asked, “Is this a non-profit venture?” I laughed and said that it wasn’t supposed to be.

Our current problem to solve is how to sell more of an experience, or how to get people to pay for an experience that was once free.

The audio stories we create fill a real need but it’s an emotional one, one that is currently being fulfilled by a free product. Our strategy thus far has been something akin to public radio – to support the continued development of the pod, please subscribe to our Patreon or donate a one time sum. In return you get ….. These CTA’s we developed were criticized as being amateurish. Though true, I think the real problem is that it appeals to their good will versus realizing that they are getting something of value in return.

But I am still not clear how to communicate this value.

We are now switching our focus to selling a premium feed but the problem remains. How to sell our value when the paid version is simply more, even though it fulfills a need stated by our listeners (more stories please!). I’m stuck on commoditization as a strategy, we give you more of the same, and we remove some pain points (ads).

How to sell experiences? How to create more value for listeners, so that it’s worth it for them to pay? How to sell this?

So many questions and so few answers.