Should Business-to-Business Companies Deliver Experiences?

By Scott Kirsner |  August 30, 2016

Our latest member conference call featured Joe Pine, co-author of the influential business book “The Experience Economy,” which posits that people want to be engaged in memorable experiences, rather than just buying goods and services. Below is a short excerpt featuring Pine and InnoLead editor Scott Kirsner discussing whether Uber is part of the experience economy — and whether B2B companies should bother to try to create experiences. Complete audio and a transcript of the half-hour call can be found here, and you can also see upcoming calls and webcasts for InnoLead members on our calendar.


InnoLead: I was going to ask you about B2B. Are there some people that are so infrastructure- or back end-oriented that they don’t need to bother with the experience economy?


Joe Pine: I have said that not everybody needs to shift to the experience economy, but I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from it. I think that’s true with B2B as well, and I increasingly see companies that are creating great experiences for their business customers.


For example, Whirlpool — although of course they sell appliances to consumers — they’ve got their retail partners that they sell through. They wanted to create an experience for them.What they did is, they gutted their trade show budget, and instead put their money into creating the World of Whirlpool in Chicago, where now instead of getting 10 or 15 minutes of a retail partner’s time at a trade show, now they can get them for hours or even a couple of days to expose them to the product, and get them to experience them directly with cooking demonstrations. You can actually bring a load of dirty laundry into it, and so forth. There’s many B2B companies that are doing such marketing experiences.