I had an a-ha moment when I read Kevin Kelly’s Wired article on virtual reality. He said, “our lives and work run on this internet of information. But what we are building with artificial reality is an internet of experiences.”
The internet is built on and provides us tons of information… now. But the promise of virtual reality and mixed reality will change that. Virtual reality, I hear, is far better when you experience it with someone else. With virtual reality or mixed reality as the delivery system we will move the internet from one of information to one of experiences.
Everywhere we look everyone is moving toward experiences.
Corporations used to focus purely on their products. Then they realized to compete they needed wonderful customer service. Now they are orchestrating special customer experiences. Apple builds experiences into everything from their packaging, to their magical interface, to their stores. Publishing companies are offering experiential conferences. Lego is building amusement parks. Zappos delivers your shoes in just two days while you are still super excited about your purchase. Many toys now come with downloadable game apps. Disney helps you celebrate your vacation 6 months before you actually go.
The internet and big companies are all innovating fast to provide experiences because that’s the next new competitive edge. Their work will set consumer’s expectations and our member’s expectations. Soon it won’t be enough to have a great product, or great customer service, we’ll expect a great experience too.
In addition our culture seems to be a bit less focused on accumulating stuff and more focused on accumulating experiences. A trend I expect will snowball with tech consolidation (our smartphone is a alarm clock, watch, pedometer, wallet, etc.) and our focus on the limited amount of time we all have.
So what does this mean for associations?
We used to focus on member benefits. Now we’re focusing on member value. More and more we’ll be focusing on member experiences. Our websites will become more seamless, logins easier, content more customized. We’ll be helping members learn and connect faster and better from curated networking to facilitating action after learning. We will be focusing more on staff culture, board culture and even member culture all to set the stage for great member experiences.
How are the member experiences at your association is? Do you know? Where can you take them in the future?