MARKETING

Make a Mediocre Experience Awesome: 3 Steps

Good or great is acceptable for some, but consistently striving for awesome with this formula will prevent you from regretting your business or your life.
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Thanks to Kanye West, the word awesome has been overused of late. Some even claim awesome fatigue. Why do things have to be awesome? Isn't good good enough? What about great--isn't that good enough? Not in today's business environment. With all the noise and distraction even great can fall short. It's not that people and companies intentionally force mediocrity our way. In fact, it's their lack of intention that usually results in mediocrity. But given a choice, I strongly believe most people would choose awesome.

Three key characteristics define an awesome experience:

It Must Be Positive

Awesome experiences are always positive. Awesome by definition means inspired by that which is grand or sublime. Creating a positive experience will assure that your audience consistently wishes to relive it.

It Must Be Meaningful

What is the point of doing something if nobody cares? Meaning comes from context and impact, and lends itself to sharing and discussion. If no one is talking about it, it wasn't awesome.

It Must Be Memorable

Reflect on the business or life experiences you remember. They likely resulted in a surprising epiphany you couldn't wait to share. You must find a way to connect with a compelling message that sticks in the brain.

Awesome experiences can be created anytime, anyplace, so why isn't the world overflowing with them? Primarily because creating them requires forethought, creativity, planning and execution. It takes time, skill and an understanding of how to turn a mediocre or "just OK" experience into one that is meaningful and memorable for everyone. Whether you are trying to step up your marketing, make an impression on someone or just create an awesome experience for yourself, this formula will help make it happen.

      1. Fulfill The Need
        At the very least, a good experience requires you to be a trusted provider and resolve whatever need is at hand. Anything less is simply a bad experience. A customer wants to reliably get what they expect. People crave dependability. Without basic needs being met, people are anxious, concerned and closed. Of course if all you do is provide basic needs, you'll be commoditized, and rarely considered if better choices are available.

      2. Provide Entertainment
        You can go from good to great by making the experience fun. Engage the participants so they enjoy the activity. Often in sales, building relationships does this. It's more fun doing the most mundane of transactions when you like the people with whom you are working. Customer retention is often dependent on this element.

      3. Create the Unexpected
        This is certainly the hardest of the three components to achieve, but by far the most critical. Today people are bombarded with so much information and it's rare that they are surprised. Find a way to wake people up in a way that is relevant to the experience you want them to remember. It could be with humor or great beauty, but consider where their thoughts are likely to go and take them a different and wonderful direction. This way they have a huge Aha! moment that makes them remember the experience for a long time to come.

Only providing two out of three of these components will come up short. The awesome experience requires the complete convergence of need, entertainment, and the unexpected, nothing less. Pursuing the awesome experience doesn't require lots of money, props or even other people. It mainly requires a decision on your part to make it happen and then a commitment to execute. Of course pursuing the awesome experience doesn't assure it will occur, but if you never attempt, you and those around you are sure to be forever suffering mediocrity.

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IMAGE: waynewhuang/Flickr
Last updated: Jun 18, 2013

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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