IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Evolving Partnerships in the Experience Economy

Integrating a competitor’s expertise into your customer’s experience can broaden your overall offering and enhance your brand. By Siddharth Taparia

WHILE I MAY NOT BE OLD ENOUGH to remember Joe Namath guaranteeing a win in Super Bowl III in 1969, I am old enough to remember when attending a sports event—football, soccer, basketball, baseball—was just that. You bought your ticket, sat in your seat, ate some popcorn, and watched the game. On the way home you talked about what happened.

At some point, though, the marketing departments of professional sports teams decided that the game experience was not enough. First, they added a halftime show, then they incorporated different contests during timeouts, or other types of entertainment. Sometimes they tossed in a post-game show. The whole experience became more than the game itself; it became an appeal to the senses.

And that was just on the field. Off the field, you can walk through any stadium or arena in the world and find a VIP section. These same venues are also leveraging technology to enhance the fan experience. For example, the San Francisco 49ers use an SAP Leonardo-powered solution called Executive Huddle to monitor real-time information on game days.

There’s no doubt we are firmly entrenched in the experience economy, where the experience is what matters, not necessarily who delivers the experience, or at least not who delivers the experience exclusively.

That last part is key. Studies have shown time and again that customers who have a better experience with brands tend to spend considerably more than those with negative experiences. But in this day and age, very few organizations have the tools or the budgets to create these once-in-a-lifetime experiences alone.

A Path to Partnering

And so, in the same fashion that the ethos of the sports industry evolved by adding in-game entertainment and other accoutrements to enhance the overall experience, other industries too must forge their own paths toward utilizing partners that allow them to gain greater market share and truly become an intelligent enterprise.

One way to do this is through “co-opetition,” a very real conjoining of cooperation and competition that is found throughout the technology industry. This requires a mind shift, of course, one that incorporates the acceptance of a competitor’s attributes and trust that partnerships can be mutually beneficial.

For example, competitors Apple and Google recognize the importance of supporting customers on each other’s platforms. Similarly, in the B2B technology industry, there is no black-and-white definition of partners and competitors.

Once the mind shift is made, however, the paradigm makes sense. No company can do all things for all people, and so integrating a competitor’s expertise into your customer’s experience can broaden the overall product, enhancing the brand.

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