by: Geoff Ficke

Business Should Offer More than Just a Product They Should Try to Offer a Buying Experience

The hugely successful entrepreneur Debbi Fields was once asked what it felt like to be a winner in the cookie business; she replied, “I never felt like I was in the cookie business. I’ve always been in the good feeling business. My job is to sell joy. My job is to sell happiness. My job is to sell an experience”. This is a mantra that all Entrepreneurs should emulate when creating their Business Model and Brand Marketing Strategies.

For a great innovator like Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies, the cookie product is simply the vehicle she has utilized to provide millions of consumers her desired sensory experience. Mrs. Fields Cookies are so seductively tasty, visually attractive, fun to watch be baked and eaten, and smell so pleasing that virtually all senses are gratified by the simple experience of purchasing and consuming the treats.

Mass produced cookies can be bought and consumed anywhere. They taste good. But a small batch, gourmet baked cookie, such as Mrs. Fields provides a different, more intense experience. It is the identification and creation of a product that enhances the consumer enjoyment on so many levels that makes Debbi Fields unique, and her success so compelling.

Early in my Marketing career I worked with the formerly great Cosmetic giant Revlon. Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon was a true Marketing and Product Development visionary. Mr. Revson was once asked how he could justify selling for $6 a mascara that cost a mere $.30 to produce. His famous reply, “I do not sell mascara. I sell hope”! The experience that Revlon offered their customers was as important in the Brand Positioning and Marketing Strategies employed by the Company as the products themselves. There were less expensive Cosmetic, Skin Care and Perfume products in the 1960’s than Revlon, but Charles Revson created a perceived user experience that only his products offered at the time.
There are many other contemporary examples of Branding that includes a formidable experiential element in addition to a supposed better product.
Starbucks is one of the most obvious. 30 years ago, no one in their right mind would have believed that people would willingly pay $4 or more for a coffee product. Starbucks has created the ultimate coffee experience and that includes much more than just the cup of Joe.

One of the most daunting hurdles Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Inventors face is how to differentiate their Consumer Product or service from the established competition. Creating and implementing a unique user experience is one of the best ways to accomplish this essential task. The possible ways to achieve this goal are endless. Make sure this identifiable experience is addressed in your Business Plan, Sales Model, Marketing Strategy and Branding Campaign.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.