I just finished passing this article by ClickZ to many clients, co-workers, peers and even some of my competitors. I think ClickZ's Mark Kingdon really knocked it out of the park with his latest article, Sell Experience, Not Products, published on March 15th.
And while it's easy to best define the experience versus the product by using Apple and the iPod's marketing as an example, just check out this paragraph and then I urge you to grab your own copy of the article:
"Last year, I bought an iPod at an Apple store. It was more beautifully and luxuriously packaged than a Rolex watch. Opening the box, I felt as if I'd bought something truly wonderful. What I bought wasn't a product, but a total experience that was seamless from beginning to end. Here's what makes the iPod exceptional (and enables Apple to command a premium for the product)."
"Holistic marketing. Every detail of the marketing mix is synchronized beautifully and obsessively. The advertising, Web experience, product, store, and packaging all feel connected. Each is beautiful on its own. That's why opening the box feels like a rite of passage."
Is your product or service a "rite of passage" for your customers?