Welcome to the Party

115,109 cheering football fans all in one stadium. Now that was a heck of an experience!!!

The University of Michigan and Notre Dame played a legendary college football game on September 7, 2013, at Michigan Stadium (aka The Big House) in Ann Arbor, MI.

The official capacity of the stadium is 107,601. But on that night, 115,109 screaming fans packed the stadium, and thousands more filled the streets around the stadium and every bar in town.

My wife and I were at the game. Our oldest son was a leader in the Michigan marching band, and he managed to get us some good tickets.

The game was an epic battle, and Michigan came out on top 41 to 30.

We’ve been to plenty of football games over the years, and normally by the fourth quarter, the crowd starts to thin out. But on that night, all 115,109 fans were frozen in place, cheering loudly as the teams battled.

When the game finally ended, there wasn’t a rush to the exits. Instead, a hush fell over the stadium as people sat down and quietly absorbed the moment.

Good experiences are like that. They take time to absorb, and you want to savor the moment.

But not all experiences are good.

One of my clients took an emergency trip to Florida last weekend because a good friend’s mother had passed away, and he wanted to attend the funeral.

He described it as a “terrible experience”. He said the visitation was ok, but the church and graveside services were disasters.

The lack of coordination between the funeral home staff and the pastor was blatantly apparent. But even within the funeral home staff, no one seemed to know what to do next.

To make things even worse, the funeral home was part of one of the big corporate chains, and the price they charged was ridiculous. The family thought they were paying for a professional funeral service; instead, they got an amateur hour performance at an exorbitant price.

Afterward, the family was just glad it was over.

Bad experiences are like that. They leave a bad taste in your mouth, and the chances that you’ll want to repeat that experience are slim.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed something amusing in my email box. I’ve received multiple webinar invitations from funeral industry vendors in which they will discuss an amazing new concept called the “experience economy”.

All I can say is…. Welcome to the Party!!!

Creating meaningful funeral experiences has been the primary attribute of successful funeral businesses for at least 20 years.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some of the best funeral experience providers in the country. Led by owners who have studied “The Experience Economy” by Pine & Gilmore, they have created new experience packages that today’s families truly value.

When the pandemic hit, funeral experience providers reinvented their packages and offered families something different. Rather than focusing on what they couldn’t do, they focused on what they could offer, and families responded.

The experience economy isn’t new, and it’s not new to the funeral industry. It’s just that many funeral homes haven’t made the shift, and that’s why they’re struggling financially.

One of the vendors who had recently “discovered” the experience economy provides merchandise that a funeral home can personalize for families. They make the case that merchandise is the cornerstone of a good experience.


Merchandise is what you buy once you’ve had a good experience. That’s why the gift shop is always at the end of an experience, not at the beginning.

Another vendor now offering an experience economy webinar, is a tech company that provides a webcasting solution. In this case, it makes sense for them to connect the dots between their technology and customer experience because webcasting exploded during the pandemic.

However, …Does the Funeral Director know how to manage the technology?
Do they know where to place the cameras?
Do they know what to do if there’s feedback on the audio?
Do they know what to do if something fails in the live stream?

What funeral industry vendors often fail to understand is that the limiting factor in their growth is not the quality of their products. Instead, it’s the ability of the Funeral Director to present and deliver the products confidently.

A good experience should leave you wanting to savor the moment. However, vendors need to understand that they have to provide three good experiences: one for the end-user, one for the Funeral Director, and one for the funeral home owner.

If any of those experiences are negative, the vendor won’t succeed in the funeral industry.

Until next time.


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