A Franklin-based startup has launched an app to foster more innovative, FOMO-marketing tactics among Greater Nashville-area businesses at a time when those tactics appear more attractive to companies who need help re-engaging consumers.
Founded by former music business influencer Jennifer Haarbauer in January 2020, Lifeogeny is a direct business-to-consumer marketing facilitator whose new platform, launched in May 2021, helps businesses capitalize on what Haarbauer and some in social media and e-commerce marketing call the “experience economy”—a market climate in which memorable experiences naturally add value to the product or service in question and thereby retain customers for almost nostalgic reasons. First use of the term is typically attributed to a 1998 article by James Gilmore and Mass Customization author B. Joseph Pine II, both known for penning a book entitled by this term and the latter also known for the 2009 TED Talk, “What Consumers Want.”
Just as Gilmore and Pine predicted, 21st century marketing aims to create memories with which consumers associate products or services; so much so that so-called “brand ambassadors” now have entire careers from posting meticulously fabricated, seemingly spontaneous pictures and videos involving certain products on Instagram, a platform now notorious for this kind of marketing. Lifeogeny aims to take this a step further by encouraging businesses to involve customers directly in an occurrence or event that becomes a memorable experience for the customer that then draws that customer back to that same brand over its competitors.
“Our whole goal is to really connect users to hyper-local experiences around the idea of that getting back out there and, I like to say […], getting out of the attention economy and getting into the experience economy,” Haarbauer said.
Available in the Apple and Android app stores, the app is a two-sided network designed to incentivize businesses to “host” experiences and customers to take part in them. The fear of missing out ideally compels consumers to engage in what they see on the experience feed, which is tailored to each user’s personal interests based on categories the user selects in the profiling stage. The app’s image-driven interface brings all manner of local events and moments by the user to entice them to take part in something fun, hosted by a local business, performer, venue or individual.
Haarbauer hopes this will “support the small to medium-size business community and nonprofits and help them tackle the issue of connecting in the mobile marketplace.” Before scaling, many such businesses never go as far as to create their own app, and Lifeogeny’s focus on Middle Tennessee connects locals to these businesses in their area with the point of connection being an event about which they might not otherwise have known.
Haarbauer started Lifeogeny upon ending her 20-year career as Financial Controller at Sony Music Entertainment, a career that challenged her to solve the problem of what investments best lead to successfully reaching a target audience.