Batten Institute

James H. Gilmore



Bio: James Gilmore is cofounder of Ohio-based Strategic Horizons LLP, a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings. He began his career with Procter & Gamble and then spent more than ten years consulting with Cleveland Consulting Associates and Computer Sciences Corporation. Before starting his own firm, he led CSC Consulting’s process innovation practice.

Mr. Gilmore has written numerous articles on strategy and innovation for such publications as Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Strategy & Leadership. He is coauthor, with B. Joseph Pine II, of The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage (Harvard Business School Press, 1999). The book contends that experiences—memorable events that engage customers in a personal way—are a distinct form of economic output, as distinct from services as services are from goods. He and Joseph Pine also edited Markets of One: Creating Customer-Unique Value through Mass Customization (Harvard Business School Press, 2000), and they are collaborating on a book on authenticity as a new consumer sensibility.

Mr. Gilmore is a frequent speaker at conferences and executive education programs, and he was the 2002-2003 Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Endowed Co-chair at the College of Family & Consumer Sciences at Iowa State University. He holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

An avid Cleveland Indians fan and season-ticket holder, his favorite experience is found in Section 140, Row R, Seat 10 at Jacobs Field.

Expertise: Creation, Customization, and Commercialization in the Experience Economy 


Fellowship Focus: During his Batten Fellowship, James Gilmore will work with several Darden professors on papers, cases, technical notes, and course modules that will explore and advance understanding of the emerging experience economy, which Mr. Gilmore developed in his work with Joseph Pine.

In two papers that will grow out of this fellowship, Mr. Gilmore and his coauthors hope to clear up confusion among managers and researchers alike. In the first paper, “Personalization or Customization,” Mr. Gilmore and Darden Professor Phillip Pfeifer will help marketers understand the differences between customization and personalization (as well as tailoring, database marketing, and learning relationships). In the second paper, “Brand Experiences or Branding Experiences?”, Mr. Gilmore and Professor Marian Moore will collaborate to illustrate the difference between so-called “experiential marketing,” which encourages marketers to focus on the experiences associated with buying or using their goods and services, and experiences as a distinct form of economic output. Understanding the distinction is critical to marketing experiences successfully.

As part of his fellowship, Mr. Gilmore will give presentations to the Darden and UVa communities. He will also develop a mini-lecture for MBA classes in marketing and strategy, a case for the first-year marketing course, and a case study with Professor Jeanne Liedtka on commercializing economic offerings within a professional services firm.

Contact Info

Appointment: 2003–2004

Publications & News


The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business a Stage (co-author) (Harvard Business School Press, 1999)

Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want (co-author) (Harvard Business School Press, 2007)

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