Overview

services marketing


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The active marketing of something that is intangible and which is usually consumed at the point of delivery. Services can cover a wide range of offerings and be delivered by the same company or organization: professional services, customer services, medical services, entertainment services, personal care services, maintenance services. Services marketing has a different range of techniques and challenges from other forms of traditional marketing. See also services markets.

Key elements of services marketing:1 People: in services businesses the delivered quality of many services depends on the quality of the people delivering it. See also internal marketing in this entry.2 Physical evidence: given the intangible nature of services it is important to constantly illustrate the benefits with tangible evidence of success, for example customer reference sites where the application of the services have been successful.3 Delivery processes: how the service is actually delivered can define the marketing programmes and the overall branding of the company.

1 People: in services businesses the delivered quality of many services depends on the quality of the people delivering it. See also internal marketing in this entry.

2 Physical evidence: given the intangible nature of services it is important to constantly illustrate the benefits with tangible evidence of success, for example customer reference sites where the application of the services have been successful.

3 Delivery processes: how the service is actually delivered can define the marketing programmes and the overall branding of the company.

The four core marketing management tasks for service marketers are:1 Managing differentiation against competitors. Customers make fewer price comparisons with services than they do with products, but they do consider differentiation and unique qualities, particularly delivery and quality of the people delivering the service.2 Managing the overall brand image. The customer's perception of the company is a critical factor when deciding to buy a service. Without a good reputation, it is impossible to have powerful services marketing programmes.3 Managing the quality of service delivered to customers and setting their expectations. Customers view services as having variable and inconsistent quality. It is important to invest time in reducing the customer's uncertainty and only to promise what can be delivered, to avoid disappointment and loss of reputation and trustworthiness.4 Managing communications: use clear, unambiguous messages to communicate the range, depth, quality, and level of services. Messages should emphasize the benefits of the services rather than their technical details. Build on word of mouth communication from one satisfied customer to another.

1 Managing differentiation against competitors. Customers make fewer price comparisons with services than they do with products, but they do consider differentiation and unique qualities, particularly delivery and quality of the people delivering the service.

2 Managing the overall brand image. The customer's perception of the company is a critical factor when deciding to buy a service. Without a good reputation, it is impossible to have powerful services marketing programmes.

3 Managing the quality of service delivered to customers and setting their expectations. Customers view services as having variable and inconsistent quality. It is important to invest time in reducing the customer's uncertainty and only to promise what can be delivered, to avoid disappointment and loss of reputation and trustworthiness.

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Subjects: Marketing.


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