Services marketing refers to the development of a plan or strategy to sell intangible products to customers. In short, unlike products in product marketing, customers cannot see, hear, touch, or keep them. The company is solely responsible for the service process.
Business sectors such as insurance, travel, and hospitality use service marketing to drive growth and success in their industries.
The essence of service marketing is broken down into 4 elements: intangibility, indivisibility, inconsistency and inventory.
Unlike goods, services have no physical characteristics. This means that issues of delivery, warehousing, and product delivery do not exist compared to product marketing.
Another characteristic of service marketing is that it is indivisible. When a service provider provides a service, it is simultaneously consumed by the customer. For example, a car wash employee washes a car and the owner watches the whole thing.
Unlike products, services can vary in quality because different service providers may have different levels of skill and experience. In most cases, marketing services involves efforts to eliminate this inconsistency as much as possible. For example, a stylist may have more in-depth knowledge and experience than his or her fellow stylists.
It is not possible to create inventory with services such as products. Services are provided at a certain point in time and are therefore limited in time. For example, a mechanic cannot fix your car unless you take it to their repair shop.
Service Marketing: Challenges and Solutions
Now that we understand the specifics of service marketing, let’s take a closer look at the challenges it faces and how brands can solve them.
lack of physicality
Selling a service is much harder than selling a product because a visible product allows customers to explore its physical attributes and characteristics to help them make a buying decision.
The solution: engage customers. Nothing helps sales like positive word of mouth. A good service marketing strategy implements programs that focus on positive experiences that increase consumer trust and sales. Using SEO tools is one way to get more people online.
Services are considered perishable because companies need to sell a certain amount of services within a certain period of time in order to pay fees and generate revenue. For example, a hotel needs to book a certain number of rooms per week. When rooms become vacant due to lack of demand, service is suspended for that period of time.
Solution: During periods of low demand, service providers can rely on marketing strategies to attract consumers quickly. These can include loyalty bonuses, discounts and promotions.
The last major problem in service marketing is the variety of services offered to consumers. When two people buy the same product, they are likely to be of the same quality. But in terms of service, quality can vary depending on who provides the service and where.
For example, a psychological clinic employs many therapists. But not all therapists have the same years of experience and approach to treatment. These differences affect the level of success of the clients with whom they deal.
Solution: A concerted effort must be made to train all caregivers to keep differences in service delivery to an absolute minimum. This often includes thorough training courses, marketing tools and detailed operating instructions that staff must follow at all times.