Marketing services is different from marketing goods, and the marketing tools and practices developed for goods marketing are often not directly transferable to the marketing of services. There are several major differences, including: * The buyer purchases are intangible * The service may be based on the reputation of a single person * It’s more difficult to compare the quality of similar services * The buyer cannot return the service 7 P’s product promoation placement and price The differences have resulted in a divergence in the education of services marketing versus regular marketing.
Apart from the traditional “4 P’s,” Product, Price, Place, Promotion, there are three additional “P’s” consisting of People, Physical evidence, and Process. Product refers to the creation of a service concept that will offer value to target customers and satisfy their needs better than competing alternatives. This consists of a core product that responds to the customer primary need and an array of supplementary service elements that are mutually reinforcing value-added enhancements that help customers to use the core product more effectively.
Place and time may involve physical or electronic channels such as banks now offer customers a choice of distribution channels including visiting a branch, using a network of ATMS, doing business by phone or conducting them over the Internet. Price and other user outlays are crucial as well. To determine if a particular service is “worth it”, customers go beyond monetary considerations and assess the outlays of their time and effort.
Thus, service marketers must set prices that target customers are willing and able to pay and minimize other burdensome outlays that are incurred. These may include additional monetary expense in traveling, time expenditures, unwanted mental and physical effort and exposure to negative sensory experiences. Promotion in services marketing is also educational in nature, especially for new customers. Suppliers need to teach these customers about the benefits of the service, where and when to obtain it, and how to participate in service processes to get the best results.
This can be delivered via individuals such as salespeople, at websites, on display screens in self-service equipment and through a variety of advertising media. The process of delivering the service is very often as important as the function of the service. Operational inputs and outputs can vary widely due to the lack of inventory and real time interaction involved. Nonetheless, variability can be reduced through careful design of the customer service process, adopting standardized procedures, implementing rigorous management of service quality, high standards of training, and automation.
Furthermore, customers are often involved in co-production as partial employees through self-service, telecommunications and the Internet. Physical environment includes the appearance of buildings, landscaping, vehicles, interior furnishing, equipment, uniforms, signs, printed materials and other visible cues that provide evidence of service quality, facility service delivery and guide customers through the service process.
This can also be referred to as the “servicescape” which can have a profound impact on customer satisfaction and service productivity. People refer to the human capital of the firm, i. e. the employees. These individuals should possess the required technical skills, good interpersonal skills and positive attitudes that can become a key competitive advantage for the firm.