Service marketing – Currently, services represent the most important economic sector in both developed and developing countries, which are progressively achieving transformation from an agricultural or industrial economy to an economy based with more weight on the tertiary sector. For this reason, service marketing is essential for the growth of organizations.

In addition to the tools and strategies that strengthen market share, it improves the user experience by offering value solutions.

What is Services Marketing?

Service marketing refers to organisations that study, analyse, and offer effective mechanisms for marketing intangible products at a given time and place and for a specific customer segment.

Today, it is possible to find a wide variety of proposals based on services: from the design of a logo or a haircut to the granting of credit or the enjoyment of leisure service.

As you can imagine,  each service has its characteristics and requires particular strategies to achieve the desired impact on target customers.

In this context, service marketing fulfils a specific purpose during the planning and is also essential to organize, direct, and control the actions of the organization’s personnel and financial resources.

Characteristics of Service Marketing

The marketing of services presents particular characteristics that differentiate it from the marketing of (physical) products.

There may be many factors or qualities that differentiate one service from another. Above all, in this digital context, creativity and innovation make us think that there are no limits to creating new services or improving those already available online—the market.

Despite the above, we will present you with 8 general characteristics of the services with which you will be able to understand why they require specific actions to improve the participation of companies in their respective markets:

1. Intractability

Services are intangible since they cannot be “touched” or “shown”, as traditionally with products such as acquiring a life insurance policy.

2. Heterogeneity

Additionally, the services are heterogeneous. Each service provided will depend on the actions of the provider or providers. Despite the commitment and effort to maintain standardization, it isn’t easy to guarantee the same quality or satisfaction in all users—for example, the organization of a cultural event.

3. Immediate Consumption

For the overhead reason, it is said that the service’s provision and the service’s consumption occur simultaneously, and, in addition, it is developed with a high degree of interaction with the user of that service. A very useful example would be the tour guide service.

4. Direct Marketing Channels

This quality makes it necessary to adopt direct channels for the commercialization of the service. However, technological support and new business models make it possible to create alliances with intermediaries. For example: through the commission programs offered by some digital companies or the franchise contracts that are so popular in fast food companies.

5. Perishability

Another characteristic of services is perishability since they cannot be stored, returned or “reused”. For example, a face-to-face training course.

6. Price

Unlike physical products, many services have changing or seasonal demand, making revenue planning and estimation complex. For example, hotel accommodation services.

This vulnerability in terms of demand also affects the pricing of the service. However, the inconvenience can be minimized with proper management of cost accounting for the provision of each service.

Importance of Service Marketing

As previously mentioned,  services are essential for the economic growth of multiple sectors.

From a macroeconomic perspective, service providers create both direct and indirect sources of employment. Additionally,  they generate tax revenues through fixed taxes such as Value Added Tax or variable taxes such as Income or Corporate Tax.

In a competitive market, organizations are forced to innovate continually. For this reason, services must continuously improve to achieve customer satisfaction and, thereby,  contribute to improving the quality of life of citizens.

Nations with human capital specialized in certain services tend to be more attractive for foreign investments, which provide financing and often strengthen the transfer of technology or the so-called Know-How.

And, from a microeconomic point of view, marketing is essential for organizations because:

  • Improves market understanding.
  • Strengthens the competitiveness of brands.
  • They make the promotion actions of the services more effective.
  • And, among other benefits, they boost sales.

Elements of Service Marketing

Furthermore to the traditional 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place and promotion), services usually incorporate another three and sometimes four elements:

·       Processes

It is the set of activities carried out sequentially to provide the service and optimize resources.

·       People

They are responsible for providing the service and guaranteeing quality levels and user satisfaction. For these reasons, they must participate in training and training programs periodically depending on the needs and characteristics of each organization.

·       Physical Evidence

It contextualises or creates the appropriate environmental conditions to provide the service and ensure that the user confirms the benefits offered.

·       Productivity

It implies compliance with the deadlines and the uniformity of the services concerning the established parameters.

Most Common Service Marketing Strategies Today

1. Market Research

The analysis of consumer behaviour can be done with greater precision today, thanks to the support of technology. For this reason, it facilitates the definition of the target audience and subsequently increases the effectiveness to transmit the message to each chosen segment.

2. Benchmarking Study

Understanding what competitors are doing helps us avoid their mistakes and learn from their achievements. In this way, the services offered can be continuously improved and, thereby, gain the preference and loyalty of customers.

3. Corporate Websites and Blogs

They are fundamental tools for promoting services and require little investment compared to traditional strategies.

4. Social Networks

Social Networks Services Marketing

These digital channels make bidirectional communication possible, which is essential to create a dynamic, participatory community and, above all, willing to acquire services.

5. Organic Growth

In this case, it is done with proper research, curation and content production for both websites and social networks.

6. Digital Advertising

Ideal for projects in early stages that require reaching a specific audience in a short time and achieving an attractive rate of return on investment (ROI).

7. Telemarketing

In addition to being a low-cost mechanism to understand the needs of the public and offer the services of organizations, they can have an excellent effect on the volume of sales. Despite the above, it requires proper planning, persuasive telephone operators and, above all, a brand with absolute credibility.

8. Telephone Service

The nature of intangible products makes it necessary for providers to interact with users before, during, or after providing services. For this reason, many organizations offer this type of communication channel and, depending on their financial resources, can be available 24 hours a day.

9. Promotions

They stimulate sales in the short term and, among other functions, improve the perception of services in the market. For example, discount coupons for the purchase of domains.

10. Personalization

The automation of sales allows certain services to be adapted to each client’s needs, tastes, and interests, as is the case with hotel reservations, the purchase of airline tickets, and the choice of multimedia content on streaming platforms.

Conclusion

Service marketing – The growing complexity of the markets, in terms of the offer and the characteristics of the services, force organizations to continuously improve. Otherwise, potential clients will choose other providers, and, as a result, opportunities for financial growth will remain limited.

Also Read: Market – Definition, Services, Good, Types and More

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