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Four Factors That Distinguish Services Marketing

by Cynthia Coldren  |  
January 31, 2006
  |  156,757 views

It's been called "selling the invisible"—delivering intangible services as a core "product" offering.

Law firms, management consultants, IT services and telecom providers, architectural groups, healthcare and educational organizations, financial and insurance institutions, and a multitude of business-to-consumer operations profit from performing and delivering people-based services.

But invisibility, or intangibility, is just one factor that distinguishes services marketing from product marketing. Along with inseparability, variability, and perishability, these four characteristics affect the way clients behave during the buying process and the way organizations must interact with them.

Additionally, these characteristics influence the development of marketing strategies and the more tactical marketing mix—from the "packaging" and pricing of services bundles, to defining distribution plans and promotions options.

To ensure business success, services marketing professionals must clearly understand these characteristics, how they affect client behavior, and how their organization can respond to diminish engagement risk, improve customer perceptions, and enhance market opportunities.


Intangibility

Services are not physical and cannot be "possessed." Because they can't be seen, touched, or made tangible in some way, assessing their quality and value is difficult.

A services client will never know how good the service is until after he receives it. In some cases, it actually may be months or years before a trigger event occurs to activate the service, at which time the client hopes to experience the promised service quality (e.g., an IT crisis triggers service, or an accident initiates an insurance claim).


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Cynthia Coldren is managing partner of ReThink Marketing (www.rethinkmarketing.com). Reach her at cc@rethinkmarketing.com.

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Comments

  • by pudoo12 Tue Jun 23, 2009 via web

    This page was very informative. Thanks for the tips. Will recommend to others

  • by beat c siamusantu Fri Jun 26, 2009 via web

    the article has made me to present Services from a different perspective, as am a trainer at Cooperative college, where i lecture Agricultural marketing.

  • by mukesh Thu Oct 29, 2009 via web

    very impressive

  • by luciana Fri Sep 10, 2010 via web

    the content is very useful!!

  • by canycio Thu Nov 3, 2011 via web

    good documentary

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