Whether you offer services or if you are thinking about doing so, you should know that the way of doing service marketing has a series of different peculiarities to the sale of products.
This has to do mainly with the characteristics that the services have.
That is when we buy a product we really know what we are buying.
But for example, if what we do is hire a digital marketing consultant service, we really don’t know until the final result is delivered to us what we are really going to get.
That is why it is so important to understand and know what the characteristics of service marketing are in order to later apply a series of strategies.
So, stay with me until the end of the article because, in addition to telling you these types of factors, you will also see different types of examples.
What is service marketing?
To understand what service marketing is, we first have to understand what a service is.
And mainly they are all those activities that are usually consumed at the time they are produced or delivered. It is all activities that have nothing to do with products, such as for example :
- Professional services: community manager, lawyers, etc.
- Financial services: banking, insurance, etc.
- Tourism: restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, etc.
- Health services: hospitals, podiatrists, etc.
- Other services such as hairdressers, training, etc.
So if I had to say a definition of service marketing, I would basically say that it is all the activities that are carried out to deliver customer service in the best possible way to positively influence their perceptions.
Features of service marketing
Understanding the characteristics of service marketing is essential to know that other types of marketing strategies must be applied.
These factors are:
- Perishable character.
- Simultaneous production and consumption.
- Absence of property.
We are going to see each of these characteristics to make it more clear to you:
I would say this is the most important feature of service marketing that we need to pay the most attention to.
Is it true that we cannot see or test the services before making the purchase?
This implies a large number of occasions that it is difficult for the potential client to evaluate the quality of the service that we can offer.
That is why it is so important when working on our strategy to see to what extent we can make services tangible, for example:
- Social proof.
- Create a strong brand image.
- Invest in advertising.
In addition, the fact that they are intangible also makes them easier for the competition to imitate or copy.
Something that will also affect our strategy, because we will have to determine how we are going to differentiate ourselves to transmit our added value.
2) Simultaneous production and consumption
This point has a certain relationship with the previous one and that is that the services are first sold but then they are produced and consumed at the same time.
In marketing there is a concept called “the moment of truth” and it is quite applicable in this case.
That is, depending on how we offer the service, it will directly influence the level of quality perceived by the client.
So this also makes it difficult to mass-produce a large number of services.
Some service marketing strategies that we can use to solve this are:
- Train employees.
- Improve communication with customers to meet their expectations.
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Have you ever gone to a store on different days and the person who has attended you has not done it in the same way?
When offering services from person to person, it is very difficult for the quality of it to be always the same.
In fact, it also depends on the client’s level of involvement and how participatory they are in expressing their needs or wishes.
Other types of actions that we can use are:
- Standardize processes.
- Try to educate customers.
- Promote the customization of the service.
4) Perishable character
Unlike products, services cannot be stored, resold, or returned.
This, to a great extent, is causing greater customer uncertainty.
For this reason, when marketing services it is essential to have a series of strategies when the result is not what the client expected.
Some of the factors that we can take into account are:
- Use a reservation system.
- Use a pricing strategy based on creating or reducing demand.
- Create promotional offers.
- Analyze the history to know when there is the greatest and least demand for services.
The 7 Ps of service marketing
To those already known as the 4 Ps of the marketing mix that is the product, price, distribution, and promotion, now three new ones are added, such as:
- Physical evidence.
In other words, when it comes to working on a service marketing plan, we no longer only have to take into account the previous variables, if we do not have to work on 7 P.
I am going to explain what these variables consist of so that you can get an idea.
In this P you have to work mainly on how we are going to train employees to try to give the best possible service.
That is, how are we going to recruit and subsequently motivate them to do so. For example, through a reward system, a business plan, etc.?
And here we should also define how we are going to educate customers to try to improve this entire process.
To put yourself in the situation, imagine that you are going on a tourist visit to a city and you are looking for a restaurant to eat in and you don’t have a battery in your mobile to be able to consult different opinions on Tripadvisor.
What will you notice? Surely in how the place is on the outside, right?
This is where the physical evidence comes into play, in which we would have to take into account aspects such as :
- The appearance of the premises.
- Website design.
- The uniform used by workers.
While in the processes we should take into account how we are going to control the activities to try to give the best possible service.
In other words, are some processes going to be standardized? Are others going to be given in a totally personalized way?
This is where the importance of service marketing lies.
Because we have to try to take into account all these elements to positively influence people’s perceptions.
Importance of service marketing
Now that you know what service marketing is and what its characteristics are, I would like to tell you why this type of marketing is so important.
Implication that involves
Carrying out this type of strategy involves taking into account three types of marketing such as internal, external, and interactive.
In other words, through external marketing, we communicate our promise of value to potential customers.
The internal marketing will allow us to fulfill those promises.
While interactive marketing will come when that service has to be given and it will be the moment of truth and the one that determines its quality.
Services as the engine of the economy
In Spain, for example, a large part of GDP is made up of services and it has a fundamental role in job creation.
In other words, there is a large volume of business that is focused on the service sector and that is why it is so important to know its peculiarities.
We are in a very aggressive competitive environment in which it is increasingly difficult to differentiate ourselves from the competition.
And precisely one factor that we have at our disposal to differentiate ourselves is the marketing of services (even for products).
To give you an example, even if the car is a physical product, the warranty, repair services, after-sales are services and can make us differentiate ourselves and be the best option for our potential client.
Evolution of companies and freelancers that offer services
There are also more and more people who decide to start their own business and offer services to other companies or brands.
The type of marketing that must be done to get customers has certain differences compared to the sale of physical products.