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Services Marketing Delivers Intangibles Instead of Products

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Services’ marketing is selling relationships and value rather than the capabilities of products. While a product is tangible in nature, services are intangible. It doesn’t provide a physical presence that you can touch and feel. For example health insurance provides a certificate or policy as physical evidence that you have it, but the insurance itself is based upon a good faith relationship between insurers and the insured. Moreover, services are perishable in the sense that they can be here today and gone tomorrow. Finally, you do not get ownership with a service, since it is just an experience. And you cannot sell it once you have used it. Western economies have experienced a decline in their manufacturing industries (products) while, at the same time, services have replaced them. Thus, the marketing mix has seen an extension and an adoption into the mix referred to as physical evidence, people and process.  (Marketing Teacher.Com, 2007)


To ensure successful business, services marketing executives and managers must understand these characteristics thoroughly. They must be clear about how they affect the behaviour of their clients and also how their businesses can respond to minimize engagement risk, enhance customer perceptions of their services and increase market opportunities for a greater share of market. They must be able to determine ways to communicate the services process to customers effectively and to convey details about the deliverables and benefits in order to instil client confidence in their offerings. These tangible signals of the quality and value of their services are achieved through personal interaction with clients, clear communications, recommendations from others, pricing and the businesses physical operating environment.


Creating tangibility for the intangible

A degree of tangibility can be provided to intangible services marketing through solid corporate identities such as logos, the quality of descriptive sales materials and the confidence and honesty projected by sales and marketing people. Pricing can also be used as an indicator of quality where high-end prices suggest quality and low-end prices have the opposite aura. Nevertheless, any sense of tangibility must extend well past pricing and promotions. The client usually measures quality of a service in terms of the ‘chemistry’ that develops in personal relations with the company’s representatives. If trust and reliability are conveyed through services marketing, this is a successful first step. Then, if the provider delivers on brand promises, the message is fully delivered. ( 2006)


In services marketing, clients often anticipates that the service will be provided is a certain way or by a certain individual. This is a challenge for service marketers in assigning the appropriate staff, process management and making certain that representatives in relationships with customers and prospects have displayed the proper knowledge, attitude and appearance when providing the requested service. Services marketing professionals should therefore encourage the client’s participation during the service delivery process by engaging him in interviews, testing, strategy discussions, testing and updates when required. These interactions build customer confidence and build his commitment to the company. They go far toward ensuring repeat business.



Marketing Teacher.Com (2007) “What is Services Marketing?” (on-line)

Available from: lesson_services_marketing.htm

Accessed: 10-21-07


Coldren, Cynthia (2006) “Four Factors That Distinguish Services Marketing.”

Available from:

Accessed: 10-21-07

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