A business that offers a set of services to customers, whether it is in hospitality, travel, healthcare or professional services like a lawyer, engineer, architect etc., is part of the service industry and offers its skills and technology to the end-users or other businesses. If the business directly interacts with the consumer, then it falls under the business-to-consumer (B2C) service category; whereas, if the business offers its services to other businesses, it falls under the business-to-business (B2B) services. Whatever the kind of services your business offers, you need a marketing plan to promote it and create the right service marketing mix to communicate your offerings to your audience. This course can help you get started on creating a marketing plan for your business.
While product marketing involves tangible goods that can be seen, heard, felt, smelt or tasted by the consumers, service marketing highlights on performance, process, customer value and benefits to the end-users. So, whether you are a service executive in a large firm or the owner of a small services company, it is imperative for you to understand the various aspects of service marketing and creating the right mix of promotional tools and methods. We will be touching upon these various factors and more in our discussion here.
What is Service Marketing Mix?
The service marketing mix is a combination of the different elements of services marketing that companies use to communicate their organizational and brand message to customers. The mix consists of the seven P’s i.e. Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical Evidence. The service marketing mix, also known as the extended marketing mix, treats the service that the business offers just as it would treat a product. While the first four P’s are involved in product marketing too, the remaining three P’s focus mainly on service delivery and enhancing customer satisfaction. For an in-depth knowledge on extended marketing principles, take this course on Service Sector marketing.
Elements of Service Marketing Mix
- Product – Unlike a product, a service is intangible and cannot be measured in terms of look, feel and other qualities present in a commodity. However, it can be customized to suit the user requirements and give a personal touch. However, the service product is heterogeneous and perishable in nature just like a normal product and needs to be designed with the utmost care to increase customer satisfaction. Master positioning your B2B services with this course.
- Pricing – The pricing strategy for services is difficult to achieve unlike in products, wherein the final price depends on the raw materials, cost of production and distribution etc. However, in service pricing, you cannot measure the cost of the services you offer that easily. For example, in the education industry, how would you set the price of the quality of education imparted? Or if you are in the food and hospitality industry, how would you charge the customers for the care shown by the host or hostess, the ambience in the restaurant or the fine taste of your delicacies? Therefore, pricing plays a crucial role in the services marketing mix for your business. Learn how to price your service with confidence in this course.
- Place – The place where you choose to conduct your service business can make or break your organizational growth. You need to understand how visible your setup would be to potential customers and how frequently it would be visited by consumers. For example, would you set up a fast-food centre near a college or office hub, where students and professionals can quickly grab a bite or next to a big restaurant in a classy neighbourhood?
- Promotion – The service industry usually has stiff competition across different verticals and your business would need a lot of promotions to pass on the right message to potential customers. While advertising, online and direct marketing are the best ways to promote your service you need to have a good mix of communication channels to address a larger audience.
- People – Your business is not just built on your goals, company vision and principles but also depends heavily on your employees. It is the people who work for you who are responsible in creating happy and returning customers. People in your organization are the epicentre of the quality of your services and need to have the best of talents to gain customer loyalty and trust.
- Process – How efficiently your services are delivered to the customer is an important aspect of your service blueprint and you need to emphasize on setting up a process for doing so. You need to ask yourself “Do I want to have a process in place that is quick, reliable and easy to monitor or one that is sluggish but necessarily passes through several layers of hierarchy?” In today’s competitive world, companies are always in the race to deliver services quickly, efficiently and with the highest quality.
- Physical Evidence – While offering your services, you can either do it without adding a personal touch or by differentiating your offerings by adding an element of delight to the customer. For example, would you prefer to visit a bookstore that only has a stack of books with a cashier nearby or one that also has a place to sit, where you can browse through the book you are interested in and enjoy the light music in the backdrop while you make a choice? The ambience of a bookstore or restaurant, the music, the friendly face of your travel host etc. are all part of the physical evidence of a service and they are an important element of the service marketing mix.
The services sector has various kinds of businesses catering to the needs of individual consumers or bigger enterprises and larger businesses. Whatever industry domain you conduct your business in ensure to create the right service marketing mix for better customer satisfaction. This in-depth course can help you map out the proper marketing mix for your company.