Services play an increasingly important role in the US economy. Adding services can be an important strategy for product manufacturers looking to differentiate themselves. However, it’s important to realize that the approach to marketing these services should be different from the marketing of products.
Service offerings and products are very different in nature. It is important to be aware of this, both for the service delivery and for how a firm goes to market with its services.
How Are Services Different?
A product provides benefits to the user because of what it does, the functions it performs. A product has physical characteristics, such as a particular shape, weight, color, texture, etc.
On the other hand, a service offering is intangible. A service can be:
- An intangible act, such as legal services, financial services, education, medical care, or consulting, just to name a few. Although a car repair, for instance, results in a tangible object, the car, having been fixed, the repair process itself is intangible.
- An activity performed by the service provider that requires the presence and involvement of the customer. For instance, a medical procedure, a haircut, or fitness training. In these cases, the customer must to be present and involved in the process, in one way or another, in the delivery of the service.
- An activity applied to someone’s business, home, or other possessions. For example, lawn care, car repair, house painting, dry cleaning, or janitorial services.