Why Market Services Differently? Bradford
Why Market Services Differently?
I’ve been doing this (working in marketing) for so long now I sometimes forget that there are distinct differences between the way you would market a product and the way you should market services. Some of the points may seem really obvious for those who know their business and their market very well – but they won’t necessarily be so obvious to people who sell or market products or to a design consultancy, PR firm or marketing agency that specialises in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) or other forms of product marketing.
So before embarking on any marketing for your business do think about the following and make sure you choose suppliers who understand the particular challenges you face if you are marketing a service.Intangibility
Can clients touch, feel, smell or hold your product? If not, chances are you are selling a service – or a product that’s wrapped up in service – like a holiday for example.
Can clients buy and receive what you offer now, to use later? If it’s a service chances are they can’t. You can’t buy a holiday and keep it in your pocket until you need to use it! You might pay for the service now – but you won’t actually receive it until later, sometimes much later. Which has interesting implications on your need to keep your clients informed and make sure they don’t change their mind or suffer doubts about their purchase, which could result in problems with complaints, queries and changes later.
The same or different?
Can the offer to your clients be standardised? If so – it’s most likely a product. This is an interesting one really – and one that a number of professional service businesses have tried to develop product offers around, with varying degrees of success. Just think of the debt recovery services, based on 7-day letters, offered by many of the larger law firms. Or the accountancy firms offering a formulaic approach to preparing reports and accounts on a fixed-fee basis. Of course the danger here is that in making the service a commodity you leave yourself open to direct price competition or devaluation of your full service offer.
So what should you do differently if you are marketing a service rather than a product?
The first, and probably the most important thing is to make your service tangible, to help clients and potential clients understand what they will get from using your service. It means clearly articulating what is involved in your service, defining what real benefits clients can receive and highlighting what’s unique about your way of doing things. Don’t forget they don’t want to know the details of how you do things – but instead want to understand the WIFIM factor (what’s in it for me!) Find ways to make the service tangible, even if that’s only in terms of a membership card, a full itinerary for a holiday (well before tickets are d...