Service marketing is all about relationships, even more so than other types of marketing. Effective service marketing is important because, without it, service providers would not attract and retain customers. Service marketing falls into two categories: business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C).
When marketing a service, providers must account for perishability, the intangible nature of a service that makes it impossible to store or resell.
What is Service Marketing?
Put simply, service marketing is the marketing of consumer services. In today’s economy, services comprise a substantial portion of the consumer marketplace. Consumers are exposed to an overwhelming number of services in various industries, like health care services and software as a service (SAAS).
Services aren’t tangible like consumer products. Because of this, service marketing requires companies to sell experiences and value even more than they have to when marketing products. It can be more difficult to “hook” prospective buyers with promises of experiences and value because often, consumers do not know the monetary value of a service or how it actually works to make their lives easier. A valuable service is one that makes a part of the consumer’s life feel automated; it saves the consumer time, money or effort without requiring him to continually make conscious choices and perform his own legwork to complete personal tasks.
Understanding Effective Service Marketing
A few key points service marketers have to keep in mind are:
- How to standardize service and demonstrate this standardization. With services, it can be more difficult to provide a streamlined, consistent product than it is with a tangible product.
- How to build a lasting relationship with clients so they return and promote the service.
- Effective communication at all the service’s touchpoints. These are the points of interaction between the service provider and the consumer, such as their first meeting and immediately after the consumer purchases the service. These can include postcards, emails and interactions with sales representatives.
- How to set their service apart from competitors’ services in the same space.
Service marketing strives to achieve the following goals:
- Attract new customers.
- Retain existing customers and sell them upgraded services.
- Referrals from existing customers.
- Brand recognition.
Effective Service Marketing Strategies
There are many different ways to market services. A few of the most effective ways to market them to customers include:
- Referral programs. When an existing customer refers a new individual to a company, providing the referrer with benefits like discounts and upgrades creates an incentive for her to encourage friends and relatives to use the service.
- Social media marketing. Social media is an integral part of many modern consumers’ lives. By posting content, images and videos that raise awareness and answer questions about a service on social media, a service provider casts a wide net for prospective clients.
- Demonstrations and education. Consumers are more likely to subscribe to a service when they understand the role it can play in their lives and see it in action. Seminars, demonstrations and content marketing are all ways service providers can achieve this goal and reach prospective buyers.