The marketing and selling of services require a special set of tactics and priorities compared with selling physical products. The service marketing triangle breaks the marketing tasks of your business down into three types. As a service business, you must market both to your employees so they understand the focus of your business and to your customers so they do more business with you.

Points of the Triangle

Each side of the service marketing triangle represents a type of marketing, and the types interact between the entities on the points where the sides meet. At the top of the triangle sits your business organization. At each corner at the bottom of the triangle are your customers and your employees who interact with and provide the services to your customers.

Internal Marketing

Internal marketing is the side of the triangle between your organization and your employees who provide your services to customers. Marketing issues include adequate training on the services to be delivered and customer satisfaction service techniques. Internal marketing requires you to be involved with your employees and let them know the goals and even problems facing the business. Internal marketing also can include a performance rewards system for employees who deliver the highest level of customer service.

External Marketing

External marketing goes from your business organization out to customers and prospective customers. This is the traditional form of business marketing, showing customers how the services provided by your business benefit them. External marketing includes advertising, your website and your company's social media efforts. The purpose of external marketing is to fill the business pipeline with future business.

Interactive Marketing

The side of the triangle between your employees and customers is called interactive marketing. This form of marketing revolves around how your employees deliver the services your company provides. The goal is to have highly satisfied customers who become long-term, repeat customers. The effectiveness of the interactive marketing relates back to the internal marketing efforts of your business. Interactive marketing is also how your employees keep the promises made by your external marketing efforts.

Service Marketing Triangle Example

Marriott markets internally by referring to its employees as 'associates,' and cultivating loyalty through its development program and performance incentives. To refine its external marketing, Marriott created a content studio aimed at attracting younger guests with short films, videos, and infographics. As part of Marriott's interactive marketing, all associates undergo customer service training, regardless of whether they will ever interact with guests. At all three levels of the triangle, Marriott ensures that it communicates its culture and values. This marketing has helped brand the company as one of the hippest and most customer-friendly hotel chains in the world.