Services that are not directly connected to physical products can create an added value for clients and increase revenue with great profit margins. Many companies have already recognized this opportunity as a necessity, especially when the sale of products is stagnant. Has your industry caught up with this trend already?
Since service products are intangible, i.e. are not material objects that cannot be represented visually, the service's value has to communicated with information materials and consultations. The marketing strategy for service products differs greatly from material products. When information on services is made available to prospects throughout the customer journey, your services are going to create a lot of buzz online.
Equally important to the success of your service offer is the knowledge of your customer groups with the greatest revenue potential. “Show me the links you click today, and I tell you what you will buy tomorrow.” – Marketing automation solutions record all data on clients' and prospects' desires. This technology has become so advanced that there is a new trend in the big data business: predictive marketing. The revolutionary aspect of this new approach is the individual target groups' sales probabilities can now be calculated. This allows you to market your products to specific groups instead of an anonymous mass. Marketing that actively reacts to users' online behavior can be paramount in making services a top seller online.
Goals Service Marketing
inform strategically, win customers over with transparency
Once new service products have been developed, they have to be marketed accordingly. They are not material objects, which makes it hard to visualize them. Likewise, it is hard to compare immaterial things. Neither design nor material indicate the value or quality of the offered service product. Information has to close this gap and provide detailed insights into the service's benefits, customer reviews and promotions. Service marketing relies on information. Service marketing is content marketing. The service takes shape, becomes transparent and comparable to other offers when users get a clear understanding of what the service does for them.
If you are able to identify typical questions and concerns that can be erased by proactive information and consultation services, you will create a lot of buzz online with your services.
Every single activity at every touch point of the customer journey counts in an integrated service marketing strategy.
1. Create awareness and interest for a formerly unknown service
2. Overcome immateriality of service with communication
3. Minimize sense of risk in clients
4. Create comparability to other vendors with transparency and by stressing advantages
5. Re-position existing services in competitive environment
6. Invite clients to use services with the greatest benefits
The Marketing Mix for Service Products
The 7Ps count
Product, price, communication and distribution – what works for the marketing of material products does not necessarily suffice to market services successfully.
The service marketing mix is not solely defined through the 4Ps (product, price, promotion, place). An additional three components greatly influence the buying decision or the feeling that a service is of great quality: people, process, physical environment. This means the opinions of other customers, of employees and the organization of service processes as well as the service environment are three valuable instruments that have to be part of the service marketing strategy. All seven instruments have to mesh to create a successful customer experience.
1. Customers and employees are part of the service – People
Customers are not only the target group, their behavior is also part of the service process. The exhibited performance level determines the result of the service. Likewise, competence, demeanor and behavior towards clients by employees also determines how a service product is perceived.
2. Service as process – Process
Classic products are planned. Developing the service process is at the center when creating service products. Make sure to communicate on every step of the way.
3. The service environment – Physical Environment
The visual representation of a service as well as the functional design of the service environment in digital channels influence how users perceive of a service's quality.
The service product cannot be described with material characteristics or features. Customer values like saving time, optimizing processes or a greater use value have to be presented as scenarios and described in detail.
5. Distribution – Place
When and where is a service product offered? The advantage of digital sales channels is that they can be used 24/7. Businesses should ensure they have sufficient capabilities when they sell services that require human resources. Regulations are recommended (usually via pricing).
Price determines buying behavior. This is true for material products and service products. Promotions can be a great way to reduce inhibition levels, long-term service offers can be used to reward loyalty. Services that are sold along products may be sold at a lower price as packages. The possibilities to influence buying behavior over pricing are just as plentiful in service marketing as in product marketing.
Marketing service products in online business differs greatly because of their immateriality. Present service products with content marketing to give customers a clear picture of the service's benefits.
Moreover, there are two things that have proven to be especially valuable when marketing service products: personal consultation and word of mouth recommendations. If all of these 7 aspects are considered in your marketing mix, you can plan the customer journey as a series of interlocking information and consultation activities. We will deal with promotions in more depth at a different time.
No More Service Wasteland!
Great Future Prospects for Service Products.
Predictive marketing predicts sales chances and target groups for service products.
Big data is the foundation for analyzing and predicting the behavior of customers and to calculate the sales chances for specific cohorts. Predictive marketing is behavior-oriented marketing and the result of increasing digitalization: predictive marketing tools analyze online behavior and registration data. From this, the tools calculate buying predictions (or scores) according to specific target groups or personas. As a result, businesses can market their services specifically to the target groups with the best sales chances.
Predictive marketing allows you to
- develop services tailored to the individual needs of specific target groups/personas
- approach the customer segment with the highest sales potential
- develop marketing messages according to demand gaps
- do cost-efficient marketing
- approach customers individually and achieve higher response rates
- do sales projections
Do you want to go deeper into the marketing of service products? Then our white paper with the following topics might be just the right thing for you:
- What are service products and what do they do?
- Goals of service marketing
- The 7Ps of the service marketing mix
- Communication strategies for service products
- Operative marketing for service products
- Service products: potential and perspectives
This is why you should develop a service marketing strategy:
✓ Services take shape despite being immaterial
✓ Predictive analyses show which target groups are interested in buying something
✓ You include service process, employees, users and the service environment in your marketing activities
✓ You gain a competitive edge
✓ You will be appreciated as especially customer-friendly
Our service: We would be happy to advise you on the elicitation and analysis of client data and help you to determine the sales chances of your services. Use our know-how to develop and launch an online marketing strategy for your service products. Get in touch!
Tip: Learn how to develop product-related services in four steps.