Marketing for Services is challenging. The rules of product marketing don’t apply and there are other factors to consider. In the service marketing industry, it is all about perception.
One of the most obvious features of a service, is that we’re marketing something intangible. A crucial part of your service are the people that provide the service. To stand out, it is important to build a personal relationship with your customers. This way, they will not only like your service, but they will like you as well. Often, that is why they come back. Having clear protocols and sufficient training of your staff can really boost the customer satisfaction of your service.
Other external factors can influence how your service is perceived. If you visit an office and you get served coffee in a plastic cup, this might feel cheap. Getting served the exact same coffee in an actual mug feels much more professional. The same goes for location. An office right next to the canals in Amsterdam feels a lot more professional than an office in someone’s living room. The look and feel of your front office are crucial in how your overall service is perceived by customers.
Determining the pricing of a service is also rather tricky. Many product strategies involve competitive pricing, the best value for money, quality products for the best possible price. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for a person to see the quality of a service before actually buying the service. You can’t touch, smell, see the service, as you can with a product. Therefore, trust is not only based on people, but very much on price.
An example: Imagine you are in need of legal advice. The logical step is to research legal firms near you and start comparing. One of the factors you will consider is the price. Where in the product marketing industry competitive pricing can be a great way of attracting customers, in the service marketing industry it can have the opposite effect.
When researching, you find one legal firm that offers services for €50 an hour, the other charges you €150 an hour. Which one will feel more credible and trustworthy? You will probably pick the more expensive one.
So why do we have a greater inclination to opt for the most expensive lawyers in the market? For a higher price, consumers believe they are receiving a more trustworthy and credible service. The service industry indicates that a higher price adds significant value to a service.
Relationship building, place and pricing are not the only factors that contribute to the perception customers have of your service. They will also seek specialized services
Let’s get back to the lawyers. This time you need a lawyer to help you with a financial dispute. Will you choose an all-round firm or one that communicates with a specialization in all financial issues? Which one will you consider to be more credible?
Even though the quality of the services they offer might be exactly the same, the specialized firm will leave the impression of being more professional.
We can conclude that the marketing of services and products is very different. Services in a lot of ways are harder to sell.
Start with people, place, price and specialize. Not sure how? We’re here to help!