In an increasingly digital marketplace, service marketing is fast becoming a vital component of a business’s attempt to differentiate itself from the competition. The goals of service marketing are somewhat similar to those of product marketing, but the distinctive characteristics of service marketing make it an exciting focus for students pursuing an MBA in Marketing.
Organizations need professionals skilled in service marketing, focused on output from marketing efforts, and able to produce results from service marketing campaigns. While every business has its own goals and desired outcomes, the general goals of service marketing have several points in common.
Solidify Relationships: Know, Like, Trust
Although the origins of the quote are unclear, there is a saying in business that “People want to do business with someone they know, like and trust.” Customers interact with individuals within a variety of service-oriented sectors, including financial, legal, healthcare and hospitality. Because relationships are key for service businesses to attract and retain customers, one goal of service marketing is to help customers know, like and trust a business.
Gain New Customers
Few companies have a readymade client base in the beginning. Most start by gaining new customers and growing market share. When a company prioritizes customers over brand image or net profits, it recognizes that customers are the most important component of the service relationship. Potential clients take notice of the customer-focused approach, making the payoff of time and money spent on attracting new customers more evident to the company.
Take a Customer-Focused Approach
It is common knowledge in the business world that gaining a new customer is much more expensive than retaining an existing one. Customer satisfaction is the bedrock for service-oriented businesses looking to retain clients and improve profit margins.
Service marketing cannot end with acquiring clients. Companies must continue to develop marketing plans with customer satisfaction in mind. For service businesses, customer satisfaction can have a significant influence on the company’s bottom line. If an organization isn’t focused on customer satisfaction, customers will sense it and will eventually take their business — and their dollars — to a provider with a more customer-centric approach.
Develop a Competitive Edge
Many industries are seeing a steady increase in the number of competitors in the marketplace, making it hard for any one company to stand out. Service-oriented businesses must prove they provide an added value to clients that other companies cannot. To give the company a competitive edge, its leadership must define and hone this unique value and ensure that it informs the work of all departments, including marketing.
Provide Customers With Quantifiable Results
The fact that service-oriented businesses deal with intangibles complicates the nature of the relationship with the customer. People might hesitate to invest time or money in a service that does not produce visible results. Service marketing can overcome the difficulty of selling intangibles by assuring customers up front that they will be gaining quantifiable, tangible results from their investment. Without a tactile product for clients to hold, marketers must go the extra mile to offer real results.
The goal of service marketing boils down to ensuring that the company’s services meet customer needs and result in customer satisfaction. By applying excellence to every step of standard service marketing practices, organizations can reap the rewards of their efforts: satisfied customers who keep coming back for more.
Learn about the UT Tyler online MBA with a concentration in Marketing program.