How do you come to know about a product or service? How do you come to know about the unique features of a product or service? A business can produce hundreds of products or services, but how will the people come to know about them?
The answer to these and many more such questions is marketing. Marketing is a vast term incorporating a whole gamut of activities within itself. A business or enterprise cannot survive without a properly functioning marketing policy.
Marketing is considered an activity that incorporates different processes for creating, delivering, and communicating any products or services which have value to the intended user. Marketing makes people aware of the products and services which a producer has to offer. Selecting a target audience, pitching them the best products or services, educating them on the features, etc., come under marketing.;
Types of Marketing
Marketing can be classified based on various aspects. Marketing can be done for a product or service. It can be directed toward a customer or a business. Marketing can also be classified based on the intent, like viral, keyword, outbound, inbound, etc. The classification of marketing based on the end user of that marketing are:
- B2B marketing: The marketing process that caters to business transactions.
- B2C marketing: This type of marketing pitches products and services to customers.
- C2B marketing: It is the reverse of conventional marketing, where customers market their products to the company.
- C2C marketing: Marketing type in which customers market their offerings to other customers.
Evolution of marketing
The marketing concept has evolved over a century. Many stages have come and merged to pave the way for the advancement of marketing in society. The stages are:
- Production Orientation Era (1800s-1920s)
During the period, the focus was on the mass production of goods. The general opinion was that the consumers favored readily available products and of low cost. The main focus of marketing was to promote low prices of products and compete with the big industry players.
- Sales Orientation Era (1920s- 1960s)
This era ushered in the factor of sales in the marketing concept. Industries saw a boost in the number of companies, and now the race was making the product noticeable. Now the focus shifted to producing eye-catching sales promotions and advertisements that would attract new customers. Marketing tactics in the era focused more on boosting sales than customer satisfaction.
- Marketing Orientation Era (1960s-1990s)
The marketing era brought customers to the forefront. During this period, industries asked what the customer would like and modified the product according to the customer's needs. It gave birth to the idea of marketing and made customers the King.
- Relationship Marketing Era (1990s-2010s)
The 1990s saw the advent of TV advertisements aimed at making long-lasting customer relations, where the customer is the king. Internet ads were also popularized over this period, where customers would search for product reviews online.
- Digital Marketing Era (2010s-Present)
The World witnessed the advent of social media, which was a game changer in the marketing field. Social media brought people closer and made the exchange of information much more accessible. Nowadays, companies are more focused on promoting their products on social media platforms rather than the more prominent outlets like, TV, newspaper, etc. Social media marketing has made producers dependent on customers. The surge in mobile phone purchases has also increased the scope of social media marketing as a large chunk of the population has access to it at their fingertips.
Service Marketing Era (2010s-Present)
In simple terms, service marketing is the marketing of deeds, performances, and acts of value to another person. Service marketing focuses on promoting, advertising, market intangible goods and services.
It is a specialized marketing field that has grown tremendously in recent years because of an increase in the services provided on a large scale. Marketing for a hotel, is, marketing its services of hospitality. A hotel sells its room service, hospitality services, and food service. All these are services. This is called service marketing, where there are no tangible goods to market, but services
Importance of Service Marketing
- Cement customer relationship: When a doctor advertises, they do not just advertise about their clinic. They promote the services provided to build a connection with the patients who might require these services. So, connection building is an essential aspect of service marketing.
- Adds to comforts and luxuries: Services are generally associated with amenities and comforts for an ordinary man. Marketing these services brings the common man closer to such things.
- Feedback of service: A consumer can give his/her feedback to the service provider then and there. It is an important feature of service marketing where the scope for improvement is in between the usage of the product (which is the service).
The 7P’s of Service Marketing
Service marketing is based on 7Ps, which guide its working. Four of these are similar to the marketing strategy. Those are:
- Product- The product here is intangible and perishable, consumed and published simultaneously. It provides greater scope for customization, and improvement at the time of usage. Designing such an offering is difficult, that keeps changing its highlights, so care must be taken when developing such a service.
- Price- Pricing a service is a tedious task. Many overheads need to be accounted for when pricing a service. When a doctor charges for a check-up, he/she is not only charging for the service but also the clinic and the instruments used. All these factors need to be kept in mind when pricing a service.
- PlaceServices once produced, cannot be stored nor can be transported. The service provider and consumer need to be present at the same place to utilize a service.
- Promotion- Many of the services provided are replicated at various places, so service providers need to invest heavily in promoting their services. Banks, hotels, etc., provide similar kinds of services. They must emphasize their unique features and invest in promotional activities manifolds.
Service marketing also has three other elements in the service marketing mix.
- People- People provide services, hence a service cannot be separated from the service provider. Training people to deliver such services efficiently is a top priority in todays era.
- Process- Service delivery should be standardized to maintain the same standard while delivering. Consistency is required to excel in the field of marketing services.
- Physical Evidence- Services are intangible, but some physical elements should be incorporated along with the offering. Providing a physical component to the offering reflects positively in the consumer's mind.
Strategies to Adopt in Service Marketing
Service Standardization- Big outlet chains have revolutionized marketing. The services provided by them are standardized to the point where each and every consumer receives the same quality of service. Thereby, every offering is of the same standard.
Use of new and superior technology- The competition to provide the best service offerings has drastically improved the quality of technology used. New and innovative technology is being used to provide the best services to the customer.
Organic growth- Service offering firms heavily rely on digital marketing for their promotion. They need to grow their followers to become a prominent player in the service marketing industry. The best way to achieve this is by growing organically to attract more customers for the firm.
Evolution of Service Marketing Industry
Service marketing is a relatively new concept. Services offerings have always been a part of the economy. But, nobody before 30-40 years thought of bringing them to the forefront of the market.
Hotels or inns facilities have existed for thousands of years, but nobody thought of marketing them. Nowadays, facilities provided by a hotel, like lavish rooms, room service, etc., are advertised to attract and educate customers about the hotel. In today’s market, hotels as an entity are not marketed but as the whole gamut of services they offer. Services have become the selling points of business.
People are more focused on the services they can derive from a product rather than the product itself. This is the evolution of service marketing.
The advent of service marketing has brought a lot many components to the forefront of the marketing World. The increased availability of services in the market has opened up many doors for different marketing techniques to enter. Digital marketing, which was unheard of a few years back, has become the backbone of service marketing. The service industry heavily relies on word-of-mouth publicity to convince people to opt for their services. These and many more changes have brought about an advent of service marketing at the forefront of the market and it is here to stay.