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as the marketing and selling of products, yet given the ability to quantitatively measure the lifetime value of customers, and the fact that many industries are experiencing higher levels of customer churn than ever before, there is a new concentration on how to earn the trust and loyalty of customers. Strategies to attain this have varied by service and product marketing organizations.
Comparing Service and Product Marketing Strategies
For the product marketer, the intention is to quickly gain a solid product introduction phase for their products, thereby earning a rapid Return on Investment (ROI). Closely watch any new car being introduced and the intensity of the messaging over trading up, even if a persons' car is less than two years old, is pretty heavy. In the case of Apple launching their iPhone the point was made many times of the convergence of telephones, web browsers and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) functions were now all available in a single device. This intensity of focus on features and not so much on trust is commonplace in many product marketing strategies ((Iyer, Sharma, Evanschitzky, 2006). Product-based companies see their introductions as validation of who they are; the product becomes the company and all marketing strategies are most concerned with reinforcing and strengthening the image of innovation, thought leadership and in some industries price leadership. Apple is an anomaly of product-based companies as it has one of the largest and most vocal, and most loyal customer bases. The Apple culture is heavily influenced by innovation and being the providers of the next major invention or revolutionary product. The Apple brand then is fulfilled with each Apple product sold.
Conversely, services marketing has also in the past been highly transaction-oriented, and in the battle between customer service to retain accounts and sales saying there are more than enough customers, customer service is beginning to win. A service marketing at one point was more about getting the lowest cost per served customer, as is the case still today in many airlines, hotels, and in many restaurants as well. The services industry focus on lifetime customer value obtained through trust is a relatively recent share common trait (Eisingerich &?Bell, 2008) which is ironic because the world's best companies at service, including Fairmont, The Four Seasons, and Marriott Hotels are known for exemplary service and working hard to gain and keep the customers'' trust (Klaus & Maklan, 2007).. What is so much more difficult about services marketing over product marketing is that when promoting and selling the former, there is no actual "product...? to show. The marketing and selling of intangibles must sit on a foundation of trust, for without it, there is no sale and certainly no loyalty. For services marketing the challenge then is to move through the initial education phase of informing prospects what the company can deliver to them and show conclusively, through references, case studies, and even testimonials that their services are really as valuable as they are claimed to be. The rise of reference systems as is seen most predominately on Amazon.com and also on TravelAdvisor.com, in addition to the rise of social media including Facebook and Linked In all point to service marketers needing to pursue higher levels of transparency and also focus on how to attain trust with their customers versus just paying enough attention to them to get the transaction completed, then ignoring them. The bottom line is that there are many differences between services and product marketing and foremost of them is the need for both to gain greater customer trust. For services marketers as the service is intangible, there is a very high need for providing enough relevant examples and references to prove that their services are in fact as valuable as claimed.
Eisingerich,?A & Bell, S?(2008). Perceived Service Quality and Customer Trust.?Journal of Service Research: JSR,?10(3),?256.? Retrieved March 3, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global?database. (Document ID:?1433202941)
Iyer, G & Sharma, A & Evanschitzky, H?(2006). Global marketing of industrial products: Are interpersonal relationships always critical??Industrial Marketing Management,?35(5),?611.? Retrieved March 3, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global?database. (Document ID:?1150988361).
Klaus, P & Maklan S.?(2007). The role of brands in a service-dominated world.?Journal of Brand Management:?Special Issue: Brand management and the customer experience,?15(2),?115-122.? Retrieved March 3, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global?database. (Document ID:?1389481121)[continue]
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