A savvy small business owner needs to understand the crucial differences between product marketing and service marketing.
Orange County, CA (PRWEB) June 24, 2013
Every business needs a marketing plan—a strategy for reaching its target audience with a message designed to appeal to their needs and desires, or offer solutions to their problems. But there’s a world of difference between creating a marketing plan for a lawn mower business and developing a marketing plan for a nail salon.
Lawn mowers are products, something a customer can inspect and compare in price and functionality with other lawn mowers. Getting nails done is a service, which in addition to price includes how well the service is performed and the quality of the customer’s overall experience.
“With these distinctions in mind, a savvy small business owner needs to understand the crucial differences between product marketing and service marketing,” says Jeremy Durant, Business Principal at Bop Design, an Orange County web design agency.
When a customer purchases a product, it’s generally a tangible object (TV, microwave, golf clubs and so on). The most common marketing approach for products involves what’s known as the “4 P’s.” These include:
1. Product—The specifications of the product you’re selling, as well as its relationship to the customer’s needs and wants
2. Pricing—How a price is set for the product
3. Placement—The process by which the product gets distributed to customers. Sometimes called “Place” in reference to the sales channel employed (online or retail), along with further breakdowns by to region, industry, type of customer, etc.
4. Promotion—How a business markets its product, through sales promotions, advertising, press releases, publicity, etc.
The Customer’s Perception
“Service marketing can include some of these ‘P’s,” Durant notes, “though the emphasis is more on the quality of the service, the customer’s experience of that service and the environment in which the service is provided.”
In many cases, a customer’s perception of a service comes from the reputation of a single service provider—an accountant, a professional photographer, a family law attorney. The best marketing approach, therefore, should stress customer testimonials and other resources that help bolster the individual’s brand. This differs from how customers perceive a product, which invariably comes down to how well that product is made and how well it does what it’s supposed to do.
Since a service is intangible, it’s vitally important to build credibility throughout the sales process. This can be achieved through active branding and thought-leadership initiatives, such as:
- Educating prospective customers on how you deliver the service
- Offering information on your service through different channels, including white papers, blog posts, newsletters, etc.
- Highlighting successful customer case studies
- Hosting webinars and sharing videos of the service
- Doing speaking engagements as an expert in your field of service
- Sharing news of service/industry awards and favorable press notices
“Trying a one-size-fits-all marketing approach whether you’re selling a product or a service will likely fall short of either objective,” Durant says. “Instead, take a close look at your product or service and design a marketing approach that speaks to the consumers of each. This distinction can make all the difference in the eventual success of your marketing plan.”
About Bop Design
Bop Design is an Orange County web design agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express a business values through branding, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract a firm's ideal customer through search engine optimization and search engine marketing. The marketing firm's focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.