Service Marketing: An Overview

Service Marketing: An Overview

Service Marketing – Sales person today, need to have a through knowledge of marketing to be successful as a sales person.  The time is past when the salesperson is viewed differently from the marketer.  In actual fact, the salesperson is part of the marketing team.  The increasing prominence of identifying the needs of customers and ways of satisfying them as the focus of business firm’s existence has made it corporative for them to ensure that their has made it comparative for them to ensure that their salespersons and infact every employee in the firm becomes marketing and customer oriented. 

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The era of aggressive selling is gone as most companies in developed countries have realized.  It has been established that the capacity of organizations to survive and prosper depends on their ability to continually market themselves in an environment of every changing human needs and want.


There have been various definitions of marketing.  The American marketing Association defined marketing as the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from the producer to the user.  The institute of marketing defined it thus “a management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably:  John Shrafford and Collinb Grant (1986) defined marketing  and marketers.

According to him, human needs, wants and demands are the starting point of the discipline of marketing while identification of these needs leads to the finding of products to satisfy these needs and wants.

Marketing, therefore, should not be seen narrowly as the task of finding clever ways of selling a firm’s products.


According to Philip Kotter, the key task of the organization is to determine the needs, wants and values of a target market and to adopt the organization to delivery the desired satisfactions more affectively and efficiently than its competitors”.

It is the tradition of business to base decision or objective appreciation of consumer needs and preference.  Formerly, an inventor, innovator, merchant or tradesman simply produces products and expects people to come and buy but the marketing concept adopts an opposite view R.W. Chapman, embracing the marketing concept, presupposes the identifying of customers needs, finding a product or since to satisfy these needs and arranging for this product to be made and sold to the consumers, so that the whole operation is to the mutual benefit of both consumer and company and this mutual benefit is the profit that is involved”.

The British Institute of Marketing states that, ‘every business must first consider the needs of its customers and then gear resources of the company to satisfy those needs at a planned level of profit.

The scholars of marketing and those in the business of marketing believe that, the marketing concept means above other things putting the customer first, the customer, to use a marketing term, is the ‘king’, and the sole purpose of the business being alive is the customer.  From this, we can say that marketing concept is the whole business seen from one very important angle the customer satisfaction though at a profit to the organization.

Marketing concept can also be defined as a market focused a customer orientation, backed by integrated or co-ordinate marketing aimed at generating customer satisfaction as the key to satisfying organizational goals.

From the definitions of the marketing concept earlier discussed we noticed that the definitions failed to take into account a very import point – consumer/social welfare.  It considers maximizing individual wants and satisfaction, but fails to take into account the long term effects of this on the society – pollution, waste or resources etc.

The underlying premises of the marketing concept are:-

  1. The organization recognizes its mission in terms of satisfying a defined set of wants of a defined group of customers.
  2. The organization recognizes that satisfying want requires an active programme of marketing r3search to learn of those wants.
  3. The organization recognizes that all customers interfering with the company activities must be placed under integrated marketing control
  4. The organization believes that doing a good job of satisfying customers wins their loyalty, repeat business and favourable word of mouth, all of these being crucial in satisfying the organizations goals.
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One of the ingredients of success in application of the marketing concept is a proper understanding of the customers; his needs and wants.  The marketing concept, is the company’s commitment to the time-honoured concepts in economic theory known as customer sovereignty.

To determine what to produce should not be in the hands of the companies, or in the hands of the government but in the hands of consumers.  The companies produce what the customers want, and in this way maximize consumer satisfaction and welfare and even their profits.

Marketing concept is also relevant to non-profit organizations, which may start out as product-oriented organizations e.g. churches.  When they start to experience fall in support/membership, they resort to selling skills and may/may not develop to be marketing oriented.

In affluent society, the concept of marketing becomes increasingly that of interpreting consumer desires and creating the goods and services that will satisfy this desires.  It is in this type of society that marketing concept becomes important for companies.  The marketing concept deals with the social warth of marketing.  It deals with the social and managerial role of marketing in society.

Consequently, we are not forgetting that in establishing the marketing concept in an organization entails great task such as planning, persuasion, education and re-organization.  As a result of this, great number of organizations do not practice the marketing concept, though they may support it.


As marketers, we are aware of ancillary service, which is accidental to the object of exchange.  Ancillary services are important in the industrial market for those companies/businesses that sell products of a highly technical nature.

The technological sophistication of a core product the greater the importance of he ancillary service to the marketing of the product.  Sciences range from those that support product to those that exist on their own as object of exchange.  These services range from those related to physical product such as computing services (computer) services that have produces attached (hotel accommodations).

Service marketing in Nigeria is characterized by low capital, numerous but small sellers, imperfect competitions as a result of imperfect knowledge on the part of the consumer/customer services.

Service marketing demands high labour intensive especially at the cow skill end of service and there is considerable variation in offering overtime  and place even by the seller.  Service products are intangible pre-purchased evaluation of offering is impossible, the industry standards are difficult to set and monitor.

An impotent way of maintaining standards in service industries is through trade associations, and professional bodies, licensing and apprenticeships.  The government times to promote order in the service industry through regulations.

The importance of the service industry in the economy of most nations in terms of contribution to employment and gross national product normally increase with the lead of economic development.

In developed countries like America, economy is reported to have two out every worker in the private labour force engaged in a service capacity; consumer spending in the same economy is reported to exceed 47% of a typical American family budget.

In developing countries like Nigeria service industry/marketing is highly significant in over economy relative to our level of development, mainly because of limited avenues of employment and the small capital require to get into service marketing/business.  The level of performance especially in the semi-skilled service group in the country is frustrating.  This condition is as a result of inadequate and improper training and the impatience of school leavers trainees to strike out on their own as soon as possible in an industry with limited government interest and capacity to monitor performance; aggrieved customers have no where to turn for protection.


Organizations or owners of business have many ways of conducting their marketing services.  This depends on the type of customer/consumers that are involved.  This marketing services.  this depends on the type of strategies could be long term or short term but most large organizations use both the long term and short term but most large organizations use both the long term and short term while the minor/small scale organizations prefer the short term strategies.  No matter the marketing services strategy, it must encompass Promotion, advertising which is the most essential strategy but it could be noted that at times advertising campaign is supported by point of sale promotion.

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In the marketing of video club services they make use of the advertising strategy, why? It is because they get to their customers/club members easily through the advertising of new movies to their customers/club members.

Most times, the owners of business/organization use the Push and Pull strategy, the push strategy aims at the members of the marketing channel (Wholesales, Dealers, retailers) rather than the final consumers while the pull strategy deals on advertising and sales promotion to stimulate its primary target, the final consumer.

This type of strategy works by creating heavy demand for the product at the retail level, so that the retailers and middlemen will increase their stock and the goods are then pulled though the shops (movie shops).

Marketing services strategies are generally used.  Example salesmen’s visits particularly in technical oriented companies or industrial markets will be more effective when backed up by advertising, sales literature, presentation aids and business gifts.


Product service can be classified on the basis of:

  1. Tangibility Dominance – under this mode, services can be classified into:
  2. Tangible dominant  –  here the service flows from the product in use with the product being the major object of exchange example is conestics product.
  3. Intangible dominant  –  In this category of service the service flow is the major object of the exchange and is delivered directly by the marketers.  Examples; airline services, to passengers, dental care services, consultancy service.
  4. Manner of Provision  –  This brings about:-
  5. People based – Example is the provision of conestics service in beauty saloons and the quality and other aspects of service product delivered is determined by the level of skill and knowledge of the beautician or cosmetologist.
  6. Equipment based service – Example is the lawn moving service and the quality of the product delivered depends  to a large extent on the condition of the lawn mover.

Personnel services are those that are direct to the person’s body in beauty saloon and those directed to the person’s mind in education.  They are sold for final consumption.

Business or industrial services are services provided to organizations for the purpose of production goods or services and they include consultancy services as in marketing research and management “Objects” tangible and intangible are the repaints of services of services are in car repairs, shoe renovation or repair services and legal service.  Although these are purchased by persons or industries, they are not performed on the persons.

Note that the above mentioned are classified under the beneficiary of service.

There are certain characteristic of product services and they include; intangibility, variability, inseparability and perishability.  Services are intangible objects because they have no physical dimensions which can be seen or touched by the consumer before, during or after purchase and consumption for pre or post purchase evaluation.  This means that the consumers need to be highly persuaded to purchase a service in adequacy of need and that the quality of the service product cannot be assessed nor can completing offers be compared.

Variability of product service means that products have a tendency to vary quality and quantity where the production is labour intensive.  This is to say that varying human conditions even for an individual, orientate, affect the quality and quantity of the individuals performance in a production situation.

The inseparability of product means that production cannot be decoupled from sales and consumption except for services embodied in repaired goods and other such services, services directed to the body and mind.

Most services are consumed at the point of production and thus have very short life making them very perishable.  For this reason also it cannot be stored.  This also makes sales scheduling very important especially since surges in sales cannot be met from inventory and period of low demand cannot be used to build inventory.


Pricing in marketing services is difficult because of the absence of an objective yardstick for the determination of the value of the service to the consumer.  In some marketing services an aid to pricing is the value of the item rented and the expected useful life of the item/good.  An important consideration in pricing is the level of risk of loss and regularity of business.  In a situation where the good is assured the insurance premium paid is a cost that must have to be covered.

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On the other hand, the limited consumer knowledge about quality of service offered especially in intangible dominant services makes direct comparison of prices difficult and gives the  services firm/company great level of flexibility in pricing.

In professional services some degree of the uniformity in pricing is achieved through price or fees determination by the association and through government fees regulation pricing in marketing services could be done in the ways:-

–         Cost based pricing:- This approach of pricing a good accounting system is invaluable to identify the costs and time spent for producing the services. In rented services, the value of the item as depreciated is the fixed cost so also is the insurance premium which is the cost of risk. The period of the rental becomes the basis for determining the variable cost – this variable cost compensates for temporary dispossession, not ownership, which varies with the period of the rental. One problem of this cost based pricing, is that of identification and allocation of cost accuracy.

–         Non cost pricing:- It has 3 types, they include:

Value pricing: Marqurated et al, described value pricing as “pricing on the basis of what the market bear:- Price change for a product/item is based not on how much it cost to provide the good but on the value the retailer of the service fels the consumer places on the service. If the customer/consumer indicates high value for service the price will be high because to set a low price for the service will convote low quality in the mind of the consumer. Consumer’s assessment of value may be influenced by the newness of the service idea or method of knowledge and also the technical nature of the service, the status and prestige attached to the service.

Fixed pricing: This approach demands that the same rate is applied to all service rendered to all customers. Most professionals such as medical doctors have a fixed price they change their patients for a particular treatment but in the case of unprofessional attitudes where the value of job is deliberately inflated or where there is no government reforms to protect the customers/consumers; the owner of the business calculates his bills on the value of goods and increases the prices and renders his services to his customers at that high rate. Example of such is video club rental services where the government has no power to intervene on the prices of movie renting done by the video clubs – the customers are left at the vary of the club owners.

Flexible Pricing – This men’s varying the price paid by individual customers based on  The willingness to pay consumer with better information especially of the cost condition of the service will pay lower prices while these without such information pay higher prices

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