What is Service Marketing Mix?
We define a service marketing mix as a blend of various components of service marketing. A firm uses these components to convey its brand message, so as to promote and sell its intangible services to its customers. It accounts for 7P’s namely:
- Service Product
- Physical Evidence
Alternately, we call it an extended marketing mix. Before understanding the 7P’s of the service marketing mix, let us understand the concept of service marketing.
What is Service Marketing?
Services are something that a buyer cannot carry, take away, or get delivered to their place, as they do with the products. So, what we get is the intangible experience. This experience is a cerebral, physical and emotional experience that could be felt or experienced by the client when he is present at the time of rendering of services.
In service marketing, the marketer analyses the needs, want, and desires of the customer first. After that, the marketer uses this information to design service products that help in satisfying the customer. You might be
Characteristics of Service Marketing
- People play an important role in the marketing of services.
- It requires special skills.
- For the marketing of services different organizational structure is needed
- It needs a distinguished approach to product pricing
- It requires a combination of interactive marketing, internal marketing, and external marketing.
Components of Service Marketing Mix
The seven elements of the service marketing mix are discussed below in detail:
A service is an intangible product. It can neither be touched nor verified. One can only experience it, feel it. It comes with a range of features and benefits to the customer. It is bundled with a series of service elements whose execution should be in a proper sequence to match the needs and wants of consumers so as maximize their satisfaction level of consumers.
In this regard, the concept of Basic Service Package (BSP) is important to fully understand the service product. The basic Service Package has three main elements:
- Core Service: These are the fundamental reason for which a firm exists.
- Facilitating Services (and goods): It represents those services in the absence of which the performance of core services is not possible.
- Supporting Services (and goods): It does not enable the consumption or use of a core service but rather increases the overall value of the service offering.
In the case of core service and facilitating service, there is no scope for a competitive edge. However, with support services, the firm can excel by providing distinguishing services. Consequently, it can achieve a competitive edge by doing this.
We all know that price acts as a medium for exchange value between the seller and purchaser of the product. It plays a crucial role in influencing consumer buying decisions. No matter what category customer belongs to, i.e. be they are from the high-income group or low-income group, or they belong to a rich or middle-class family, the price has a great impact on the decision-making of the consumers.
The terminology of price in services is different.
- While educational institutions and professional organizations use the word ‘fee’.
- Banks use the word ‘interest and service charge’.
- Transport services like Ola, and Uber use the word ‘fare’
- Brides and highways use the word ‘toll’
- Landlords use the term ‘rent’.
- Libraries and clubs use the term ‘subscription’.
- Brokers use the word ‘commission’.
- Insurance companies use the word ‘premium’.
Here, you should note that the approach of pricing services is almost similar to that of pricing products. these are:
- Cost-based pricing
- Competition based pricing
- Demand-based pricing
- However, there are three main factors that make service pricing different from product pricing are:
- No ownership of services
- Input and output variability
- Price-Value Relations
The place of service denotes the location and distribution of services. Service location decision encompasses trade-off amidst the needs of both producer and consumer. One must note that, in the case of goods, there is a time gap between production and consumption of goods but in the case of services, production and consumption of goods takes place simultaneously.
Both service providers and consumers take part in service production at a certain location. the growth of a company can be evaluated on the basis of its expansion. And so, when service providers aim to expand they usually open outlets at different locations, with the same package and quality. Here, it is a difficult task for the service renderer to maintain the same standard performance at every service outlet.
The primary aim of service distribution is to make the services available at the right time and place and easy accessibility to all consumers. Further, the different channels of service distribution include:
- Agent and Brokers
- Electronic Channels
The basic objectives of the promotion of services include:
- Building awareness and interest of people in the service product and service organization
- Distinguishing the service offer and service organization from that of the rival service organizations.
- Convey the brand message and showcase the benefits of the services available.
- Develop and maintain the image and reputation of the service organization.
- Encouraging customers to try the services.
All in all, we could say the aim is to sell the service product by way of informing, persuading, and reminding. In doing so, various promotional tools are used, which may include:
- Advertising: Paid non-personal promotion of service by a renowned organization.
- Personal selling: Personal presentation of service with one or more buyers. It is a face-to-face conversation.
- Publicity: Non-personal and non-paid stimulation of demand by gaining a significant spot in the headlines or news through any media.
- Sales promotion: Marketing activity encouraging customer purchasing and increasing dealer effectiveness.
Here the word ‘people’ may include all those who can directly or indirectly influence the perceived value of the service product. It can be the service personnel or consumers.
People that provide service to the consumers are service personnel. It is the people, which define service. Suppose you have an auditing firm, your Chartered Accountants define you. Likewise, if you have a parlor, your Beauticians, Stylists, Helpers, and Service Staff defines you.
Service organizations can get success or face failure due to their men. Right now, there are a number of organizations that keep their staff trained in interpersonal skills and customer service. Also, their aim is to satisfy their customers. Even many companies get accredited with some certification to manifest that their employees are well trained.
A customer’s outlook about the quality of service is based on and often influenced by other customers and service personnel. As you know customers interact with each other and discuss which organization is best in terms of service quality. Further, when a number of customers get their services rendered at the same time. For instance, in a travel package, their enjoyment will depend on the behavior of other customers of the same group.
It implies the manner in which delivery of services takes place to the end-user. It includes the procedures, mechanisms, sequence, and flow of activities, which will result in the exchange of value.
Here we will refer to McDonald’s, which is a QSR, i.e. Quick Service Restaurant. Similarly, Domino’s commits to 30 min delivery. McDonald’s and Dominos achieve this due to their confidence in their process. In addition, the demand of customers should be fulfilled without compromising the quality of the product.
Hence, we could say that the process of a service company in rendering services plays a crucial role. Further, it is also a major component in the service blueprint, in which prior to setting up the service, it ascertains explicitly the actual process, i.e. operations that are to be followed to provide the service and reach the target customer.
It comprises all that a company manifests materially to the customer, which covers:
- Physical Environment of Service Outlet
- Tangible items like machinery, furniture, vehicles, stationery, certificates, personnel, etc.
This gives tangible hints to the customers which raises the service quality expectations. One must note that the customers cannot actually see the services but they can visualize the different tangibles used to render that service. So, with the help of these tangibles, the customers can assume the different dimensions of service. Hence, they assist in ascertaining the service quality.
In short, it is something that a firm physically manifests to its clients which covers all the tangible elements which the company uses for the provision of services.
Service Marketing Mix assist the service provider to position their offerings in the mind of prospective consumers.