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The marketing of products and services can have many similarities and differences. Products and services benefit from the addition of trust and recognition of their name in marketing materials, but products can be impulse purchases, while services need time for delivery. There are several differences between the marketing of products and services, most of which focus on building relationships.
Entrepreneur magazine says that in a company based on services “you are the product”. In other words, you have to sell faith and confidence in yourself and your ability to carry out the services described. When you market a service, you need to instill confidence in your skills because instead of receiving a tangible product in exchange for money, the customer receives a promised result.
Selling a service also means that you are selling your time. When you sell a product, there is time invested to create or purchase the product and then sell it over and over again without additional time invested. Services by their very nature are intensive activities because there is no way to continue providing a service while still investing time in doing it. Time is an important part of the marketing of a service because if you promise results within a certain period of time, you must be certain that you are able to deliver it while managing and providing services to others. You must be able to calculate and effectively manage the time needed to provide services to customers.
When you are marketing products, you can give customers an estimated delivery date if you are ordering online or by mail and they can go out the door with the product in hand if they buy it at your brick and mortar store. Services must be created after being ordered and delivery times may vary. The challenge of service marketing is to be able to convince customers that you can and will deliver quality results within a certain period of time. Typically, service marketing materials have testimonials and case studies from other satisfied customers, who work to show that you are able to keep the promises in your marketing materials.
Wishes and needs
Many products can be marketed so that they trigger impulse buying. If someone sees a pair of shoes, they can suddenly decide to buy it whether they need it or not. You can justify the purchase, claiming that you needed dress shoes for a special occasion, but it really gave in to a wish. Services are rarely impulse purchases, but marketing materials can help buyers justify what they want or need, explaining the benefits the customer will receive when purchasing the service. A lawn care service, for example, can include comfort and free time, as part of your marketing materials to persuade shoppers to sign up.
The marketing of a service-based business is based more on the construction of a relationship than the marketing of products. Relationship building is done with product marketing, especially brand and name recognition, but it is not such an important part of the global marketing process for service-based businesses. When services build trust and reliability with customers, they acquire relationships that can continue to earn money for years to come.