Question & Answer: (a) Critically assess the extent to which the marketing of goods is different from the marketing of…

(a) Critically assess the extent to which the marketing of goods is different from the marketing of services. Identify key points of difference and similarity.

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Virtual vs. Physical

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Products and services have some key differences that influence what goes into marketing them. Goods have physical specifications and attributes, so shoppers with access to this information can easily compare products to decide what’s best for them. Depending on the distribution channel for these goods, prospects can often touch them to literally get a feel for how they like each option. Want to know which brand of 100% cotton bed sheets is the most luxurious? Check the thread counts. Skeptical about the industry standards of this measurement? Go to the store and feel the fabrics. It’s pretty cut and dry.

Services differ from each other on a more conceptual level. Are you more of a AT&T or a Verizon type of person? The wireless service of each provider may have some differences, but for many customers, the main reason to pick one over the other is the feeling they get from the brand overall.

When prospects pick between service providers, it isn’t possible to “try them on” first. Prospects are essentially deciding which brand seems to be the best fit for what they’re trying to accomplish – an abstract concept and a highly subjective judgment call. This is a major challenge for service marketers, who are tasked with spreading the idea that their service brand is a trustworthy and natural match for individual customers they haven’t met yet!

Good marketing for a service therefore plays up what the service provider offers that no one else does – and why this difference ought to be what the audience cares about. Maintaining a good reputation for the service provider is therefore a crucial aspect of service marketing.

Risk Management

Perceived risk is also different for goods and services. With products, it’s easier for the customer to predict exactly he or she will get. Products can often be returned too, so customers are willing to take risks with the unknown.

But you can’t return a service, and the buy-in is likely to involve more money, so people often take service decisions far more seriously. This is where the power of word-of-mouth and “social proof” come in handy – testimonials are huge for service marketing.

What Gets your Niche Excited

On another level, though, marketing for physical products is essentially the same thing as marketing for services. Smart product marketers craft messages that emphasize the emotional benefits of their goods, rather than their specifications and attributes. When trying to inspire your audience to check out your offerings, you want to focus on your audience’s needs and how cozying up to your brand is the solution. Mercedes is in the business of selling cars, but what they’re really selling is luxury.

And this is true no matter what it is you’re selling! The more targeted your niche audience is, the more specific their needs are going to be. So in today’s small business economy, which is all about finding your niche, marketing success is to a major degree dependent on how well you express your understanding of what ails your audience and no one else.

Marketing for Goods by Emphasizing Service

Business commentators often say that we’re operating in a “service economy,” which means that today’s customers are looking for service value even in their physical products. Post-industrial societies that are growing economically are employing more people and doing more business thanks to growing demand for services.

So it’s less about what we’re buying and more about everything else surrounding it – the people who sell it to you, explain it to you, repair it for you and craft a holistically positive branded experience. In this sense, marketing – for products and for services – calls for relationship building and emphasizing your brand’s added value.

Two approaches to marketing exist. The traditional selling concept emphasizes selling existing products. The philosophy here is that if a product is not selling, more aggressive measures must be taken to sell it—e.g., cutting price, advertising more, or hiring more aggressive (and obnoxious) sales-people. When the railroads started to lose business due to the advent of more effective trucks that could deliver goods right to the customer’s door, the railroads cut prices instead of recognizing that the customers ultimately wantedtransportation of goods, not necessarily railroad transportation. Smith Corona, a manufacturer of typewriters, was too slow to realize that consumers wanted the ability to process documents and nottypewriters per se. The marketing concept, in contrast, focuses on getting consumers what they seek, regardless of whether this entails coming up with entirely new products.

Well the only similarity both the types of marketing have is that in both cases you have to innovate and change with the times once your product or service becomes outdated .

 

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