Definition: Service Marketing Mix is the essential internal element based on which the strategy for marketing services will be developed. It is a tool used to place and position the services in the target market. Also, it helps in communicating the unique features of the services.
Moreover, the service marketing mix is a well-ordered and synchronized effort. The seller initiates these efforts to achieve their business goals.
It is used to meet the unique requirements of the customers. As services significantly influence the customer’s lifestyle.
The service marketing Mix is also termed as ‘Extended Marketing Mix‘. Three additional elements are added to the traditional 4Ps of the marketing mix. Thereby making it a 7Ps model.
Service marketing possesses different features than product marketing. Thus, it needs a differentiated model for its marketing.
Reasons for the inadequacy of the traditional marketing mix:
- The development of the 4Ps was based on the needs of the manufacturing units. Therefore, it is more suitable for physical goods marketing.
- The existing marketing mix elements couldn’t meet the service marketer’s needs.
- Marketers had to develop a separate model as services differ from physical products.
Content: Service Marketing Mix
- 7Ps of Service Marketing Mix
- 12Ps of the Service Marketing Mix
- Example of Service Marketing Mix
7Ps of Service Marketing Mix
Taking the service industry’s growth into consideration. Service marketing practitioners have developed extended Ps for service marketing besides traditional 4Ps.
Here the product is intangible. It is offered in the form of a service or facility. Thus, the features of the services are the key offering for the service marketer.
The consumption of services is done right at the time of production. Also, there is a scope for customization while delivering the product. But, one must not compromise with the product standards.
The product or service must be developed as per user requirements.
The marketers may identify the unique and unsatisfied needs of the target audience. They can inculcate these features at the time of designing the service offering.
Moreover, the five levels of the product are also applicable to the services. It is explained below with the help of an example.
- Core Service: Doctors provide treatment to patients when they are sick.
- Basic Service: Doctors use basic equipment for check-ups.
- Expected Service: Patients need a waiting area when they visit the doctor’s clinic.
- Augmented Service: Patients are assisted by the hospital staff from start to end. Cleanliness and television at the waiting area of the hospital.
- Potential Service: Super speciality hospitals with updated medical instruments. And doctors treat their patients using the latest technologies.
Major product decisions regarding service are:
- Quality of the service
- Range of service
- Level of service
- Service Branding
- Product Description, etc.
It is another crucial decision when designing the marketing strategy of the service. It is the value of the service offered.
In comparison with the physical product, service pricing is a difficult task. Its cost estimation depends on the customer’s perception of quality and the value attached.
Service marketers must conduct an analysis of similar products offered by competitors. Subsequently, design the different range of services with differential pricing considering competitive pricing.
Major service pricing decisions may include:
- Pricing Levels
- Discount Allowed
- Terms and Conditions
- New Product Pricing
Place in respect of services is the place of service delivery. Marketers have to make decisions about the service accessibility and provider.
Like physical products, services also need distribution channels. But, the channel needs to be direct and short. The reason being the services are inseparable from their provider.
Based on the non-transferable nature of the service. There exist three types of interactions between the service provider and the consumer.
- Customer Calling Contacts
Here, the service provider provides the service at the customer’s doorstep. For instance, home tutors visit the student’s houses to provide their services.
- Service Firms Calling Customers
In this, the customers are called to the centre for service delivery. For instance, customers visit customer care centres to avail the services.
- At Arm’s Length
There is no direct interaction with the customer at the time of service delivery. For instance, OTT platforms. The customer makes payment and gets access to all the stuff available on the OTT platforms.
Major place decisions may include:
- Location of the service
- Distribution channel of the service
- Service Accessibility
- Service Provider
Promotion is the medium of communicating the service offering to its target customers.
In the case of service marketing, besides being a communication medium, it also aids as a tangible element of the service.
The customers can find relevant information utilizing promotional tools. Consequently, it will help marketers to build trust. It also creates a sense of differentiation from its competitors in the mind of its customers.
Service marketers must design the promotional campaign very thoughtfully. It is the medium by which they can attract potential customers to avail their services.
While designing a promotional campaign for services, one must focus on the following components:
- Medium of promotion
- Direct Selling
- Sales promotion
- Word of mouth
- Creation of campaigns that affect customers positively
- Understandable and tangible clues about the service
Inculcating physical evidence is one of the crucial decisions in the marketing mix.
It refers to the tangible elements attached to the service product. It helps in enhancing the customers buying experiences.
Customers’ purchase decisions are affected by two components. These components aid a better understanding of the service. Following are the two components:
- Physical Cues: These include the physical elements from which customers can validate the service. Like:-
- Business Cards
- Signage ,etc
- Quality of experience: It consists of the add-ons offered to the customer along with the service. Like:-
- Luxury interior in the hotels
- Complimentary treats in the restaurant
- Some free servicing of the equipment, etc
Another vital element of service marketing is the process of service delivery.
Marketers can retain their customers by providing quality and standardized services. So quality standards are to be created and followed while delivering the services.
Customers can consider it as the base for comparison with similar services in the market.
Broadly, the process of service marketing may include:
Successful delivery of the service largely depends on the employee delivering it. Thus, it is of utmost importance to consider it when creating a marketing strategy.
The service employee must be skilled. He must put his dedicated efforts towards the best delivery of the service.
Marketing decisions regarding people may include:
- High Contact Services
- Low Contact Services
12Ps of the Service Marketing Mix
Strategists have found out some more elements in the marketing mix. 7Ps, along with the below-mentioned 5Ps forms the 12Ps of the service marketing mix:
- Productivity and Quality
- Period or Duration
- Primary Inputs
- Push and Pull Strategies
- Price-Quality Tradeoff
Example of Service Marketing Mix
Now, we will explain the service marketing mix by taking an example of a school.
A school is an institution that provides educational services.
Let us assume we are a marketer of a school. And see what all decisions are taken when designing a marketing strategy.
We have listed some relevant decisions under elements of the service marketing mix.
- Name of the school
- A brochure containing the USP of the school
- The language used at the time of teaching (English or Hindi)
- Fees collected from the students
- Building of school where delivery of the service will take place.
- Newspaper Advertisement
- Pamphlets distribution in the nearby areas
- Brochure of the school
- Fees receipts
- Class Schedules
- Computer lab facilities
- Regular updates to Parents
- Doubt clearing sessions
- Interactive lectures by the teachers
- Fee payment on 31st of every month
- Monthly parents-teacher meets
- Subject Teachers
To sum up, the service marketing mix has some additional elements. As services have varied characteristics than the physical product.
Marketers create an appealing and effective marketing strategy based on these elements. Hence, it results in successful service delivery. And it also helps in achieving a competitive edge in the market.