A service is any act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. Its production may or may not be tied to a physical product. Furthermore, service marketing can be defined as the marketing of activities and processes rather than objects. As services are mainly intangible products, they face a host of services marketing problems that are not always adequately solved by traditional goods-related marketing solutions.
Services Marketing Triangle
The services marketing triangle was created to handle the complexity that service marketers face when dealing with intangible products. The service marketing triangle highlights three key players, these are;
- Company: The management of a company, including full-time marketers and sales personnel. This is enabled through continuous development and internal marketing with their employees.
- Employees: This includes anyone that is working within close contact of the consumer. They play an integral role within the interactive marketing of service marketing.
- Customers: Anyone that purchases the service of a company. They are also heavily exposed to the external marketing of a firm.
For marketing to be successful, a marketer should ensure that there is positive interaction between these three players. Furthermore, for this success to be accomplished, three types of marketing must be conducted. These are;
- External Marketing – Making Promises: Involves communication by a company towards their consumer. This form of communication allows the company to offer their services, and set the expectation of service quality that the client can expect. In service marketing this pays particular attention to physical evidence, such as the appearance of the place of business or appearance of staff.
- Interactive Marketing – Keeping Promises: Interactive marketing is revolved around the communication that occurs between the client and the service delivery personnel. This is one of the most important parts of successfully utilising the services marketing triangle, as it is the only time that the client will have face-to-face experience with the company, via the providers.
- Internal Marketing – Enabling Promises: A more modern addition to the services marketing triangle, internal marketing centres on training employees to the highest standards so they can deliver exceptional service. Without internal marketing, there is a high chance that the client will receive sub-standard service.
For the service marketing triangle to be implemented successfully, all departments of a company must work together to deliver the highest quality of service that is possible. All members of an organisation must be conscious of their role in delivering service quality, and understand what their marketing function is.
Furthermore, the advancements in technology are having a huge impact on service quality and marketing frameworks. This is because the changes in technology are allowing companies to communicate with customers in a non-physical environment, such as through the internet. This is transforming the services marketing triangle into a services marketing pyramid, as all three factors can be bought together through the clever use of technology.
One of the most significant downfalls to the service marketing triangle is that firms often do not implement it as a triangle. Instead they will focus on one point of the triangle, and neglect the others. This is particularly true to internal marketing, as many organisations believe that if employees are treating correctly, then it will naturally pass through into the external environment. However, the fact that all three points are woven together, and influence by each other, does present opportunities’ for organisations to conduct their marketing efficiently and at a cheap cost.
Another criticism of the service marketing triangle is that it takes into account to many marketing activities. Marketing is used merely as a tool to coerce a consumer to purchase a good or service, and an organisation shouldn’t have to focus on all three aspects of triangle. As service quality is impacted by each individual point of the triangle, an organisation could, theoretically, only focus on one point. However, as previously mentioned, this can have unintended impacts on other facets of the triangle, meaning that an organisation should strive to monitor and implement all three points of the triangle, instead of focusing on only one.