Services Marketing and the Extended Marketing Mix (7P's)

What is services marketing?

A service is the action of doing something for someone or something. It is largely intangible (i.e. not material). A product is tangible (i.e. material) since you can touch it and own it. A service tends to be an experience that is consumed at the point where it is purchased, and cannot be owned since is quickly perishes. A person could go to a café one day and have excellent service, and then return the next day and have a poor experience. So often marketers talk about the nature of a service as :

Inseparable - from the point where it is consumed, and from the provider of the service. For example, you cannot take a live theatre performance home to consume it (a DVD of the same performance would be a product, not a service).
Intangible - and cannot have a real, physical presence as does a product. For example, motor insurance may have a certificate, but the financial service itself cannot be touched i.e. it is intangible.
Perishable - in that once it has occurred it cannot be repeated in exactly the same way. For example, once a 100 metres Olympic final has been run, there will be not other for 4 more years, and even then it will be staged in a different place with many different finalists.
Variability- since the human involvement of service provision means that no two services will be completely identical. For example, returning to the same garage time and time again for a service on your car might see different levels of customer satisfaction, or speediness of work.

Right of ownership - is not taken to the service, since you merely experience it. For example, an engineer may service your air-conditioning, but you do not own the service, the engineer or his equipment. You cannot sell it on once it has been consumed, and do not take ownership of it.
Western economies have seen deterioration in their traditional manufacturing industries, and a growth in their service economies. Therefore the marketing mix has seen an extension and adaptation into the extended marketing mix for services, also known as the 7P's - physical evidence, process and people.

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