The Various Forms of Service Marketing

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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 (Kotler, 2000, p. 200)”.

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Furthermore, service marketing can be defined as “the marketing of activities and processes rather than objects” (Solomon, et al., 1985, p. 106). 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” (Hoffman & Bateson, 2010, p. 5). Service quality is “a measure of how well the service level delivered matches customer expectations. Delivering quality service means conforming to customer expectations on a consistent basis” (Parasuraman, et al., 1985, p. 42). Due to these problems, there are a variety of new conceptual frameworks to monitor service quality. Some of these methods are completely new creations, whereas other good-based frameworks were merely extended to be applicable towards service quality. This report will explore several service marketing and quality frameworks, including; service marketing mix (7Ps), SERVQUAL the services marketing triangle and service dominant logic. These different methods of measuring service marketing and quality will be critically evaluated using a variety of academic theory.

7Ps and Service Marketing Mix

The 7Ps and service marketing mix is a great framework used to analyse the performance of service marketing and the quality that a company has to offer. The service marketing mix used to consist of the 4Ps (Gronroos, 1994). These were (Booms & Bitner, 1981):

  • Product: Quality, brand name, service line, warranty, capabilities, facilitating goods, tangible clues, price, personnel, physical environment and process of service delivery.
  • Price: Level, discounts and allowances, payment terms, customers own perceived value, quality/price interaction and differentiation.
  • Place: Location, accessibility, distribution channels and distribution coverage.
  • Promotion: Advertisements, personal selling, sales promotion, publicity, personnel, physical environment, facilitating goods, tangible clues and process of service delivery.

However, this was later expanded on to form the 7Ps. This is because there was a higher degree of interdependence between buyers and sellers, meaning the marketing mix had to take into account buyer-seller relationships (Webster, 1984). The three extra factors to conclude the service marketing mix are (Booms & Bitner, 1981):

  • Participants: Personnel training, discretion, commitment, incentives, appearance, interpersonal behaviour, attitudes and customer behaviour/degree of involvement.
  • Process: Policies, procedures, mechanisation, employee discretion, customer involvement, customer direction and flow of activities.
  • Physical Evidence: Environment, furnishings, colour, layout, noise level, facilitating goods and tangible clues.

The addition of these extra three factors helped make the 7Ps a much more comprehensive framework for service marketing.

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