There is a great difference between marketing a Service and marketing a Product.
Knowing where and how to use your business’ energy and money is a critical step in growing your business. You wouldn’t drive your car with a blindfold on – why would you run a marketing campaign without being able to see where you are going?
Here, I am going to breakdown for you the challenges and opportunities that are faced in both Service and Product based marketing.
Marketing For Products:
Overhead or UpFront burden – Once your brilliant idea for a product becomes a reality, you are faced with the challenges of manufacturing, packaging, distribution and storage. These are elements that can add heavily to the planning and cost elements of your business module.
Opportunity – because you are marketing a product, you have the ability to specify exactly the experience your consumer will have with your product. You can tell them what they are getting, when they are getting it, how they are getting it and all of this information can be right up front – making the sales process immediate. Time is of the essence in marketing and this difference can make marketing a product a much more streamlined process than it’s service counterpart.
Perfecting your product – Once you have started the manufacturing process of your product, very little room is left for “tweaks” or upgrades/updates. Customers want the freshest, most efficient tools and toys, which can mean that by the time your product makes it into their hands, a new – more advanced version of your product may be available.
Opportunity – because you are marketing a product, sales can continue without the requirement of time. Sure, administrative duties will still be there, but you are selling something that does not have a specific requirement of your own personal time. As your products begin to sell, you are able to turn your attention to listening to your customer feedback and continuing to develop and upgrade your product to be the next thing that your customer needs.
One-time only interaction – Most product based business strategies are based on a one-interaction process. A customer is looking for a solution to a problem, they find your product as the answer, they purchase the product and go on with their happy lives. The client walks away with what they need, leaving little time for the building of a relationship or trust – which is what keeps clients coming back for more.
Opportunity – because you are marketing a product, you can take advantage of the consumer “impulse buy”. Given enough information up front – you may be able to capitalize on an ever growing group of customers who are concerned more with NOW than they are with WHAT. Placing your business and product at the top of their list of choices may be enough to capitalize on a large portion of the market.
MARKETING STRATEGY TAKE AWAYS
- Invest in a good website with high quality content. Give your customer everything they need to know and a simple process to buy.
- Set up a sustainable feedback system either utilizing a survey program or an email marketing campaign to collect reviews from clients. Use that information to evolve your product to better meet your customers needs.
- Show up as the first solution to your clients problem through SEO and a heavy focus on local directory listings.
Marketing for Services:
Variables & People – companies that provide services generally include an element of face to face between the company and the client. The variables can lead to an inconsistent experience for the customer and also leave room for error. Non-standardization of the experience makes it difficult to measure the actual value of the product to the customer.
Opportunity – The face-to-face element of a service based company allows for the building of a relationship. This can benefit the company in a return clientele and can prove to be more effective in garnering a word-of-mouth marketing presence.
Competition – service based business marketing tends to be more competitive than product based business marketing. Differentiating your business from the crowd can be difficult when the foundational elements of your business are standard to the industry.
Opportunity – The relationship built with your customer can create a customer service advantage over your competition. Customers are more likely to hire a company that has been recommended to them by a friend or family member. Focusing your marketing strategies on relationship and value will build the trust in your brand that your competitor may not have.
Evidence & Process – As a service provider, your client will not be walking away with a tangible item that they can hold. This means that you are not solving a “need to have” problem, but rather a “need to feel” problem. The challenges lie in marketing that your company can be trusted to provide a service in a certain amount of time, at a certain standard.
Opportunity – Customers looking to hire a service are already in the mind set of a longer sales process. They are looking to be educated, and sometimes don’t even know what their problem is that needs solving. This time can be spent GIVING rather than SELLING to the client and will inevitably allow for a stronger, more trust-based relationship.
MARKETING STRATEGY TAKE AWAYS
- Make it easy for your clients to review your service. Provide a handout or email with an easy survey or links to review sites.
- Take time to really nail down the problems that your clients need help solving. What do you want them to FEEL once you have provided your service? From there – marketing strategies should be focused on those value statements.
- Premium content should be a high priority. White papers, blog postings and email marketing strategies can help to provide your clients with the information they want and can establish lasting relationships that keep them purchasing long term.