For over 20 years, Stephanie Brooks has excelled as a services marketing professional working in a variety of fields and industries. Over the course of her career, she has worked in health care services, hospitality services, air travel and car rental services, financial services and beyond. Additionally, Stephanie Brooks has been working in digital marketing for the past 12 years with a focus on blogs, websites, and social media.
A sub-field of marketing, services marketing deals with the marketing and sales of services rather than goods. Typically, this can include both business to consumer (B2C) services as well as business to business (B2B).
As defined by the American Marketing Association, services are “activities, benefits, and satisfactions which are offered for sale or are provided in connection with the sale of goods”.
For Stephanie Brooks and many other professionals in the marketing field, services marketing can be much more challenging than product marketing for a number of reasons. Services marketing is unique from product marketing in a number of ways, including:
Services are more of an experience than they are a physical product. A service is intangible and cannot be physically touched or inspected by an interested consumer. Without a physical existence, it can be more difficult to sell a service to a consumer rather than a product that can be seen, held, tasted, or even smelt. Intangibility also offers a unique challenge to Stephanie Brooks and other services marketers as they will often need to associate the service with tangible items or attributes to help the consumer better understand the service that is being offered.
Because a service is so experience based, most service offerings are unique and cannot be repeated in the exact same way for each customer. Even when the same service is offered by the same provider, no two experiences are exactly alike. On the other hand, products can be mass produced, so that consumers can be certain of the exact item they will be receiving each time they order it.
Unlike a physical product that can be stored, saved, or reused, a service can not be resold or returned after it has been used. If a consumer is left unsatisfied by a service, there is no way to “unexperience” the service and return it for something new. The only thing a consumer can do to avoid a repeat of a bad service, is to seek out a different service in the future.