What is Service Marketing? 

From the dentists that check our teeth to the designers who bring our dream website to life, these are two of the many professionals who provide service-based products to their clients. And if you’re interested to build a service-based brand, you need to understand service marketing.

Service marketing refers to the creation of a plan or strategy to sell an intangible product to customers. In short, these goods cannot be seen, heard, touched, or kept by a customer unlike the ones in product marketing. The company is entirely responsible for its service process. 

Business sectors such as insurance, tourism, and hospitality use service marketing to drive growth and success in their industry. 

However, it’s essential to remember that service marketing is a bit more challenging compared to product marketing due to its unique characteristics.  

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Characteristics of Service Marketing: The Four I’s 

The nature of service marketing is divided into 4 I’s: intangibility, inseparability, inconsistency and inventory.  


Unlike products, services do not possess any physical characteristics. This means that questions of transportation, warehousing, and product delivery are non-existent compared to product marketing. 


Another characteristic of service marketing is that it’s inseparable. As the service provider provides the service, it’s consumed by the customer at the same time. For example, a car wash man is cleaning a car and the car owner is witnessing this as it happens. 


Services, unlike products, are inconsistent in quality since the level of skill and expertise may vary from one service provider to another. In most cases, service marketing involves efforts to bridge this inconsistency as much as possible.  As an example, the knowledge and expertise of one stylist can be more advanced than his or her co-stylists.


 It’s not possible to build an inventory with services as in the case of products. Services are delivered at a specific point in time and are therefore time-bound. For example, a mechanic cannot fix your car unless you bring it to their shop

Service Marketing: Challenges and Solutions 

After identifying the characteristics of service marketing, let’s take a closer look at its challenges and how brands can resolve them. 

Lack of physical character

Selling a service is much harder than selling a product since the latter can be seen Products allow the customer to examine their physical quality and characteristics to help with their purchasing decision.

Solution: Get customers involved. Nothing helps sell more than positive word of mouth. A good service marketing strategy implements plans that aim to achieve positive experiences to boost consumer trust and sales. Leveraging SEO tools is one way to help you reach a larger number of people online.  

Perishability of services

Services are considered perishable because a business needs to sell a specific amount of services in a designated time period to cover expenses and generate revenue. A hotel, for example, needs to book out a specific number of rooms every week. When a room lies empty due to lack of demand, that service pauses for that time period. 

Solution: In periods of low demand, service providers can rely on marketing strategies that quickly attract consumers. These can include loyalty rewards, discounts, and promos. 


The last major challenge to service marketing is the variability of services offered to consumers. When two individuals purchase the same product, they are likely to have the same quality. But in the case of services, quality may vary based on who is offering the service and where.

A psychological clinic, for example, hosts a number of therapists. But not all therapists share the same years of experience and therapeutic approach. These differences can affect the success rate of the clients they handle. 

Solution: Concerted efforts to train all service personnel must be undertaken to keep the variations in service delivery to an absolute minimum. This usually includes vigorous training sessions, marketing tools, and detailed operational guidelines that personnel must abide by at all times.  

Read: 9 Steps to Writing an Effective Marketing Plan

Drive more ROI to your service-based business

Coming up with a good service marketing plan can be a daunting task. It requires dedication, strategic planning, and hard work. And challenges may occur along the way. Identify and resolve them with these solutions. 

Also, make sure you equip your business with the right online marketing tools that get you ahead of the competition.

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