When you market something tangible, the customer creates an expectation of what will be delivered, the physical output of the desire you have created in them. The product.
When you market something seemingly intangible, the same happens, there is an expectation from the desire you have created in them. The service.
You can market the two the same yes?
It depends on your perspective. If you see a product as something physical that you can touch and feel and not something that creates an emotional tie in to the client or tells a story you’ll struggle to get your head round selling a service.
If you see both as meeting a clients needs and delivering on what you have said you are going to offer and the emotion you are going to create, you will stand a better chance.
A product marketing approach appears to have a deadline, when the product is successfully in the hands of the consumer the deal is done, marketing over. Move on to the next.
This is not really the case, as the product will carry a brand which will have equity and there may likely be a case for repeat purchases therefore you need to continue marketing to your client to provide a strong pipeline for your sales team.
A service led marketing approach feels intangible and longer term as the success of the service provided relies on:
The expectations of the buyer
The expectations of the seller/Consultant
The budget and resource in place to deliver the above.
This can also be said about product marketing except the expectations of the buyer are often clearer, purely through the tangible nature of what is being offered.
If you are a marketer with a pragmatic and strategic brain you can easily make both work. I have been lucky enough to experience both product and service marketing in my career and I don’t have a preference for one or the other now. For me, it’s all about understanding the client, their needs, their expected outcomes, their budgets, their resource and their ego.
Once you have those elements you are well placed to lay down some expectations of your own in order to give them what they want.
Your needs as the buyer need to be clear.
If you need a new car you go and buy from your ‘favourite’ brands, you start off at Aston Martin because you love what that tells other people about you (successful, brave, ambitious, classy) and then assess your budget. Eventually because you heart has stopped getting in the way and your frontal lobe has taken over, you go and buy something practical and within budget from VW. You’ve made a product purchase but all of the other aspirations and customer experience in the showrooms etc have swayed your feel for that brand.
If you need a Mortgage advisor you shop around, you look for someone local and assess your ‘feel’ for them when they come to your home or you go to their offices. You may ask for recommendations from friends too and trust their judgement so as not to make a mistake.
You can take a product back – you can’t ‘undo’ a service and that’s where the fear kicks in.
At the end of the contract from this service you have been provided, you either get results or you don’t, the service provider has delivered to your expectations or they haven’t. That outcome review is down to you so again, that fear kicks in and the pressure is on.
The beauty of service is that it can more often exceed your expectations than a product because it involves human connections and real life communication and conversations.
Give me a product to sell and market and I’m just as happy as if you’ve given me a service. I can tailor my approach for both.
If you want an informal chat about marketing your product or service give me a shout.