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WHAT CHARACTERISTICS AND BEHAVIOURS DISTINGUISH SERVICES MARKETING FROM PRODUCT MARKETING?

Services have certain characteristics that distinguish them from products. A service is intangible; it cannot be seen, heard, or touched. It is inseparable from the source of supply, because each supplier is unique despite competitive attempts to imitate a service. The quality of a service also varies, even within a single organization, where different people perform the same service in different ways. Finally, demand for certain services is perishable; in other words, demand is uneven, in some cases seasonal, and this creates a problem for marketers of services. Similar to product marketing situations, when planning a marketing strategy the marketer of a service must consider the attitudes, needs, and motives of potential customers and how an organization goes about buying services.

HOW DO SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS UTILIZE THE MARKETING MIX?

Because services are intangible, the marketer must offer things beyond the primary service to make the experience meaningful for the customer. Beyond the primary service those additional elements include consistency (in offering the service), attitude (of employees providing the service), environment (pleasing and comfortable to ensure satisfaction), and availability and timing (appropriate frequency of offering). The price of a service is derived more from the v alue it provides consumers than from direct costs. The channels of distribution are direct, and marketing communications efforts are aimed directly at the final user. Service marketers employ all elements of the marketing mix, but the main planning concern is that the firm understands exactly what it is that the customer is buying. Service organizations market themselves much like brands do.

WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DISTINGUISH NOT-FOR-PROFIT MARKETING FROM PRODUCT MARKETING?

Not-for-profit marketing is used by organizations whose goals do not centre on financial gain. Such organizations operate in the best interests of the public or advocate a particular idea or cause. Not-for-profit groups have unique characteristics and different objectives. Their objectives are to promote (1) people, by fostering certain attitudes toward particular persons; (2) ideas, by gaining acceptance for ways of thinking; (3) places, by encouraging visits t o a country, province, or city; and (4) organizations, by raising funds, cultivating an image, or persuading people to use the facilities. Rather than aiming for financial targets, not-for-profit bodies attempt to change attitudes. In doing so, they must consider two distinct targets: the clients who use and derive the benefits of the organization, and the donors who provide the organization with resources.

HOW DO NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS UTILIZE THE MARKETING MIX?

These organizations think and act like brand marketers, have a clear brand strategy, and use all elements of the marketing mix to help them reach their goals. In social marketing situations (charities and causes), the marketer assumes its charity or cause will be of interest to potential supporters and the price is related to any financial donation that is requested. Cause marketers operate in a very competitive environment, however. Distribution strategies tend to be direct and marketing communications utilize personal selling and direct-response advertising techniques. In people and place marketing, mass advertising plays a key role in generating awareness and interest and the marketing is very similar to product marketing. Creating a good brand image is important.