Friday, November 13, 2009

Service , Marketing and Building Relationship

Marketing efforts once focused primarily on the selling of manufactured products such as cars and aspirin. But today the service industries have grown more important to the economy than the manufacturing sector. Services, unlike products, are intangible and involve a deed, a performance, or an effort that cannot be physically possessed. Currently, more people are employed in the provision of services than in the manufacture of products, and this area shows every indication of expanding even further. In fact, more than eight in ten U.S. workers labor in such service areas as transportation, retail, health care, entertainment, and education. In the United States alone, service industries now account for more than 70 percent of the gross national product (GNP, the total of all goods and services produced by a country) and are expected to provide 90 percent of all new jobs by 2012.

Services, like products, require marketing. Usually, service marketing parallels product marketing with the exception of physical handling. Services must be planned and developed carefully to meet consumer demand. For example, in the field of temporary personnel, a service that continues to increase in monetary value, studies are made to determine the types of employee skills needed in various geographical locations and fields of business. Because services are more difficult to sell than physical products, promotional campaigns for services must be even more aggressive than those for physical commodities.

In the past, most advertising and promotional efforts were developed to acquire new customers. But today, more and more advertising and promotional efforts are designed to retain current customers and to increase the amount of money they spend with the company. Consumers see so much advertising that they have learned to ignore much of it. As a result, it has become more difficult to attract new customers. Servicing existing customers, however, is easier and less expensive. In fact, it is estimated that acquiring a new customer costs five to eight times as much as keeping an existing one.

To retain current customers, some companies develop loyalty programs such as the frequent flyer programs used by many airlines. A marketer may also seek to retain customers by learning a customer’s individual interests and then tailoring services to meet them., for example, keeps a database of the types of books customers have ordered in the past and then recommends new books to them based on their past selections. Such programs help companies retain customers not only by providing a useful service, but also by making customers feel appreciated. This is known as relationship building.
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