Services Marketing

Services marketing has incurred an explosive amount of scholarly research in the last 20 years, however since 1986 there has been no debate concerning the notion that services are distinct from products, and thus deserve a special approach, a set of concepts and a body of knowledge (Brown, Fisk, & Bitner, 1994). This essay will explain the distinguishing features of services marketing, giving examples where possible. It will begin by defining services marketing and giving some background knowledge on its divergence from product marketing. It will then examine the four characteristics of services, and then finish with an explanation of the extra P’s found in the services marketing mix.

In the last century there has been a large shift in marketing thought; evolving from a goods-dominated view, in which tangible output and discrete transactions were the focus, to a service-dominant view, in which intangibility, exchange processes, and relationships are central (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). Vargo and Lusch define services as the application of specialized competences (knowledge and skills) through deeds, processes, and performances for the benefit of another entity or the entity itself. Four idiosyncratic features of services will now be given, highlighting why services marketing is different from basic product marketing.

Arguably the most distinguishing feature about services is their intangibility. Services are defined in (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2006) as “deeds, processes, and performances”. None of these are physical objects in which a customer can take ownership of, even though during a service physical evidence will be apparent in the form of things like medicine the doctors prescribes to you, the photo taken of you riding the rollercoaster, or the food on your plate in a restaurant. This invisibility creates a number of issues for marketers. Firstly there is no stock, making it hard to manage supply and demand. Secondly services cannot be shown or displayed to customers, making it hard for marketers to advertise the quality of the service. And finally, because services don’t physically exist, there is difficulty in patenting them, making it easy for other firms to copy your service.

Another notable aspect about products is that on average they stay the same. If you buy a Ford Focus here in Australia, and then go and buy the same model in America, chances are they will both be exactly the same. Services are different in that they are heterogeneous, meaning they differ with each use. For example a wildlife tour will never be the same twice, not only because of the random and unpredictable nature of the animals, but the guide may be in a different mood, the weather will have changed, and there will be different customers each time. These factors make it harder to consistently give quality service, which is important to marketers because customers will have a particular set of expectations in mind, based primarily on what was promoted in the service and previous experiences in the particular industry.

Another distinguishable feature about services is the fact that it’s both produced and consumed at the same time, as opposed to products where customers do not see how the product is manufactured. A good metaphor for this is being at the theatre. Consumers can be compared to an audience, where they watch actors (employees) perform on stage (physical location like a business store) amongst props (physical objects like chairs, tables, pot plants etc). The actors are ‘live’ and performing (producing) at the same time as the audience are watching (consuming). This brings us to the concept of interactive marketing. In a service, operational staff carries out much of the marketing function (Klassen, Russel, & Chrisman, 1998), and marketers are left to the advertising and promotion.

The final distinction that differentiates services from products is their perishability. While some products perish very quickly (like water balloons), services simply cannot be stored, saved, resold or returned at all. Marketers main concern would be the procedure for when things do not go as planned. Customers cannot simply return the service and ask for another one; it is up to the service provider to offer the customer some kind of compensation. If passengers are forced to wait a long time for their flight, employees could provide free coffee and refreshments while they wait, in an attempt to make up for their failing service.

With product marketing the marketing mix includes the four P’s; product, price, place and promotion. Services use the same elements plus three more to help account for their unique nature.

Firstly there is people, which comprise of everyone that influences the buyer’s perceptions, including the buyer themselves. Customers have an active role in the production, and thus can influence the outcome of their own service or the service of others. For example a large family with screaming children interrupting a young couples romantic dinner at a restaurant.

Every person is important to the marketer, no matter how small their role may be. Consider an IT professional who installs computers in people’s homes. During that installation the buyer may form an opinion of the service provider as a whole based purely on that IT professionals performance. Sometimes a person is the sole service provider, for example a dentist or lawyer, making their performance and appearance critical to gaining a high perceived quality of service.

The sixth ‘P’ is physical evidence, which is the environment in which the service is delivered and where the firm and customer interact (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2006). It also includes any physical objects that assist in the delivery of the service. (Lehtinen & Lehtinen, 1991) define it as the environment and its instruments. With some services customers may find it hard to judge the quality of the service, especially with credence service’s like financial advisors or legal advice. It is crucial that marketing managers address consumer fears regarding risk that results before, during, and after consumption of credence services (Keh & Sun, 2008). Since the customer does not have the knowledge or experience to judge the actual service, they instead turn their attention to other things, including the physical evidence of service quality. This would usually come in the form of a professional looking workspace, however would change with each service provider. For example in a doctors surgery cleanliness would be expected.

Finally there is the service process, including the procedures, mechanisms and flow of activities by which the service is delivered (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2006). When purchasing a service, customers often have a set of expectations of the process of the service, and when these are not met, the perceived quality of service drops. For example in white water rafting a customer might be dissatisfied if, when they arrived, they were told they had to carry the raft to the top of the river first. The process is important because people participate in it, unlike products, where the process is behind doors.

Services represent at least 70% of the nation’s total GDP for at least 5 countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, making it a hot topic for not only marketers, but anyone competing in the business world. Services are distinguished from products by four characteristics; intangibility, they are heterogeneous, there is simultaneous production and consumption, and their perishability. Services marketing differs from product marketing from the fact that three extra P’s are added to the original marketing mix; people, physical evidence and process.

Cracking The Employment Pre Screening Test – The Various Sectors Of The Pre-Screening Test

Whether the company is small or big the employer usually conducts a Employment Pre-Screening Test and it is within the rights of the employer to conduct the Employment Pre-Screening Test to ensure that they are hiring the correct employee who's personal goals aligned with that of The company's goals. So for getting into the company the first step is to pass the Employment Pre-Screening Test.

The components of Employment Pre Screening Test are psychometric test, drug test and background checking. Apart from all these there can be some more tests which can be connected by the HR professionals to get facts about the applicant, about his suitability for a particular job.

Background checking is a usual way for pre-employment Screening. This is done along with other pre-employment screening tests which are either performed online or at the company's concessions. The Aptitude test is either through electronic means or it can be a written one. It tests ones reasoning capability. The other test may examine the applicant's technical skill as may be required for the job the candidate is applying for.

The instruments which are utilized during Employment Pre Screening Tests are reliable and include Applicant Risk Profiler and Career Ethic inventory. Applicant Risk profiler is used to assess whether an individual can maintain a safe workplace in spite of its negative behavior. The career Ethic inventory measures an individual's attitude. All these Employment Pre-Screening Test tests wherever you are fit enough to gel with the work-culture and organizational culture of the company.

Space relations, symbolic reasoning and mechanical visualizations, numerical skills and verbal comprehension are tested using more specific aptitude test which forms a part of Employment Pre-Screening Test. At a higher level a Professional Employment Test is also done. This PET is used to assess a candidate's cognitive ability and behavior which he will use for his future professional responsibilities.

Few HR professional may have not abided by the common standards typically followed by the companies. This may be their method to select the most eligible candidate for certain unique positions. The distinct method may include the employment pre-screening tests which contain their unique way of finding the candidates proficiency in many factors that can influence work related productivity.

Thus if you desire to work for certain company and pursue you career their be prepared to prove yourself in the Pre-Employment screening tests. If you come out with flying colors it will be easy for you to get the coveted position you always wanted. But be aware that such Pre-employment test are transitory in nature and there will be many more that will come your way in your career where in you will be subjected to various screening procedures.

Benefits of Shopping Malls

The earliest malls were Paris Arcades in the 19th century. They became very popular with shoppers instantly. Since then shopping malls have evolved to suit people’s tastes. Shopping malls are the most preferred shopping areas in our times among shoppers across the globe.

Earlier shops in shopping centres catered to the elite. But it is no longer the case. Now, there are shops in shopping malls which cater to different budgets.

Shoppers prefer shopping centres/malls to stand-alone shops for various reasons:

1. They have their own parking facility.

2. There is a wide variety of products available.

3. There are products from competing producers available under one roof. So, they can compare and make purchases.

4. They have facilities such as restrooms.

5. They have gaming zones.

6. There are food courts with a wide variety of cuisine.

7. There are movie theatres in shopping centres.

All these features making shopping a fun-filled and satisfying experience.

Since shopping centres are the most sought-after shopping destinations, it is beneficial for a businessman to set up a store in a shopping mall. Generally, retail store owners rent shop space in a mall. Renting store space benefits the businessman in many ways.

• Shopping malls are usually located in prime locations which are easily accessible. If a retailer sets up a store in a mall, he can have the shop in a prime location with a minimal investment. On the other hand, if he attempts purchasing a shop in such a location, he may not be able to afford it. A rented property implies low initial investment. This enables the businessman to utilize the saved amount on his business.

• He can attract clients of competitors who have shops in the mall. This enables him to build a clientele easily.

• He does not have to direct his time and efforts towards the maintenance of the shop. This helps him to focus on his business.

• Generally, the charges for utilities are included in the rent. Hence, he does not have to involve himself in these matters.

• Many a time, businessmen set up pop-up stores in shopping centres in order to attract customers for new products. This is a popular location for a pop-up store as it is a high traffic area.

With so many benefits of shopping malls to shoppers as well as businessmen we can conclude that shopping centres will only rise in popularity with time.

A Short History Of The Motorcycle

Todays motorcycles are everywhere and there are lots of different classes or kinds of motorcycles as well. But the motorcycle, like the automobile, is a relative newcomer to the world stage.

The first motorcycle ever assembled was built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885 in Bad Cannstatt in Germany. They were actually focusing more on the motor that was installed to power the two-wheeled contraption and not so much on creating a new kind of vehicle, but the resulting impact on motorized travel would be tremendous. There were earlier versions of steam powered bicycles, but this was the first petroleum powered motorcycle.

Not long afterward in 1894 the very first production motorcycle went on sale as the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller motorcycle. It wasn’t long after that before several of the bicycle companies of that time got into the act and started selling versions of what was essentially motorized bicycles. However, as horsepower increased, the engines started to outgrow the bicycle frames that were used as their carriage.

The most popular motorcycle company before World War 1 was Indian motorcycle. After the war, Harley Davidson took over the number one spot until 1928 when DKW became the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the world. For a few years after World War 2 BSA took over as the largest motorcycle producer until 1955 when NSU Motorworks who had started out as a knitting machine company in 1884 became the dominant manufacturer for the next couple of decades.

Then in the 1970s the Japanese companies Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki made their entrance into this field, changed the face of the industry, and quickly became the dominant motorcycle suppliers to the world from then on. Since the 70s Honda has held the title of the world’s largest motorcycle maker. Today, the big four motorcycle makers have penetrated practically every motorcycle market in the world, and they are highly regarded as makers of high quality motorcycle products.

In recent years some of the older motorcycle brands like the Indian have regained popularity with Harley Davidson being the most successful by far.