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Special Marketing Situations

marketing, industrial marketing, marketing services, marketing mix, selling skills

There is natural tendency for people to see their own particular industry, market or type of operation as being completely different from every other. Thus seminars are held and books written on ‘the marketing of financial services’ (banking, insurance, etc.) or on ‘industrial marketing’. It is obvious that the type of customers and the nature of the needs they are trying to satisfy or the problems to which they seek solutions, strongly influence the way marketing companies respond. Marketing pop records to teenagers is different from marketing pharmaceuticals to doctors. Banks, however, may find themselves offering their services to students using techniques very similar to those used to promoting clothes or electronic equipment to the same market.

Industrial Marketing (Business to Business marketing)
A more rational, deliberative and scientific approach. ‘Industrial consumables’ (stationary etc) are sometimes bought with very little thought while expensive consumer purchases (cars, houses, etc) may sometimes be approached very scientifically.
A more complex decision-making process, although in some major domestic purchases the whole family may be involved.
The existing business may be very important because there are frequently a small number of very large companies.
The complexities of technological products mean that a great deal of service is required.
For these last two reasons, the personal sales force may carry a much higher weight of responsibility than other promotional techniques such as advertising in the promotional mix.

Marketing Services
Most people seems to know the difference between goods (tangible products) and services (intangible products). However, this distinction has limited value when it comes to marketing because what customers buy in both is the ‘satisfactions’ delivered by either a tangible or an intangible product.
There are particular issues related with the marketing of particular kinds of intangible services:
Perishability. Electric generating capacity not used today cannot be sold tomorrow and an empty airline seat or hotel room represents revenue and profit lost for ever. A common response to this problem is ‘differential pricing’, such as off-peak fares or ‘bargain breaks’ in hotels.
Heterogenity. It can be difficult to ensure a standard product of uniform quality when it depends on the skill and consistency of individuals, e.g. hairdressers, waiters, football teams. What customers get for their money may depend on how a particular individual performs on a particular occasion. Training and performance-monitoring by managements have important roles to play.
Intangibility itself makes it difficult in some cases like with insurances and medical care, for the would-be customers to test the quality of the product in advance. For this reason, techniques like free trials and testimonials from satisfied users may play important roles. It is also very important to communicate benefits strongly.
Published: 2007-04-14
Author: Martin Hahn

About the author or the publisher
Martin Hahn PhD has received his education and degrees in Europe in organizational/industrial sociology. He grew up in South-East Asia and moved to Europe to get his tertiary education and gain experience in the fields of scientific research, radio journalism, and management consulting.

After living in Europe for 12 years, he moved to South-East again and has worked for the last 12 years as a management consultant, university lecturer, corporate trainer, and international school administrator

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