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Service Marketing: How Can You Use it to Boost Your Business

Table of Contents

What is Service Marketing?

Service marketing can make a big difference in your business. It is about the tactics and strategies you use in marketing your intangible services, not your tangible products.

With more businesses offering professional services, this is an expanding field. Examples of service marketing businesses are consulting, insurance, financial planning, healthcare services, etc.

Service is different from traditional product marketing because it focuses on building relationships and the value created by customer interaction, customization, customer expectations, and the customer experience.

In my business, I consult with people and organizations about how to get funding from sponsors. I know my clients’ birthdays, their anniversaries and when their kids are graduating from school. I actually answer my own phone and people are shocked. In fact, there is a silence when I pick up the phone because people can’t believe that they don’t get a voicemail service when they call my business.

Now service-based businesses dominate the landscape and understanding how to market them effectively is mission-critical for you. Marketing services is more challenging than products and it’s crucial for you to define how you are different from the competition.

Building trust and establishing rapport with your clients is vital in your marketing and deliveries. You can reinforce your relationship-building with digital tools to connect with your target market.

Woman doing presentation

Key Takeaways

  • Service marketing strategies address the intangible nature of your services.Know, like and trust is crucial for your success.
  • Use digital channels to augment relationships and augment customer engagement.

Overview of Service Marketing

Service marketing has become its own type of marketing because of its unique challenges and characteristics. Here is the insights into the evolution of service marketing and how it differs from product marketing.

What’s the Evolution of Service Marketing?

In the early 1980s, service marketing emerged as a prominent field because more professionals started marketing intangibles. Before this, traditional marketing was focused on physical products. Over time, businesses have recognized that service marketing needs a more customized approach and is a relationship business.

Service vs Product Marketing

Service marketing is different from product marketing is the following ways.

  • Intangibility: Services are real but they can’t be seen, touched or experienced tacitly. When you go to the car dealer, the first thing the salesperson does is having you get into the vehicle so you can feel, touch and experience the new car smell. This begins the process of you imagining owning the car.
  • Inseparability Your services are produced and consumed simultaneously. Products are created and then sold at a later time.
  • Variability: Products can be produced with specific consistent quality, but it’s hard to standardize your services.
  • Perishability: Services can’t be put into inventory and stored. They must be consumed as they are offered, which can affect demand.

Your service marketing needs to account for these characteristics and focus heavily on building customer trust and demonstrating value through relationships, experiences and referrals.

Business man doing presentation

Your Service Marketing Mix

The Service Marketing Mix expands on the traditional marketing mix with the addition of delivering service excellence.

7 Ps of Service Marketing


Your service is your product in the service industry. It’s essential to clearly define what you’re offering, ensuring it fulfills your customers’ needs and expectations.

You and your services are the products. Make sure you clearly define what you’re offering to ensure your customers’ needs and expectations are fulfilled.


Pricing strategies in service marketing require understanding the value customers place on your service. Competitive pricing can attract new customers and retain existing ones.Pricing strategies are more challenging than products. Don’t just rely on competitive pricing because you may offer something more than the mediocre middle and premium pricing yields better clients.


Your service delivery needs to be easy and accessible. Whether in person, by phone or online, your customer convenience is key.


Effective promotion techniques communicate the benefits and features of your service to your target market. Tailoring promotional efforts can set you apart in a crowded marketplace.

Some people find it harder to sell themselves than a physical product. The benefits of your services need to be communicated effectively by your deliverables, customer testimonials and your clients understanding how you are different and better than everyone else.


Each employee is a brand ambassador and they need to be trained in delivering a high-quality customer experience.

I’m always surprised when major companies spend lots of money on advertising, but don’t train their front-line people. The restaurant host is your first contact with the dining experience and they need to give you great service rather than making you feel like you’re an interruption to their day. When was the last time that you called customer service and were disappointed in the level of solving your problem and their professionalism?


Streamlined processes and procedures are the backbone of customer satisfaction. Efficiency in how services are delivered can increase customer loyalty and streamline operations.

Streamlined processes and procedure to the customer experience. Services also need to delivered efficiently. Customer complaints should be addressed immediately and complaining customers can become your best fans and a great source of referrals for new business.

Physical Evidence

Your services are intangible and you can also provide physical evidence through branding, promotion and marketing.

Business people in conference room

Service Design and Development

When you approach service design and development, your focus should be on constructing a robust blueprint and developing a prototype that ensures an effective and satisfying customer experience.

Service design and development is all about constructing a great blueprint for a consistent customer experience again and again.

Service Blueprinting

Service blueprinting is your strategic plan for how your service will function from start to finish. You can map out the front-line activities you need to implement, customer actions, and the backend processes.

Identify the touchpoints where customers interact with your services. Spot potential bottlenecks and where there may be friction.

Service Prototyping

Once you’ve created your service blueprint, you can do your service prototyping. This is translating your service into a tangible model that can be tested and refined continuously.

You can create an interactive model of your services and then conduct tests with real users for insightful feedback. In marketing, you test, test and then test again.

Consumer Behavior with Service Businesses

In service marketing, you need to understand your consumer behavior including their expectations, frustrations, pain points and perceptions.

Customer Expectations

Customers come to you with baggage. They have past experiences and expectations based on branding messages, referrals and their own experience.

  • Benchmarks include
    • Quality of service
    • Speed of service
    • Cost-effectiveness

Customer Perceptions

Customer perceptions are how your clients see and understand the services you provide. This is shaped by your performance, competence and delivery of services.

Factors influencing perceptions include:

  • Personal interactions: Your attitude as a service provider.
  • Physical evidence: Your physical environment and any tangible elements of your service.
  • Responsiveness: How well does your service respond to the customer needs? How reliable is your company? How quickly do you return phone calls and electronic communications?

Remember, customer perceptions can be more influential than actual service quality when it comes to customer satisfaction and choosing to return to or recommend your services.

Customer perceptions are important because they can be more influential than actual service quality when it comes to customer satisfaction.


Service Quality

Maintaining the highest quality and value are crucial to customer satisfaction. Quality needs to be clearly defined and measured.

Quality is defined by the difference between customer expectations and these dimensions:

Service Standardization

Standardization means providing a consistent customer experience to everyone. It’s about setting clear service delivery policies and standards.

  • Set clear guidelines: These are your standards for service and delivery.
  • Training and development: I know a well-managed business by the training of their teams so they provide customers with expertise and a level of comfort.
  • Monitoring and feedback systems:  Getting customer feedback, monitoring and adjusting your deliverables to be constantly providing excellence.

By standardizing your services, you can reduce the variability in deliverables and build strong customer relationships.

Service Delivery and Performance

With service marketing, you need to ensure exceptional service delivery, high standards and performance of excellence.

Service Encounter

Each customer interaction is a service encounter. It’s mission-critical for you to align your customer-driven service design and standards with the actual service delivery to avoid discrepancies and disappointments.

Service Failure and Recovery

If there is a lapse in service, you need to implement effective recovery measure swiftly. Recognize the service failures and empathize with the client. Hastily implement complaint recovery procedures and check-in to gauge your customer satisfaction.

Woman serving customer

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is paramount for your service business. It emphasizes the long-term customer engagement rather than short-term engagements. It’s about the holistic customer experience, leveraging customization, responsiveness and insuring loyal customers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is all about managing your prospects and customers with digital tools. This organizes, automates and synchronizes your marketing, sales and support. There are many good digital platforms on the market and it’s all about growing your sales.

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty insures the future of your businesses. We all know about under-promising and over-delivering. This makes each customer feel valued and seen. It’s all about going the extra mile with personalized service that turns a first-time buyer into a lifetime customer.

When I get a new customer, I send a physical gift basket. If the goodies are delivered to an office, everyone fights about who gets the chocolate, popcorn and fruits. If it’s delivered to a home, you gain the appreciation of the customer’s family. There is still something magical about getting a gift delivery and the basket stays in full view of everyone.

Business people

Service Marketing Strategies

Service marketing success is all about positioning and differentiation. Here are some tools and techniques.

Positioning and Differentiation

To effectively position your service, identify your unique value proposition. Communicate to the market how you are different than the competition and don’t be afraid to let customers know how they will get an upscale experience.

  • Customer Segmentation: Identify anc cater to the specific niches within the market that you can serve.
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP):  Clearly state why customers should serve your business. It could be about how you deliver stellar benefits or provide a luxe experience.

Apply these practices and you can solidify your unique position in the marketplace.

Digital Service Marketing

Using the power of digital tools can give your customers a more personal and satisfying experience.

Customer Engagement Online

To maximize engagement, optimize your website and social media presence. Think about if you want to use chatbots. You can offer interactive content such as quizzes and articles to establish you as a thought leader.

Your website is your global presence, so keep it updated. The best websites are professional with a distinct personality and points of view.

Service Automation

Service automation includes scheduling tools for email marketing, social media and blogs. Embracing automation gives customers faster responses and valuable information.


Global Service Marketing

Global service marketing accounts for varying global cultural norms and marketing in the international landscape.

Cultural Considerations

Cultural nuances can be tricky and sensitivity is paramount. Have someone on your team or use internet research to understand the traditions, beliefs and consumer behaviors unique to each country.

International Marketing Mix

Your international marketing mix should be adapted for each consumer marketplace. Make sure translations are correct and market-appropriate. Your pricing strategies might change due to factors like economic conditions and local advertising standards. Your service marketing strategy can help you position your business globally and create worldwide customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common queries about the nuances of service marketing, shining a light on successful strategies and key tips that drive success in today’s economy.

What distinguishes service marketing from product marketing?

The marketing of services is different because it focuses on selling intangibles and benefits. Services are delivered simultaneously as they are produced and the competence of the service provider is a barometer of success. Trust and value must be established at the outset of the relationship with the customer.

What are some key characteristics of service marketing?

Key characteristics of service marketing are intangibility, inseparability, and variability. Services can’t be separated from the provider, they vary with delivery and cannot be stored.

Linda Hollander
Article Written By:
Linda Hollander has been featured by Inc. Magazine as the leading expert on corporate sponsorship. She is the CEO of Sponsor Concierge, the author of Corporate Sponsorship in 3 Easy Steps, and the founder of the Sponsor Secrets Seminar. Her corporate sponsors have included Citibank, Fed Ex, Health Net, American Airlines, Bank of America, Staples, Wal-Mart, and IBM. She consults with businesses on how to increase their profits and get sponsors. https://SponsorConcierge.com
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