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.

The Role of Technology in Education

In the current age we live in, technology has become an important component. Every day there is some new gadget or software that makes lives easier and improves on the technology and software that already exists. Making lives easier is not, however, the only role technology plays in our lives.

Technology is playing an increasing role in education. As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process.

Technology used in the classroom helps students adsorb the material. For example, since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture.

Software can be used to supplement class curriculum. The programs provide study questions, activities, and even tests and quizzes for a class that can help students continue learning outside the classroom.

Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computers to create presentations and use the Internet to research topics for papers and essays.

Students also learn to use the technology available to them in computer and tech classes. This ensures that after graduation they will be able to use the technology in a work setting, which may put them ahead of someone who didn’t have access to a particular technology or software in their own school setting.

As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like these. When something new and “better” is revealed, the “older” technology becomes more affordable, allowing it to be used in educational settings, even when schools are on a tight budget.

Technology has also advanced to help children even before they’ve started school. Educational video games and systems for young children helps them prepare for school and in some cases get a head start on their education.

There are people who may say children are “spoiled” by technology. Instead of being able to add a long column of numbers in their heads, for example, they turn to a calculator. Regardless of these arguments, technology is an important part of today’s society. By incorporating it into the classroom, students will be better equipped to transition from the classroom to the work place.

Bridge Jewelry – Artisan Jewelry

Jewelry is more than an accessory; it can be a promise, a remembrance, a statement or a frivolous decoration. Fine jewelry, Bridge jewelry and Fashion Jewelry are all types of jewelry that allow you to have a variety of choices to add to your collection and create your look. The terms Bridge jewelry and Artisan jewelry are sometimes used as if they are synonymous. We will explore this assumption and discover that Bridge jewelry and Artisan jewelry can be the same thing, but are not always the same.

Fine jewelry uses at least 14 kt. Gold or other precious metals along with precious gems like diamonds, sapphires, rubies or emeralds. Fine jewelry can be mass-produced or artisan-made one-of-a-kind pieces or limited-edition. It can be found in fine jewelry stores or in galleries. It commands the highest prices and holds value very well.

Fashion jewelry can also be artisan-made or mass produced. Materials used in the designs are base metals, glass, plastic and other synthetics. This jewelry may also be made of shell, wood and other organic materials. Fashion jewelry is available in craft shows, department stores, discount stores, drug stores and even flea markets. Prices on Fashion jewelry tend to be the most affordable of all jewelry. Its value is in its usability and the addition to your wardrobe.

Bridge jewelry is called that because it is the bridge between Fine jewelry and Fashion jewelry. It may use vermeil, gold filled or silver as the metal and uses semi precious stones such as amethyst, citrine, turquoise, jade, topaz, fresh water pearls, garnet and others. Much Bridge jewelry is artisan-made, but it can also be mass produced. Bridge jewelry is often found in craft shows, galleries and art shows. Prices are in the mid range between Fine jewelry and Fashion jewelry. Depending on the artist and/or materials, this jewelry can be a good investment.

Of course other combinations are found in jewelry. Some designers use precious metals such as 14k gold with amethyst. These pieces are not so easily classified. Price points and materials are the most definitive difference between the categories. Fine jewelry as the most expensive and Fashion jewelry as an inexpensive alternative. Bridge jewelry falls between these two on price.

Bridge jewelry can be a unique and affordable addition to your collection. You may see some familiar names in galleries or fine department stores and begin to recognize them as producers of Bridge jewelry. When you attend an art show, take a special look and you will recognize that much of it is fine artisan-made Bridge jewelry. It can provide you a good value because of the combination of quality materials; creativity and workmanship provided by the designers of these unique one-of-a-kind or limited edition pieces.

What Is Car Body Glass Coating?

Glass coating is an inorganic material made of a Silica or a Quartz-Silane-based compound. It is used to protect the painted surfaces of car bodies. It is less likely to stain. Unlike traditional wax, its luster and protection can be long-lasting once it is applied. This is because they do not contain materials that oxidize (bind with oxygen). Oxidation weakens the original protection and shine of many car products, thus rendering the car surface prone to damage. It is easy to maintain, provides clean, shiny surfaces and long-lasting protection.

What is the difference between coating and wax?

The main component of wax is carnauba wax oil, which is extracted from palm trees. In recent years, some waxes have added petroleum. Higher quality waxes contain more carnauba oil. Carnauba wax is oil based, so it has water-repellent characteristics and can obscure scratches. However, there are also disadvantages. Waxes can easily become dirty because oil has a high viscosity (thick and sticky). This means dirt can stick to it. Also, wax can easily melt and deteriorate because it is sensitive to heat. Sunshine or engine heat can promote deterioration and cause wax to melt off the car’s surface. Wax can also break down in the rain or when the car is washed.

On the other hand, coating has a chemical composition of silicon, silica, fluorine and titanium. These molecules form a film coating that penetrates between the molecules of the car’s painted surface, creating a very powerful protective layer. Resistant to dirt, heat and rain, coating’s protection and shine will last over a longer period than wax.

There are various kinds of coatings that range in application complexity from simple, which any consumer can apply, to products for professional use only.

During its application, if the car’s surface is dirty and rough, materials will not adhere to car body paint, so surface preparation before application is important.

Types of Glass Coatings

Glass-based coatings can be broadly divided into two categories: quartz-silane based coatings and silica-based coatings.

The quartz-silane-based glass coating, also known as “completely cured glass film type” achieves very high gloss and strong durability. It protects the car body by creating a cured coating of silica on the car’s surface. However, it takes about three weeks for the coating to be fully cured, which is a drawback. It is also expensive because it takes a long time for the product to be formulated.

The silica-based glass coating, also known as “glass fiber type “, also makes a film, coating the surface of the car body. It is fixed to a silicon polymer molecule. It is an easy formulation and, therefore, is costs less to produce. However, its durability and water repellency is inferior compared to the quartz-silane-based.

In addition, some of the fluorine-based coatings, such as Teflon, are used to coat car bodies. They are excellent in durability. However, they are inferior compared to glass coatings and more expensive to formulate. As a result, glass coatings are on the cutting edge of technology’s focus of exploration.

A Glass Coating Hybrid

Currently, there is debate about whether hydrophilic (attracts water) products are more effective than hydrophobic (repels water) products for car care. Glass is hydrophilic. The new types of glass coatings are hybrids, adding a silicone resin layer to the existing glass layer to change the hydrophilic trait of glass to hydrophobic, thus creating a strong water repellant product.