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.

Is a House a Good Investment For You?

Are you among the crowd who is still thinking of where to invest the money they earned from years of working hard? There may have been unsolicited advises convincing you to put your share on various networking companies. Some may have even told you to put up a startup company. But is this the most practical thing you could probably do to your money? Perhaps, yes, if its your choice.

However, investing has its ups and downs depending on the industry you’re going to delve into. Yet, do you know that buying a house or owning one is one of the most intelligent investments you would probably make. Why?

Homes can be turned into rental properties. With necessary adjustments and with proper leasing or rental documents, you can turn your house into an additional income stream. What’s even good is rental fees tend to increase on regular intervals. There are persons who often move because of job changes. They constantly look for homes which they can rent, and yours can be their next rental homes.

Depending on a home’s location, it can also be a perfect vacation house. Typically, families, especially those with children, and those which embrace the concept of extended families – do love to have vacation houses. During specific periods of the year, the house can serve as a reunion spot for relatives to gather. So, thinking of having a vacation house? Should it be near a beach, the woods, or perhaps one that offers mountainview or cityview otherwise?

Home values typically increase. Thus, if you’re going to put your house for a resale – chances are you’re going to get good profits. So you better ask your local real estate agent which areas have markets in which home prices experience surges. Commonly, these areas include those where professionals flock because of employment opportunities.

Buying a house is also seen by financial houses as a better investment than credit cards. This is one reason why there are many lenders that charge low-interest rates on home mortgages.

Are these reasons still not enough to convince you how good of an investment is owning a house? Another bonus benefit of owning a house is the local community attachment you’re going to build. You’re start to have acquaintances who’ll later become your friends. Your neighbors will likely become close to you like family. There will be some sort of emotional attachment.

Talking Cars From Movies and TV

Surely, at some point in your life, you have owned a car and rented that it would come to life in an instant. There are some iconic cars from movies and TV that make us have car envy and hope that with a push of a button we could be in the Batmobile. Here are a few of the top iconic cars from the movies or TV and their features.

First off, Pixar's film "Cars". This movie follows Lightening McQueen (played by Owen Wilson) while he tries to make it back from the run down town of Radiator Spring in hopes to win the Piston Cup. There are many other characters that we meet during McQueen's journey, Mater the loveable tow-truck (played by Larry the Cable Guy), Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), and former Piston Cup winner Doc Hudson (played by Paul Newman). This race car is a new rookie for the races and can reach extreme high speeds. He has some interesting features that model actual race cars, like having stickers instead of headlights. However, this car talks, has eyes, and has a winning personality.

Next on our list is KITT from Knight Rider. KITT, Knight Industries Three Thousand, is a sporty 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and has an artificial intelligent computer installed that allows it to help Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) fight crime. KITT (William Daniels) has a special body armor that protects it from just about any type of firearm and can resist extreme heat. The super computer on wheels of course could talk, but not only that, he was fluent in Spanish and French, and even has a variety of different accents. This really was the best car ever for any human crime fighter since it could talk, smell, hear, could examine the area, had an array of weapons, had different modes like silent mode, and of course he could still function as a regular car . Pardon me, an awesome car.

Herbie is a very iconic car which lands it in the next slot on our list. This old school Volkswagon Beetle race car actually in habits the human soul who made him named Herbie. Herbie can function just fine on its own like any normal car: driving itself, reasoning, thinking, knowing the difference between good and evil. Ok, so normal cars do not do that last one, or any of those. But, Herbie does race and help its owners survive different situations and helping good demand over evil.

Some people can be obsessive about a car, but what about a car obsessed with it's owner. That is the case with the car Chrstine. In the movie, Christine was portrayed as a 1958 Plymouth Fury who was obsessed with her owner Arnie (Keith Gordon). Christen takes it upon herself to find those who insult, hurt, or attempt to separate her and her love, Arnie. She can not talk like some of the other cars like KITT of Lightening McQueen, but like Herbie, it's as if her soul is trapped inside the car. And, what a soul it is. Christen will wreak havoc to anyone who does her Arnie wrong, no matter how much it may hurt her. Hell hath no fury like a woman, um, car scorned.