Problems and strategies in services marketing

Topics: Marketing, Professor, Perishability Pages: 15 (550 words) Published: June 22, 2014
Valarie A. Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman, & Leonard L Berry

Problems and Strategies in
Services Marketing
This article compares problems and strategies cited in the services marketing literature with those reported by actual service suppliers in a study conducted by the authors. Discussion centers on several broad themes that emerge from this comparison and on guidelines for future work in services marketing.

basic assumptions pervade the growing body
I of literature on services marketing. The first holds
that a number of unique characteristics—notably intangibility, inseparability of production and consumption, heterogeneity, and perishability—separate services from tangible goods. The second assumption maintains that these characteristics pose vexing problems for services marketers that are not faced by goods marketers. The third and final assumption holds that

services marketing problems require services marketing solutions—that strategies developed from experience in goods marketing are often insufficient. The purposes of this article are: (1) to offer a conceptual framework summarizing the unique characteristics of services, the problems stemmingfromtíiese characteristics, and the strategies suggested as appropriate to overcome the problems; (2) to report the findings of a national survey of managers of service

firms concerning the problems they face and the marketing strategies they use to overcome them; (3) to "THREE

Vatarie Â. Zeithaml is Assistant Professor of Marketing, A. Parasuraman is Associate Professor of Marketing, and Leonard L Berry is Professor of Marketing, Texas A&M University. The authors gratefully acknowledge the œntrlbutions made by Gregory Upah and four anonymous reviewers.

Vol. 48 (Spring %mm, 33-46.

compare the problems and strategies cited in the literature with those reported by managers of services firms; and (4) to offer recommendations for the development of services marketing thought.

Literature on Services Marketing
The rationale for a separate treatment of services marketing centers on the existence of a number of characteristics of services which are consistently cited in the literature: intangibility, inseparability of production and consumption, heterogeneity, and perishability. Figure 1 presents a summary of the references documenting these differences.

The fundamental difference universally cited by
authors (e.g., Bateson 1977; Berry 1980; Lovelock
1981; Rathmell 1966, 1974; Shostack 1977a) is intangibility. Because services are performances, rather than objects, they cannot be seen, felt, tasted, or
touched in the same manner in which goods can be
sensed. Intangibility, according to Bateson (1979) is
the critical goods-services distinction from which all
other differences emerge.
Inseparability of production and consumption involves the simultaneous production and consumption which characterizes most services. Whereas goods are
first produced, then sold and then consumed, services
are first sold, then produced and consumed simulta-

Problenis and SMegies in Smcts Mariwthig / 33

FIGURE 1
References Listing Unique Characteristics of Services*

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