When we looked at the marketing mix in previous blogs we talked more about actual products, but can the marketing mix work if you perform a service as your business? First thing we need to do is set the stage by looking briefly at the five characteristics that make a service: Lack of ownership, Intangibility, Inseparability, Perishability and Heterogeneity. I can see you scratching your heads so let’s spend a little time discussing these.
Characteristics of a service
Lack of ownership-You don’t own a service and you can’t put it into storage like an actual item. Services are used or hired. For example, a painter comes to your house to give the outside a fresh coat of paint. His service lasts until he finished. While you now have a good looking house, you cannot take the painter’s work home with you.
Intangibility- You are not able to hold or touch a service like you could a can of paint. A service is something that the customer experiences. Experiences are not physical things.
Inseparability-You cannot separate the service from the service provide. If you sold widgets, people could buy one and take it home. But you need the service provider to do what you need done. You needed the painter to paint your house.
Perishability-Services last a specific amount of time and you can’t store it to use later. Think electric company. You can’t save the electricity although you can save money by taking certain measures. Your electricity started on a certain date; and if you don’t pay your bill, it will be cut off on a certain date.
Heterogeneity-Businesses have systems and procedures they follow to provide consistent service, but is very hard to make each service experience the same. It’s like two identical plane trips may be different because of things like the weather and the screaming baby that are beyond the airline’s control.