When it comes to marketing, there are endless different possible things you may be aiming to sell, but broadly speaking there are two main groups; product or service marketing. These both require different strategies to optimize sales, but there are a few main similarities.
Product based marketing is for when your business produces a physical or digital final product, such as with a mobile phone, or program. Service based marketing is when your business provides an optional service, for example your ISP, or a lawyer. Now, many businesses provide some aspect of both of these things, but the marketing for each aspect is always different. Think of BT for example, offering line rental as a service and its proprietary routers as a product.
Both products and services can utilize many of the same media, albeit with limited effectiveness. Products are more suited to interactive media, such as internet, demos, and TV. This is mostly due to people preferring to try a product before they buy it, and watching it being used on a screen is an effective way of compromising for this. Service marketing is different, and is much more suited to solid media advertising like newspapers or mailing. The easiest marketing for anybody is when a company offers both a service and a product; it can appeal in any market.
Service marketing is, on the whole, more difficult than product based marketing. It is hard to prove the value of your services without a tangible item, or a sample of the serine itself. It’s often easier for service marketers to bundle a product in with their service, such as a free radio with landline rental. Even providing offers can be used to great effect, with offers like free-first-month usually bringing in the most repeat business. As per usual, be careful when making these offers; it can leave your company exposed. In a similar vein, it’s important not to oversaturate your market when making offers, as many people will start to believe that your product or service is only worth the offer price; a trap which many companies easily fall into. This happens often with ‘big-chain’ products, in which many people simply won’t buy an item if it isn’t on offer. If your company is guilty of this, then unfortunately you have devalued your product, and this requires a brand revamp.
There’s a large amount of support needed to back up either marketing group, from troubleshooting the product over the phone, to helping with a service on your end. It’s vital for any business to thrive that they can back their product up with excellent aftercare, otherwise you risk alienating your audience.
Of course, there are massive variations in how you market something within the broad categories. When a company offers a product and service, they usually ‘lean’ more in one direction. Take someone who installs windows; they provide a product and a service, but their business is more service based. For this example, advertising could be a combination of media forms; newspaper adverts showing their competitive prices to local residents, radio adverts telling how fast and cleanly they work, and even mailing their emergency repair card to nearby areas. This would be an effective marketing strategy, and would be a small investment for a big increase in business. However if this same builder wanted to do a TV advert, they wouldn’t get the same increase for the cost. Let’s face it, they don’t make entertaining or memorable adverts, and in the UK at least, most TV is national broadcasts. A business like this would not have national coverage, and the advert would be widely wasted.
Resource allocation is always a major influencer in any marketing campaign, and ties in to the market analysis a company should do before any campaign; if your market is local, then market locally.