Marketing services, especially those based on technology, often require more than just a basic advertising campaign and a flashy company name. Unlike tangible products, a service isn’t something a businessperson can just put on a desk and say, “Check it out, try it, feel it, and how many would you like to buy?”
Instead, a business selling intangible services needs to focus on satisfying needs of customers as the end goal. The services are simply a tool to the satisfaction goal.
Marketing The Intangible
To market intangible services, successful companies focus on building brand awareness combined with quality and satisfaction. Each successful project and job delivered adds to the company reputation, which in turn expands the company’s reach by referral to new customers.
The intangible starts with a severe disadvantage because it can’t be seen.
It requires customers to trust that what they need will eventually be delivered without anything up front; to literally hang on to after commitment to a sale. For a salesperson, intangible marketing is like going from 0 to 60 in sales challenges. There’s nothing physical to offer or touch. Everything depends on the salesperson or marketer convincing consumers that they really need a service that they can’t touch with their hands.
Connections Make It Touchable
The best way to build the marketing of intangible offers is to focus on connecting how one’s company can provide solutions to those who need help with fixing what they can’t solve. Then, when the customer has been satisfied, brand awareness can be expanded through the customer to others who may be interested in the same solution.
Traditional means of effecting this connection usually involve a customer referral or testimony. However, with social media for example, referrals take an entire new and exponential meaning.
Through referral connections the knowledge of a brand is then created and strengthened. Just like products, people begin to associate a service solution with a given company name, regardless of whether the solution itself is generic and has no unique properties whatsoever.
That said all of the above still depends on a good, well thought out marketing plan for each step and phase of the company’s campaign. Intangible marketing doesn’t happen by accident or just hanging out a shingle one day and starting a business. It takes thought, planning, attempts, feedback and changing the plan to deal with challenges that come up.
A good intangible marketing plan also takes persistence and regular, continued communication to consumers and customers that the service offered is needed and invaluable. When people then begin to trust the company as the source of a solution, the brand awareness is established and solidified.
Customer trust is like gold when it comes to intangible marketing and brand development, and it’s the Shangri-La every business offering a service should be aiming to reach. When those trust manifests, the intangible brand will be established and can create long-term success.
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A marketing and branding guy who after 26 years in the corporate world in various marketing roles within one of the largest utilities in the nation, Randy grew tired of the grind and sought a new challenge. He moved to the position of Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations for a national non-profit organization, overseeing all brand and touch elements; print, web, TV and national convention. In 2010 Randy and his wife, Shalah, also a professional marketer formed bowden2bowden llc, a marketing and brand consultancy firm. Their extensive knowledge of marketing, branding, PR, advertising, promotions, relational & social networking can connect the client to targeted solutions. Clients receive exceptional creative executions and solid branding strategies giving them a real competitive advantage. Randy writes weekly for their bowden2bowden blog.
Latest posts by Randy Bowden (see all)
- Customer Trust is the Glue of Intangible Marketing Success - February 27, 2013