Discuss the importance of communication in service marketing.

Answer: Communication plays a key role in positioning an organization and its products in the market. It is used to;

  1. Inform customers about the firm and its product.
  2. Persuade customers that a specific product offers the best solution to a customer’s needs/
  3. Remind customers of product availability and motivate them to act.

Elements of the Marketing Communication Mix
Most service marketers have access to numerous forms of communication, sometimes referred to collectively as the marketing communications mix, a subset of the broader marketing mix. Different elements have different capabilities relative to the types of messages that they can convey and the market segments which are most likely to be exposed to them. The communication mix comprises a variety of strategic elements; these are;

  1. Personal selling: Personal selling involves interpersonal encounters on a face-to-face (or in telemarketing, voice-to-voice) basis. This proximity allows the sales representative to tailor the message to fit the customer’s needs and concerns.
  2. Customer service: when a customer has the potential to buy potential to buy several different products from the same supplier, firms often encourages their customer contact staff to cross-sell additional services. However, these strategies may fail if not properly planned.
  3. Advertising: A broad array of paid advertisement media are available to marketers to act as communication channels.
    • Broadcast advertising has traditionally taken place through television and radio, but exiting new opportunities exist through the new channels offered by the internet and world web. (Making money on the web P-402).
    • Print advertising: Print advertising is usually defined as paid messages inserted in newspapers and magazines;
    •  Printed messages of a much larger format may appear on outdoor media such as bill boards and posters as well as on pubic transportation vehicles. Electronic displays have the potential to create striking presentation that include moving images and changing colors
    • Another form of advertising, often linked to sales promotion, consists of retail displays in store windows.
    • Finally, there is direct marketing, in the form of mail, telemarketing, and fax or E-mail. This last mentioned group offers the potential for personalized messages sent to highly targeted micro-segments including one-to-one communications.
  1. Promotion: A promotion can be thought of as a communication attached to an incentive, which often takes the form of a price reduction. The term “promotion” is derived from the Latin word meaning “to move forward”. An that’s precisely what promotions are designed to do;
  2. Corporate design: Another key communication element for service businesses is corporate design, which refers to the consistent use of distinctiveness colors, symbols, lettering, and layout on such tangible elements as signage, retail store fronts, vehicles, uniforms and stationary to provide a unifying and recognizable theme linking all the firm’s operations.


Guidelines for Service Advertising:
George and Berry maintain that advertising intangible services performed by fallible and inconsistent human beings is quite a different thing from advertising physical goods. They present six guidelines for service advertising based on some of the special characteristics of services.

  1. One is to recognize that service is performance rather than an object.
  2.  Advertising, they say, should not only encourage customers to buy the service but also target employees as a second audience, motivating them to deliver high quality service.
  3. Service firm should try to use their own employees—rather than professional models—in their print and broadcast advertisements.
  4. Tangible clues should include not only employees but also physical facilities such as service delivery sites.
  5. Another guideline is to capitalize on word-of-mouth advertising by trying to stimulate this highly credible form of communication. They also urge service advertisers to seek continuity over time through the use of recognizable symbols, spokes people, slogans, trademarks, and music.
  6. Finally, they declare that when advertising a performance, it’s essential to promise what’s possible, so as to foster realistic expectations.