March 16, 2023

Selling Services Means Adding More Ps to the Marketing Pool

In a recent survey of more than 1,200 executives by Deloitte, 70% of respondents said that they were transitioning from product-focused to service-focused business models. This shift is not an easy one for sales and marketing teams who need to make significant adjustments in order to win and grow their client base.

To start, companies should consider revising their messaging to better promote their services to prospects. An easy way for marketers (and salespeople) to make this change is by reviewing the long-standing 4Ps of marketing by adding 3 more Ps into this marketing pool.

Let’s go back to the 1960s when the 4Ps came into existence. Remember those? As we were taught, product marketing plans should be able to speak to Product, Price, Place and Promotion. From website copy to the creations from the Mad Men of Madison Avenue, the 4Ps have been a pillar for marketing efforts ever since.

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That's a helpful framework to use, however, the pivot towards selling services can be more complex that selling a physical product, so it's time we add more Ps into the marketing pool.

Here are the three new Ps:

  1. Proof: With products, customers can see and touch what they are buying. With services, however, the customer experience can be more abstract. Proof (also called "physical evidence") refers to the tangible elements of the service experience, such as the design of the service environment, the appearance of the staff, and the visual elements of the service.

Idea: Video customer testimonials. Let your clients explain how they use your services and the benefits they get from the experience.

  1. People: When marketing a service, the people who provide the service are often a crucial part of the customer experience. Companies need to consider the qualifications, training, and demeanor of their staff, and ensure that they are providing excellent customer service.

Idea: Consider highlighting key service staff members as differentiators. Oh yeah, also train them to be next-level trusted advisors.

  1. Process: Unlike products, services are often more intangible and involve a process that customers go through to receive them. Companies need to design and manage this process carefully to ensure that it is efficient, effective, and meets the needs of their customers.

Idea: Make services as simple as possible. In other words, productize your service offerings.

Diving into the world of selling services means updating our marketing frameworks. Adding these three new Ps into the marketing pool is a great place to start.

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