7 Ps of Service Marketing (And Why They're Important)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 19, 2022

Published November 9, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you want to improve your approach to marketing, it can help to analyze the specific needs of your target audience. Following industry best practices like the seven Ps of service marketing may help you implement information about your audience to build brand awareness and increase customer satisfaction. These seven factors can also aid you in organizing your marketing plan into steps.

In this article, we define service marketing, provide details about the seven Ps and explain why they're important.

What is service marketing?

Service marketing focuses on bringing intangible benefits to customers, or benefits that they can't see, touch or feel. Professionals use service marketing to build loyalty and maintain long-term relationships with customers.

Service marketing differs from product marketing because it allows customers to personalize services based on their needs and receive them by meeting the service provider in person. Typically, the customer can begin using the service immediately upon purchase. Service marketers often persuade their target audiences and increase sales by using a framework called the seven Ps of service marketing, a set of best practices that builds upon the four Ps of product marketing.

Related: The Marketing Mix: The Art of Using the 4 Ps of Marketing

What are the 7 Ps of service marketing?

To help you create and implement your marketing strategies, here are the seven Ps of service marketing:

1. Product

Companies often think of their services as intangible products. Since the product is intangible, companies save time they would otherwise spend taking care of physical aspects like packaging. Instead, companies focus on telling customers what a service includes and how it can fulfill their wants and needs. Companies may also consider how their service packages compare to competitors' packages. A service package typically consists of four parts:

  • The building where the service happens

  • Additional products customers can buy during the service, such as hairspray in a hair salon

  • Explicit services that offer an obvious benefit, like pain relief from a massage

  • Implicit services that provide a psychological benefit, like feeling more confident after a haircut

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business

2. Price

Pricing strategies affect how customers react to prices, recurring fees and discounts. Customers often use price to predict the quality of service. So if a business provides a high-quality service, they're more likely to attract customers with higher prices. Companies also consider these factors when thinking about price:

  • Overhead costs like advertising, rent and insurance

  • Cost of labor and materials

  • The price of competitors' services

  • Price packets, which educate customers about all the services a company provides

3. Place

Since businesses that sell services often require customers to come to them, location is important. Customers often purchase services near where they live, which means a business is more likely to make a sale if it chooses a location closer to its target audience. "Place" also refers to where and when a company places its ads. Some other location-based factors that companies consider include:

  • What their customers' typical schedules are

  • Whether customers can access the business by walking or driving

  • Where the company advertises online

  • Where competitors locate their businesses

4. Promotion

Promotion focuses on making potential customers aware of a brand and helping them determine the quality of that brand's services. Businesses often offer services that look similar to their competitors' services, so using promotional material can help a company distinguish itself. Businesses do this by advertising frequently and targeting their advertisements to address the wants and needs of their target audiences. The types of advertisements often include:

  • Contests

  • Livestreams

  • Endorsements from influential figures

  • Social media advertising

Related: A Guide to Strategic Marketing Plans (With Tips)

5. People

This refers to the people who work for a company in customer-facing roles. These people can affect a customer's level of satisfaction as much as the service they provide because customers associate services with the people who deliver them. Effective customer service can motivate customers to return to the business for additional services as repeat buyers and also refer their peers to the company. Companies apply several methods to strengthen the customer service of their staff, including:

  • Training staff on how to greet customers, answer questions about the services they provide and resolve customer challenges

  • Creating a service script so that staff can create a unified, consistent customer experience

  • Establishing a protocol for upselling so customers feel comfortable when a staff member suggests purchasing additional products and services

  • Instructing staff to remember important details about repeat customers, such as their career path and interests.

6. Process

Businesses train their staff members to perform a service using a set process. These processes ensure that the employee delivers a service efficiently and that customers can expect a consistent standard of quality. Many companies use process mapping to teach their staff what actions to perform when providing a service. Process mapping usually consists of the following:

  • Symbols that visualize each step of the process can make it easier for employees to follow

  • Details about when and where the action happens

  • Flowcharts showing how each step transitions into another

  • A regular revision process to strengthen existing steps and add new ones

Read more: Guide to Process Mapping: Types of Process Maps and When To Use Them

7. Physical evidence

Customers often use the physical aspects of a business to help them judge the quality of the company's services. Physical evidence includes the space where the service takes place and the tangible items that customers take as proof of purchase. Though the service is intangible, giving customers a receipt or brochure allows them to associate their service experience with a physical symbol. Some ways that customers perceive physical evidence include:

  • The comfort of waiting areas

  • The color scheme and decorations within the service provider's facility

  • The cleanliness of a business

  • The clothing staff members wear

  • The branding of any products they buy after a service

Related: How To Market a Small Business: A Complete Guide

Why are the 7 Ps important?

The seven Ps are important because they can help you plan and lead discussions about a business' marketing practices, whether the company sells products, services or both. If you're marketing a service or product, you can consider the seven Ps to help you sell it effectively. This set of best practices is easy to remember since each step focuses on a different factor contributing to increased sales. Reviewing the seven Ps can help a company develop an effective marketing plan that may increase sales.

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