Marketing Products and Services.

Both service and product-based companies compete on the quality of both products and services.

How much of a difference is there between marketing services versus products? Are there any commonalities? What is the formula for success and failure?   

After launching products and services for big and small companies over the past 30 years, I have come to the conclusion there is very little difference.  There are common threads that run each that can make them be successful and flourish, or a total failure.

In some cases, products and services work hand-in-hand with one another. For example, if you order a new office copier (the product) and it makes great copies but keeps getting jammed and tech support offers poor service (the service), it affects your overall brand experience as well as your view of the copier brand.

Both service and product-based companies compete on the quality of both products and services.

  • Product -versus- Service Marketing
  • Challenges of Marketing Products and Services
  • Think of Service as a Product
  • The Conclusion

Product -versus- Service Marketing


A product is tangible. You can see and touch it. In many cases in comes in packaging and sits on a shelf or is displayed on a web page in virtual 360 views.  If you don’t like it you can return it.


On the other hand, defining services can be a bit more challenging in some cases. If you are marketing a one-man plumber and he or she offers great service, shows up on time and has reasonable rates then marketing will be fairly less challenging because service is consistent.

Customer experiences define a brand.

However, the experience may not be the same for every customer when marketing enterprises like airlines. With airlines, airfare ticket prices change daily along with the inconsistent level of service customers tend to experience. The service on one flight could be entirely different from another with the same airline going to the same destination.

If you ask three people about flying a particular airline, you will hear any combination of things from horror stories, to nothing special, to the great service a stewardess or baggage handler provided.

Challenges of Marketing Products and Services

Service industries face more challenges than the products industries because of the “people factor.” The more people involved with a service the more that can go wrong, especially with level of consistency. This brings to mind again the airlines example.

There are many factors that can’t be controlled like the weather, delays, and add a layer onto that a nasty flight attendant or baggage mishandled and you now have an irate customer who will not only think twice before flying that airline again they can now post their bad experiences online in social networks and company reviews.

A Consistent Good Customer Experience Is Key

There are however organizations who get it right like high-end hospitality organizations. They are known for superior service, great food and beautiful clean rooms.

They all compete on high-touch service. If a guest feels that the hotel staff cares about them and the experience and comfort, that makes a big difference when compared to competitors who do not.

Service-based organizations need to do the same thing. The people who work for a company represent the brand. They are the brand to your customers. The level of service needs to be consistent throughout the brand experience with your customers.  Marketing a service like this is easy like the plumber example.

Think of Service as a Product

Yes, think of a service as an intangible product that must offer superior service to hold a competitive advantage.

If customers are buying a service, they still take away their buying experience with your brand, even if it’s not a tangible product. If the customer feels good about your service then you have succeeded and earned their business another day.

The Conclusion

At the end of the day, the difference between marketing a product or service really depends on the product or service itself. Depending on price, products appeal to unique groups along with posing their own unique set of challenges.

Some services appeal to a wide-range of consumers making it relatively easier to market. One example is Uber, a successful international service-based company generally offering better customer experiences over traditional taxi rides. Cost is not a mystery and bookings are purchased easily and quickly through phone apps, plus there are plenty of Uber drivers to go around.

There are basic marketing concepts

At the core of marketing products or services is the marketing concept. Price is based on normal criteria such as what it takes to make a profit. If there is a physical location for where products and services are sold, and finally, products and services must be promoted.

People vote with their wallets

Firstly, if the marketing concept offering can’t convince people to buy, then they both stand an equal chance of failure. Whether it is a product or a service, it does not matter. You must effectively prove why your marketing offer is better than it’s competitors. Differentiate your offer, and put forth it’s unique selling propositions.

Lastly, use the right mediums for marketing and effectively communicate the features and benefits of what you’re selling. As a result, this will increase the odds and opportunities for success in marketing both products and services.


Marketing Products and Services



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