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Article 1. Classifying Services to Gain Strategic Marketing Insights. By Christopher H. Lovelock. Presented by Sandra Lamprecht. Objective.

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classifying services to gain strategic marketing insights


Classifying Services to Gain Strategic Marketing Insights

By Christopher H. Lovelock

Presented by Sandra Lamprecht


To generate greater sophistication within the realm of service marketing by segmenting services into clusters that share certain relevant marketing characteristics.

previous work classification of goods
Previous Work – Classification of Goods
  • Hunt (1976)
    • Emphasized the usefulness of classification schemes in marketing
  • Copeland (1923)
    • Most famous and enduring attempt to classify goods
    • Classification of convenience, shopping, and specialty goods
    • Helped managers to:
      • Better understand consumer needs and behavior
      • Provided insight into the management of retail distribution systems
classification of goods cont
Classification of Goods Cont.
  • Bucklin (1963)
    • Revised and refined Copeland’s original classification
    • Provided important strategic guidelines for retailers
classification of goods cont1
Classification of Goods Cont.
  • Other Classification schemes:
    • Durable vs. non-durable goods
      • Durability is relative to purchase frequency and, therefore, is important for the development of distribution and communications strategies
    • Consumer goods vs. industrial goods
      • Relates to types of goods purchased and product evaluation (purchasing procedures and usage behaviors)
previous work classification of services
Previous Work – Classification of Services
  • Shostack (1977), Bateson (1979), Berry (1980)
    • Argued that there are significant distinctions between services and goods and have proposed several generalizations for management practices
  • Enis & Roering (1981)
    • Believe that the differences that lie between goods and services have no meaningful strategic implications
  • Langeard et al. (1981)
    • Stated the importance of recognizing that the service sector, escpecially in the US, is becoming increasingly competitive
classification of services cont
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Judd (1964) - classification in accordance with ownership
    • 1) Rented goods services- right to own and use a

good for a defined time

    • 2) Owned goods services- owned by customer

(repair or improvement of goods, custom creation)

    • 3) Nongoods services- “experiential possessions” or

personal experiences

    • 1 & 2 are specific in the services they encompass
    • 3 is very broad and ignores select services- banking, accounting, insurance, legal advice
classification of services cont1
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Rathmell (1874) – Getting to know how one’s business operates
    • 1) Type of seller
    • 2) Type of buyer
    • 3) Buying motives
    • 4) Buying practice
    • 5) Degree of regulation
    • This classification has no specific application to services and, therefore, could also be used to classify goods


classification of services cont2
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Shostack (1977), Sasser et al (1978) – recognizing the composition of each product “package”
    • Identified the proportion of physical goods relative to the amount of intangible services within
    • Emphasizes that there are few pure goods / services


Physical Goods

Intangible Services



classification of services cont3
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Hill (1977) – Emphasizes the nature of service benefits and, in 5, variations in the service delivery/consumption environment
    • 1) Services affecting persons vs. those effecting


    • 2) Permanent vs. temporary effects of the service
    • 3) Reversibility vs. nonreversability of those


    • 4) Physical effects vs. mental effects
    • 5) Individual vs. collective services
classification of services cont4
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Thomas (1978) – Equipment based vs. People based, helps to understand product attributes
    • 1) Primarily equipment based:
      • A) Automated- car wash
      • B) Monitored by unskilled operators- movie theatre
      • C) Operated by skilled personnel- airlines
    • 2) Primarily people based:
      • A) Unskilled labor- lawn care
      • B) Skilled labor- repair work
      • C) Professional staff- lawyers, dentists
    • Operational rather than marketing oriented
classification of services cont5
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Chase (1978) – Levels of customer contact
  • Extent of customer contact required in service
    • 1) High contact- health care, hotels, restaurants
    • 2) Low contact- wholesaling, postal service
    • Product variability is harder to control in high contact services because customers exert more influences on timing of demand and service features due to greater involvement in the service process
classification of services cont6
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Kotler (1980) – Synthesizes previous work, recognizes difference in purpose of service organizations
    • 1) People based vs. equipment based
    • 2) Extent to which the client’s presence is


    • 3) Meets personal need vs. business needs
    • 4) Public vs. private , For-profit vs. nonprofit
classification of services cont7
Classification of Services Cont.
  • Lovelock (1980) – Synthesizes previous classifications and adds new schemes
    • 1) Basic demand characteristics:
      • Object served- personal vs. property
      • Extent of demand / supply imbalances
      • Discrete vs. continuous relationship between customers and providers
    • 2) Service content and benefits:
      • Extent of physical goods content
      • Extent of personal service content
      • Single service vs. bundle service
      • Timing and duration of benefits
3) Service delivery procedures:
    • Multi-site vs. single-site delivery
    • Allocation of capacity- reservations or first come first serve
    • Independent vs. collective consumption
    • Time defined vs. task defined transactions
    • Extent to which customers must be present during service delivery
  • Defining objects served = most fundamental classification scheme
  • Suggests valuable marketing insights would come from combining two or more classification schemes in a matrix
  • “Builds on past research by examining characteristics of services that transcend industry boundaries and are different in degree or kind from the categorization schemes traditionally applied to manufacturing goods.”
  • Five Classification Schemes were selected and examined on two dimensions- reflecting Lovelocks early conclusions
five classification schemes
Five Classification Schemes


of the service


Mode of


Nature of

demand and



Organization / Customer


Level of customization

& judgment for the

service provider

what is the nature of the service act
What is the nature of the service act?
  • Service= a “deed, act or performance” (Berry 1980)
  • Fundamental issues of services:
    • At whom, or what, is the act direct?
    • Is the act tangible or intangible
what type of relationship does the service organization have with the customer
What type of relationship does the service organization have with the customer?
  • Relationships
    • Ongoing relationships- customers receive service on a continuing basis
      • Possible “membership” relationship- ex) family doctor, phone plans
    • No formal relationship
  • Delivery
    • Continuous basis- ex) public goods (police protection, broadcasts)
    • Each transaction is recorded and charged separately
      • Marketers tend to be less informed about their customers- “anonymous” consumer
  • Profitability & customer convenience are central to how a service will be priced
    • 1) Single periodic charge / Flat rate- simple, usually for services offered on an ongoing basis. Ex) insurance, public goods
    • 2) Price per service administered- more complex, more fair for the less frequent customers. Ex) pay phone
    • 3) Base fee + incremental charges
how much room is there for customization and judgment on the part of the service provider
How much room is there for customization and judgment on the part of the service provider?
  • Customer is often involved in the production process – allows for tailoring of the service to meet the needs of the individual customer
  • Concerns:
    • The extent to which the characteristics of the service allows them to be customized
    • How much judgment customer contact personnel are able to exercise in defining the nature of the service received by the individual customer
  • Types of services:
    • Wide choice of options
      • Contact personnel is limited- mobile phone providers
      • Contact personnel has freedom- locus of control shifts from user to supplier, these people often give advice- professional such as doctors
    • Standardization
      • Contact personnel is limited- public transport
      • Contact personnel has freedom- educators (different teachers teach the same course different ways)
what is the nature for the demand and supply for the service
What is the nature for the demand and supply for the service?
  • Finished services cannot be inventoried
  • Demand exceeds supply on a particular day = excess business may be lost
  • Demand and supply imbalances are not found in all services
how is the service delivered
How is the service delivered?
  • Nature of the interaction between the customer and the service organization:
    • Customer goes to service organization
    • Service organization comes to customer
    • Customer and service organization transact at arms length
  • Availability of service outlets:
    • Single site
    • Multiple site
  • Service sector is becoming increasingly competitive partly due to the partial or complete deregulation of several major service industries
  • “As competition intensifies within the service sector, the development of more effective marketing efforts becomes essential for survival”
  • The 5 matrixes will help managers:
    • Identify how those factors shape marketing problems and opportunities and, therefore, how they should affect the nature of the marketing tasks
    • Recognize similarities between their industry and other industries to help them look beyond their immediate competitors for new ideas as to how to resolve marketing problems
  • These matrixes can only provide a guideline for service companies to become more aware of their customers and the type of service they actually provide
  • It does not provide a simple clear outline as to how to market a specific service effectively
  • Every service in every market is different and unique, even services within the same market differ
  • The customer and market are always changing
management implications
Management Implications
  • Nature of the service act:
    • Answers questions such as:
      • A) Does the customer need to be physically present?
        • 1) Throughout the service delivery?
        • 2) Only to initiate / terminate the service transaction?
        • 3) Not at all
        • Customer satisfaction will be influenced by interactions they have with personnel, nature of facilities, characteristic of other customers, questions of location and schedule convenience
      • B) Does the customer need to be mentally present during service delivery? If so can it be maintained across physical distance (mail or e-communications)?
      • C) In what ways is the target of the service act “modified” by the receipt of the service? How does the customer benefit from the “modifications?” To develop a better understanding of the nature of the service product and the core benefits it offers
      • Managers of service organizations may be able to identify opportunities for alternative, more convenient forms of service delivery- ex) Britain’s Open University’s use of t.v. and radio broadcasts
Organization / Customer Relations
    • Membership relationships:
      • Company knows who its current customers are, their addresses, their preferences, their opinions on the service provided,
      • Valuable for segmentation purposes & targeted marketing
      • May be offered discount rates in return for continuous patronage
      • Usually result in customer loyalty to a particular provider. Ex) Rewards cards, Costco membership
      • Helps ensure repeat business
      • Task= build sales and revenues through membership but avoid required membership and freezing out customers. Ex) Best Buy w/ Reward Zone
      • Allows for better decisions in regard to pricing
Level of Customization & Judgment
    • Most senior managers have come up through operations and, therefore, may require executive education programs to given them the necessary perspective on marketing to make balanced decisions
    • Customization is not necessarily important for success – sometimes the image of customization is enough.
      • Many people share the same experience.
      • People share the same service facility but still have some custom treatment. Ex) airlines use your name
    • Customers like to know in advance what they are buying
      • Professional services the professional diagnosis the nature of the situation- can divide into two segments (diagnosis and implementation) to easy customer worries
        • Marketing focus on process of client-provider interactions. Ex) statement of qualifications
Levitt (1972,1976)
    • The industrialization of a service in order to take advantage of the economies of mass production may increase consumer satisfaction if speed, consistency, and price savings hold a higher value than service customization

Industrialization > Customization


Speed + Consistency + Price Savings > benefits which yield from the ability to customize

Nature of Demand and Supply
    • Managing demand in services because fluctuations can be sharp and there is no buffer of inventory between supply and demand
    • Manage demand
      • Hire seasonal or part time workers
      • Renting extra facilities during peak periods
Determining the appropriate strategy:
    • 1) What is the typical cycle period for these demand fluctuations?
      • Predictable- demand varies by hour of the day, day of week/month, season of year
      • Random- no apparent pattern to demand fluctuations
    • 2) What are the underlying causes of these demand fluctuations?
      • Customer habits or preferences- could marketing change these?
      • Actions by third parties- employers set working hrs. hence marking efforts might be directed at those employers
      • Nonforcestable events- weather conditions, health symptoms
  • Managers need to know who or what is the target of the service to effectively choose these strategies.
  • Smooth out ups and downs of demand:
    • Decrease demand:
      • Encourage customers to change their plans voluntarily- Offer discounts or added product value during times of low demand
      • Ration demand through reservations or a queuing system
    • Increase demand:
      • New business development efforts should be targeted at prospective customers with a counter cyclical demand pattern. Ex) accounting firm has lots of business at the end of the year may find new business for the bulk of the year when it has relatively no business
Mode of delivery
    • Customer has to come to the service
      • Convenience is lowest to the customer
    • Service comes to customer- when target of the service is immovable
      • More expensive for the service organization
    • Transactions at arms length
      • Ex) 800 numbers
      • Not all services may be conducted at arms length but certain portions of that service may be
        • Ex) make reservations by phone to go eat at a restaurant
        • If it is possible, it is up to the manager to decide whether a third party will have the right to participate in the arms length step – sometimes consumers see these middle men as more objective and knowledgeable and trust their guidance more than the service provider
    • Increasing the number of outlets
      • Increases convenience of access to customers but may raise issues of quality control (consistency of the service)
work cited
Work Cited
  • Lovelock, Christopher H. (1983). Classifying Services to Gain Strategic Marketing Insights.Journal of Marketing (pre-1986),47(000003),9. Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Globaldatabase. (Document ID:66036482).