Research Paper: Service Level Attributes

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Service Level Attributes

Marketing is so ingrained in the modern way of life we almost do not notice it -- yet we are all ingrained and enraptured by its very power and existence. Marketing is the process of creating consumer value in the form of goods, services, or ideas that can improve the consumer's life. Marketing is the organizational function charged with defining customer targets and the best way to satisfy needs and wants competitively and profitably. Since consumers and business buyers face an abundance of suppliers seeking to satisfy their every need, companies and nonprofit organizations cannot survive today by simply doing a good job. They must do an excellent job if they are to remain in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. This is what we say that survival of the fittest. Many studies have demonstrated that the key to profitable performance is to know and satisfy target customers with competitively superior offers. This process takes place today in an increasingly global, technical, and competitive environment (Drummond and Ensor, 2005). Marketing, in fact, has a various roles in a firm or business; it connects the business with its target market, it provides the major link between the business and its customers; as marketing focuses on the needs and wants of customers, it gives a business direction and help it to manage in a changing environment.; it provides the information the business needs in order to change direction or adjust its tactics by providing new products or changing existing products; and marketing helps to coordinate how a business can best use its resources to satisfy customers and achieve profit targets, yet the marketing plan can actually be seen as the 'blueprint' for a business's future success.

Despite the nature of marketing, however, while the core principles remain the same (economic exchange), a new approach to the subject emerged out of the advanced advertising culture of the late 1970s. This trend, a "service-dominant logic" of marketing (SDL) moves from marketing's primary focus of helping move goods and services in an economic model, to that in which the dominant paradigm is embedded value, long-term transactions, and tangible win-win benefits to both sides of the equation (Vargo and Lush, 2010).

The entire SDL model is based on eight different organizational premises that form the theoretical basis for the new theory:

Premise

Explanation

1

Service is the fundamental basis of exchange

Service, rather than goods, are part of the knowledge and skill paradigm and the basis for the entire SDL theory

2

Indirect exchange can mask the fundamental basics of exchange

Service is provided through an extremely complex combination of hard goods, valuables, and institutions, the service basis of marketing SDL models are not always apparent at first glance.

3

Goods are a distribution mechanism (channel) for service.

Goods are not valuable without use -- therefore it is service and use that provide the value.

4

Operant resources are the fundamental source of any competitive advantage

The need to cause change within the market (ability) drives competition and innovation (improvement).

5

All economies are essentially service economies

It took increased specialization, outsourcing, and globalization for the true nature of service economies to appear

6

The customer is always at the center of the value creation, as a co-creator.

Value creation is active and interactional

7

The enterprise itself cannot deliver value to the consumer, but only offer promises of value

Enterprises are not independent in creating value; they can only apply resources to try to create value collaboratively.

8

By its very nature, a service-centered view is customer oriented

Because service is only defined by customer value, it requires and remains relational to the consumer.

9

The social and economic pieces of culture are resource integrators for the entire economic program

Implies that by necessity the entire creation of value networks become resource integrators.

10

Value is unique to the person it benefits most.

According to the theory, value is experimental (from the consumer viewpoint), contextual (cultural) and has individual meaning.

(Sources: Parasurman, et.al., 1988; Sampson and Froehle, 2006).

Theoretical Constructs - In effect, it is the changing marketing and service landscape that has inspired the need for a new theory to deal with advanced capitalism and globalism. What were organizations to do with new opportunities that were robust and presented themselves regularly -- all designed to bring greater specificity to the identification and development of the new consumer as a resource. Traditionally, most marketing theories were focused on the 4 P's of marketing and how they intertwined with one another in a constant give and take relationship: product, price, place, and promotion. These individual templates needed to work in tandem, and described a system by which a good or service was developed and sold to consumers:

Definition

Historical View

Descriptors

Product

Product is what you have to sell, and how you manage selling it, also refers to the Product life cycle.

For a number of years, it was thought that a good product would sell itself. In today's highly competitive global market, there really are no bad products and, with consumer protection laws, no room in the marketplace for subpar performers.

Function, quality, appearance, packaging, brand, service, support, warranty, ease of use.

Price

Price is what you sell the product for, and the way you price the product in relation to xyz

How much are intended customers willing to pay for a product or service; Price must be a conscious decision that works into an overall strategy.

List Price, discounts, financing, leasing options, allowances, rebates.

Place

Place or channel, is the manner that you get your product into the hands of the intended audience -- moving goods or services from manufacturer to consumer.

Is the product available at the right price, at the right time, and in the right quantities? How do new channels (internet, mobile phones) impact this market?

Locations, logistics, channel marketing, market coverage, service levels, internet, e-commerce, mobile marketing.

Promotion

Promotion is all the tools available to sell and promote the product.

How are chosen target groups informed about a new product? What marketing weapons can be used to capture and target the market? In the area of a crowded market, promotion is often the key component that defines success of failure.

Advertising, public relations, message, direct sales, sales, media, budget

(What is the Marketing Mix?, 2010)

The marketing mix itself is not likely to deviate because of the domestic or international environment, but of course the manner in which the 4 P's integrate with one another will change depending on the culture. The marketing mix is likely already standardized -- for example, regardless of the culture, you must take into account distribution, pricing strategy, manufacturing, and advertising -- these are all basic tenets of marketing 101. The P's of marketing will change, however, based on culture. A pricing strategy for a first world country, for example, would not be the same for a third world country -- nor would it be the same for a country with an abundance of that product, etc. (e.g. banana would sell for a different price in Iceland than in Panama). Similarly, distribution channels differ between regions, although with the improvement in global shipping, most things are available anywhere. A famous example of the way in which marketing messages take on a new meaning depending on the language and culture is the Chevrolet automobile known as the "Nova" -- which did well in English speaking countries, but poorly in Latin America -- why, because NOVA in Spanish means "No Go" (Erichsen, 2010). This requires a different theoretical approach to marketing, moving away from the "goods" to the service and nature of what it is we actually sell in a globally interconnected paradigm (Arnold, 2008).

Certainly, there are a number of implications that arise when… [END OF PREVIEW]

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