Challenges faced in product marketing
Published On February 25, 2014 » 2967 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Business, Columns
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Marketing focusSEEING is believing so the saying goes. People are easily convinced with things which are visible, things they can touch and feel.
Experiencing something however, has long lasting impressions on most of us.
In marketing we normally deal with three kinds of products. The firstproduct is the visible or seen product, which is commonly referred to
as the tangible product, the second product is the non-visible, known as the intangible product and popularly referred to as services, and
the other is a combination of the physical products and services.
When one choses to pursue or go into the marketing profession, they should be prepared to handle any kind of product that their business
organisation may be trading in. Never will there be a time that one will be given an option to choose whether to specialize in services or
tangible goods in this field.
However, this is not to say that at some point there is not likely to be some level of specialization on the individual marketers, depending on the experience acquired dealing and handling one type of a product.
For many marketers the first organisation one works for and the first product one has experience with, will to a greater extent determine
the nature of product and organisation one will be inclined to.
Working for a service industry for 5 years will naturally consolidate your position in marketing services.
To refresh your memories about 7 years ago, when the Zambian mobile communications sector underwent changes, government owned Zamtel got privatised as lap green acquired majority shares and Celtel ownership changed hands which lead to its subsequent change of names from Celtel to ZAIN and finally to Airtel.
During this period many marketing personnel were seen to have switched jobs from one mobile company to another. In fact many of them
had moved from ZAIN then to the new Lap green.
From this scenario, you can tell that it is easy for marketers to switch jobs within the same sector or industry whose product they are
already familiar with.
One can therefore conclude that it should be a challenge for a marketer who has spent most of his or her working time marketing tangible products to easily adjust to handling services, hence the question during interviews ‘’Have you handled services before’’?.
It is for this reason why whenever organisations advertise for marketing jobs they usually emphasise that the aspiring candidates should have some experience in a particular area of marketing specialization, such as experience in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMOGs) or experience in service industry So what exactly are the challenges in marketing services? As consumers we all have some preferred brands when buying tangible products an example, could be some individuals may prefer Coca Cola and others will prefer Pepsi Cola, this can be premised on the fact that these brands have been well established over some time.
Most people don’t find it a difficult thing to walk into any retail shop and buy a loaf of bread or a bag of mealie meal without having to carry out a benefit search. Have you ever heard any one ask what the benefit of buying a bag of mealie meal is?
The decision making process (DMP) is not as complex in tangible products, as it is in non-tangible products With the exception of technical goods and products most tangible products do not involve a complex process, complex buying is intensive information search and benefit analysis that takes place prior to buying.
For instance, a family man wishing to apply for his children’s educational policy with an insurance company or to open a fixed deposit account with some bank, will not simply wake up and walk over or drive over to the nearest insurance company or bank he comes across.
Similarly when one has enough disposable income and would like to spoil their family by taking them out for dinner to a hotel or restaurant, serious consideration will be given to service quality and to the reputation of the service provider.
It is imperative for me to point out at this point that services require a high degree of reputation and credibility, these aspects will significantly inspire confidence on prospective customers or clients.
In order for marketers to overcome the challenges that come with handling services, they should spend a little more time working around
the 5th, 6th and 7th Ps of the marketing mix which are; People, Processes and Physical evidence.
The People element addresses the need to have well qualified and competent staff, the Process component focuses on improving efficiency
and effectiveness in dealing with customers and lastly the Physical evidence covers the work environment, look and feel experience of the
customer.
Comments call: 0954 536875 or email: :ndhlovudennis75@gmail.com.
(The author is marketing, public relations and customer service consultantant)

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