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Exit services marketing - enter service marketing

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Since the 1970s, services marketing has grown into a major subdiscipline of marketing. It is constantly claimed – but is refuted in the article – that services are now the dominant economic activity in developed countries and keeps growing while the two traditional goods sectors, manufacturing and agriculture, are declining. An unsolved problem that has been swept under the carpet is the fact that goods and services always appear together. An international debate on the content of services marketing and marketing in general is in progress, especially fuelled by the service-dominant logic suggested by Vargo and Lusch (2004a). This new logic is a synthesis of knowledge and ideas that have been brewing over many decades. Among its tenets are that customers are not buying goods or services but value propositions to be of service to them, that customers are co-creators, and that value is actualised in the customer usage process rather than in the supplier value chain. The purpose of the article is to help break a deadlock of taken-for-granted “truths” in marketing, stimulate the emergence of more valid and relevant marketing theory and even uncover the inner secrets of marketing, its genome. In fulfilling this purpose the author points to the need to rethink several marketing-related issues, among them the economic sectors; alleged differences between goods and services; where and when marketing occurs; the interdependence between quality, productivity and profits; the roles of supplier and customer; the importance of customer-to-customer interaction (C2C); the high tech/high touch balance; the marketing mix; and relational and interactive approaches to marketing. Finally, the article questions the relevance of the marketing concept and customer centricity, advocating the need to apply “balanced centricity” and a stakeholder and network approach, epitomised by the author's concept many-to-many marketing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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