A couple of years back, I had written a post about marketing of services – an area that I had worked on for a year before coming to IIM Lucknow. Good to be studying a course on Services Marketing as an elective – I’m glad I opted for it!
In the first lecture on ‘Serv Mark’, Professor Rajeev Kumra laid out a very interesting principle. He introduced us to the concept of the ‘Tangibility Continuum’ where by a the tangibility of the offering increases from LOW to HIGH (as the nature of the offering changes from being a Service to being a Good), the tangibility of marketing communication decreases from HIGH to LOW. I made this graphic on Microsoft PowerPoint to translate the illustration that Professor had used on the board while explaining the concept in Class.
What it means is that a soap company (Highly Tangible Product) will use emotional appeals and feelings as the key benefits in advertising for the product. Notice that emotional appeals and feelings are not very tangible and hence, LOW on the tangibility continuum.
By contrast, an airline company which basically offers a service, and hence not something very tangible, will show the aircraft, the interiors, the comfortable leg-space, etc., which are tangible, and hence HIGH on the tangibility continuum.
The other thing that is great about such ‘tangible’ learnings is that they keep proving time and again to the non-believers that marketing, after all, is not all ‘GLOBE’ or ‘faff’, it is a set of principles which need to be identified, learnt and applied.