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Synopsis

Service companies often struggle with marketing efforts because their "product" is not a physical thing. Services are abstract and their effectiveness and value are hard to measure from a customer point of view. Harry Beckwith explains that marketing and selling a service requires a completely different approach than marketing and selling a physical product. Though Selling the Invisible contains "how-to" sections, such as "Quick Fixes", it is more of a "how-to-think-about book." Using entertaining and revealing stories from major corporations and artists to provide examples and drive home key points, Beckwith delivers effective tips and reminders that help service companies begin to think differently and grow their business.

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50 questions and answers
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Beckwith could have covered more on the role of technology in service marketing, the importance of customer relationship management, and strategies for online marketing. He could also delve deeper into the challenges of international service marketing and how to overcome them.

Service companies can measure their effectiveness and value from a customer's perspective through various methods. They can use customer satisfaction surveys to gather feedback on their services. They can also track customer retention rates, as a high retention rate often indicates that customers find value in the service. Additionally, they can monitor online reviews and social media comments to gauge customer perception of their service's value and effectiveness.

Some other 'how-to-think-about' books in the field of marketing include 'Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age' by Jonah Berger, 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert Cialdini, and 'Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die' by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

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Summary

The approach of learning how to think, as opposed to learning simply what to do, is the foundation of the book and is what makes it so refreshing and effective. Beckwith clearly outlines the foundation for this "how-to-think" approach with specific questions such as "What am I good at?" and specific exercises such as defining a service, understanding prospects, and understanding a customer's buying behavior. While much of the material in the book will not be seen as particularly new or ground-breaking, it's the way the material entices readers to look at these effective marketing elements with a different, creative view, that makes the material so valuable.

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52 questions and answers
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The 'how-to-think' approach can improve the overall customer experience by encouraging a different, creative view of effective marketing elements. It prompts individuals to ask specific questions like 'What am I good at?' and engage in exercises such as defining a service, understanding prospects, and understanding a customer's buying behavior. This approach fosters a deeper understanding of the customer's needs and preferences, which can lead to more personalized and effective service delivery.

The 'how-to-think' approach in marketing can be applied in various ways. It can be used to understand the customer's perspective, their needs, and their buying behavior. This approach can also be used to identify the strengths of the product or service being marketed, and how it can meet the customer's needs. Additionally, it can be used to develop creative and innovative marketing strategies that are tailored to the target audience. It's all about thinking from a different perspective and being creative.

The 'how-to-think' approach can help in improving customer satisfaction by encouraging a deeper understanding of the customer's needs and buying behavior. This approach promotes creativity and innovation in addressing customer needs, leading to more effective marketing strategies and ultimately, higher customer satisfaction.

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While readers will find the traditional marketing elements such as product, promotion, place, and price – the focus of Selling the Invisible is on how customer service and relationships impact sales. From how to use customer complaints to improve a service and better position that service, to more clearly defining a service and the targeted customers, the material Beckwith presents will surely create some "aha" moments, if not a genuine epiphany!

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50 questions and answers
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Selling the Invisible suggests marketing a service in a competitive market by focusing on customer service and relationships. It suggests using customer complaints to improve a service and better position it. It also emphasizes on clearly defining a service and the targeted customers.

While the book 'Selling the Invisible' provides valuable insights on how customer service and relationships impact sales, it may not cover all aspects of marketing. Some potential drawbacks could include a lack of focus on digital marketing strategies, which are crucial in today's digital age. Additionally, the strategies may not be applicable to all industries or types of businesses. It's also possible that the emphasis on customer service and relationships could overshadow other important aspects of a business, such as product development or financial management.

Selling the Invisible suggests identifying targeted customers for a service by focusing on customer service and relationships. It emphasizes on using customer complaints to improve a service and better position it. It also suggests clearly defining a service and its targeted customers.

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The early chapters of the book, such as "Surveying and Research: Even Your Best Friends Won't Tell You" and "Marketing is Not a Department" focus on learning how to objectively think about the effectiveness of current marketing efforts. From assuming that current service levels are inadequate to realizing that everything a company does is marketing, the emphasis here is to help companies realize what a valuable resource their customers are in better defining, and presenting, the services being offered.

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50 questions and answers
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A company can leverage customer insights to improve their marketing strategies by using the feedback and data gathered from customers to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of their current marketing efforts. This can help the company to identify areas of improvement and redefine their services based on customer needs and preferences. It's important to remember that everything a company does is marketing, and customers are a valuable resource in shaping the services being offered.

Some common mistakes companies make when marketing their services include assuming that their current service levels are inadequate, not realizing that everything a company does is marketing, and not utilizing their customers as a valuable resource in better defining and presenting the services being offered.

A company can effectively communicate the value of their services to customers by first understanding their current marketing efforts and realizing that everything they do is marketing. They should also understand that their customers are a valuable resource in better defining and presenting the services being offered. This can be achieved through surveys and research, and by not assuming that current service levels are adequate.

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Later chapters such as "Planning: The Eighteen Fallacies", "Anchors, Warts, and American Express: How Prospects Think", and "The More You Say, the Less People Hear: Positioning and Focus" continue the "how-to-think" approach by questioning traditional marketing staples and learning how to find effective alternatives. These chapters help readers better understand how the right thought processes and the right questions often reveal opportunities and issues that may have gone unnoticed with a more traditional marketing approach.

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The final chapters in the book focus on the importance of rethinking pricing, branding, selling, and keeping customers happy. These final chapters bring everything together with concrete exercises, many of which challenge conventional marketing techniques, and provide readers with an opportunity to put their new "thinking" skills to work. Because of the fresh, thought-provoking approach to marketing and selling the "invisible," the book will be a valuable resource for any service provider. With an open mind and the desire to put the lessons learned into action, they could transform how their service is marketed and create more value for their customers and more growth for their company.

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