A Critical Review Of The Ways In Which Marketing Thought Is Evolving In Response To Current Trends I

A critical review of the ways in which marketing thought is evolving in response to current trends in the services marketing environment.

' There is a growing realization that services marketing management not only requires new theories and approaches but that these perspectives are changing the whole paradigm of marketing'.


Over the past three decades services marketing has emerged as a well established area in its own right. However, the original boundaries that existed to define it and distinguish it from the marketing of manufactured goods have become increasingly blurred as most of the products we buy today often include some element of service in them. The increasing commoditization of goods has meant that a point of differentiation for the manufacturer has been to bundle services (intangible benefits) with the purchase (tangible benefit), to the point that it is difficult to separate which is the essential element to the purchaser. Service marketing has similarly blurred its own boundaries by adding tangible products and cues to its offering in order to make the service encounter more memorable, this is exemplified through memorabilia and merchandise from theme parks, promotional ‘freebies’ from banks, branded goods from hotels etc. Services are increasingly indigenous to physical products and physical products are increasingly a key component of the service experience.

The definition of what constitutes a service is equally challenging. Berry (1980) states that pure services cannot be seen, tasted, touched or smelled before they are bought, they are intangible. Rather a service is a deed, performance or effort, not an object, device or thing. Gummesson (1987) refers to a service as ‘something which can be boug ...
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