Themes and Concepts in Service Marketing That Are Common in The Majority of the Service Companies

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It is globally accepted that services make up the largest section of many economies not only in the developed nations but also in developing nations. From statistics, service sectors make up close to 80 percent of all employment opportunities in the western nations while agriculture, mining and manufacturing record a decline in growth concerning employment. This is true based on the rate at which technological advancements, globalization, and changes in consumer preferences are taking place. In the same line, the tee service industry is growing at a rapid rate with changes in wealth of the affluent nations and those in middle levels of development.

As nations become wealthier and more developed, the need for quality service delivery systems continues to rise. Ideally, the most developed nations have moved from quality service economies to experience economies and this means that in the developed nations, the main focus of service marketing is to create and achieve desired customer experiences to ensure high customer satisfaction that has a direct bearing on loyalty and customer commitment. This work aims to explore the existing evidence-based research findings on service marketing to create a better understanding of the service industry. This is driven by the notion that the service industry is characterized by an inherent and intimate interconnection of nature, operations, marketing, technology, and human issues.

Service marketing research review

Kostis Indounas (2018) carried out research in which he investigated the “Market structure and pricing objectives in the services sector”. The main focus of this work was to assess the pricing objectives that are deployed by the service companies in the process of setting prices for their services. Besides, the researcher investigated the impact of the prevailing market structures on the pricing objectives. Pricing objectives according to the researcher include customer-related objectives, sales-related objectives and profit-related objectives (Indounas, 2018). The study was conducted by use of data from 184 service companies primarily in the logistic, financial, information technology and airline sectors which are the most conspicuous service companies in many countries.

From the study, the researcher found that companies from which data was collected have a pattern of pricing objectives and their main focus is to retain their existing customers and to attract new customers into their company. This is to ensure that the companies remain relevant in the market, not for the short term but long term. This did not indicate that the companies do not consider the financial aspects within their objectives. The study also found out that market structures impact on the pricing objectives such that different market structures attract different pricing objectives.

Maria-Eugenia Ruiz-Molina, Martina Gallarza andIrene Gil-Saura in their study on “A review of value drivers in service settings” (2018) noted that perceived value and customer loyalty are researched together in many studies in service marketing. This is done by use of SEM models. The research aimed at exploring the literature available on the multiple dimensions of illustrating the value of perceived value by customers and the role played by this value in contributing to customer loyalty. This is because customer loyalty in the service sector is derived from the perceived value that a consumer attaches to the service itself and the service provider as an individual.

The study was conducted by surveying approximately 460 Spanish consumers who were interrogated at the exit of a store that offered grocery and home furnishing in seven of its retail chains. The responses were analyzed by an ACHAID analysis on loyalty which was expressed in nine main dimensions. The dimensions from which the consumers expressed their value were “efficiency, service quality, product quality, and emotional value, value for money, social value, aesthetic value, escapism and ethics” (Maria-Eugenia Ruiz-Molina, 2018). The study found that efficiency is what customers prioritize in the grocery service delivery but it is not being prioritized in the home furnishing section of service delivery. On the contrary, product quality, emotional value, and aesthetics are great drivers of perceived values by customers in areas of service accessed by most loyal customers.

The research concluded that retailers must make sure that they identify the dimensions of service that are likely to drive values by customers to be able to understand how they can enhance customer loyalty. This is because customer loyalty is not only driven by the intangible and tangible elements of service delivery but also by the functional and emotional elements of the service (Maria-Eugenia Ruiz-Molina, 2018).

In a different study, Vai Shiem Leong, Sally Hibbert and Christine Ennew (2018) investigated the need for “Communicating value to enhance service visualization”. In the study, the researchers aimed at examining the impacts of improved imagination of intangible service value which is achieved by integrating the means-ends aspects in advertisements (Vai Shiem Leong, 2018). The research focused on banking advertisements and how the messages used in those advertisements help consumers to derive salient values that they desire. This is to assess the stimulation of individualized significance of the messages contained in financial advertisements.

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Advertisements are believed to create a cognitive connection by consumers of the clarity of the benefits of the intangible service in question. Effective advertisement of service should be able to adequately create a clear picture of the benefits embedded in the service being advertised. The study found out that effective service advertisement results in greater cognitive connectivity that has a positive implication on the tangibility of the service. Advertisements should be designed to communicate and stimulate the visualization of the perceived benefits and their capacity to meet consumer needs.

Deon Nel, Gené van Heerden, Anthony Chan, Mehdi Ghazisaeedi, Wade Halvorson and Peter Steyn authored a publication in 2011 entitled “Eleven years of scholarly research in the Journal of Services Marketing”. The research paper aimed at analyzing the academic contents of the articles published in the journal of service marketing between 1998 and 2008. This was to facilitate the identification of trends in service marketing in ten years.

Content analysis of the publications within the specified time frame was conducted and a total of 417 articles met the inclusion criteria. Topics by researchers during this period revolved around “service quality and customer satisfaction; service encounters and experience; service design and delivery; customer retention and relationship marketing; internal marketing and support services; service recovery; reverse marketing; modeling and measurement; technology infusion; customer acquisition, advertising, and communication; and lastly strategy, performance, and management” (Deon Nel, 2011). The journal, however, classifies topics in service marketing into “customer policy and service; marketing of services; marketing planning; and service marketing abroad and service quality” (Deon Nel, 2011).

The research found that the majority of research on service marketing is conducted by use of empirical data and the use of adult non-students participants in the samples has been increasing over time. Correlations and regressions have risen in popularity in data analysis and this makes the articles published in the journal of service marketing to be credible sources for use in a literature review. It is concluded that the journal is essentially useful for scholars interested in studying service marketing.

“Promoting customers’ involvement with service brands: evidence from coffee shop customers” is the tile of research that was conducted by Soon-Ho Kim and Seonjeong (Ally) Lee in 2017. In their study, they investigated the ways through which brand loyalty can be maximized by involving the customers. The hypothesis was derived from the principles of involvement theory and the symbolic interaction theory.

The researchers conducted their research by assessing brand loyalty against the provisions of involvement and symbolic interaction theories. The study found that customer-brand identification and service value greatly influences brand loyalty because customers’ involvement in brand decisions creates satisfaction in them making them become loyal consumers (Soon-Ho Kim, 2017).

Lastly, Angela Dobele, Jane Fry, Sharyn Rundle-Thiele and Tim Fry (2017) sought to investigate the kind of information that mothers rely on in their search for a baby health caretaker. In their article titled “Caring for baby: what sources of information do mothers use and trust?” the researchers suggest that there exists a wide array of information channels that service customers access. Not all information accessed is trustworthy and to provide effective information, the service providers must change their behavior. In their study, 472 mothers were recruited in the online survey to contribute to the empirical exploration of the kind of information that those mothers use and trust in their search for a person to care of their babies (Angela Dobele, 2017).

The research found that the more educated a mother is, the more likely it is for them as consumers to trust a health professional as opposed to trusting the family. Magazines were found to be least trusted as sources of health information by mothers (Angela Dobele, 2017). This implies service marketing in magazines may fail to be trusted as compared to the advertisement in other sources such as the television. The research, however, focused on health service marketing and may therefore not be used to generalize on what information source is reliable than the other.


The service sector can be described as one offering many opportunities for business owners and scholars. The field is however faced with a broad array of challenges. The review has highlighted an overview of some themes and concepts in service marketing that are common in the majority of the service companies. The dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the service sector presents researchers with so many areas of study that have not been fully explored and this makes it impossible to draw generalized conclusions from the review. However, the review outlines service marketing as an exciting area of study that presents researchers with an extensive and open opportunity for future research. There are so much art and science embedded in service marketing that is yet to be discovered and published.


  1. Angela Dobele, J. F.-T. (2017). Caring for baby: what sources of information do mothers use and trust? AJournal of Services Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp., 677-689.
  2. Deon Nel, G. v. (2011). Eleven years of scholarly research in theJournal of Services Marketing. Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 25 Iss: 1, 4-13.
  3. Indounas, K. (2018). Market structure and pricing objectives in the services sector. Journal of Services Marketing ISSN: 0887-6045 Vol. 32 No. 7, 792-804.
  4. Maria-Eugenia Ruiz-Molina, M. G.-S. (2018). A review of value drivers in service settings. Journal of Services Marketing Vol. 32 No. 7., 850-867.
  5. Soon-Ho Kim, S. (. (2017). Promoting customers’ involvement with service brands: evidence from coffee shop customers. Journal of Services Marketing Vol. 31 No. 7., 733-744.
  6. Vai Shiem Leong, S. H. (2018). Communicating value to enhance service visualization. Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 6., 645-656.
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Themes and Concepts in Service Marketing That Are Common in The Majority of the Service Companies. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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