Whither Services Marketing? In Search of a New Paradigm and Fresh Perspectives

Lovelock, C., Gummesson, E. (2004)

Journal of Service Research Vol 7; Issue 1; pp 20-41
DOI: 10.1177/1094670504266131
This article examines the received wisdom of services marketing and challenges the validity and continued usefulness of its core paradigm, namely, the assertion that four specific characteristics—intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, and perishability—make services uniquely different from goods. An alternative paradigm is proposed, based on the premise that marketing exchanges that do not result in a transfer of ownership from seller to buyer are fundamentally different from those that do. It posits that services offer benefits through access or temporary possession, instead of ownership, with payments taking the form of rentals or access fees. This rental/access perspective offers a different lens through which to view services. Important implications include opportunities to market goods in a service format; the need for more research into how time is perceived, valued, and consumed; and the notion of services as a means of sharing resources.

Challenges the marketing attributes of services. The 5I’s of intangibility, inseperable, no inventory, inconsistent and requiring involvement. It finds them to be less generally applicable than everyone unquestionably assumes. Finding many examples where they are not the full explanation of differences between services and goods (products).

They propose looking at services through the lens of “no ownership is transferred”. They propose 5 categories of services under this type of thinking:

  • Rented goods services
  • Place and Space rental
  • Labour and Expertise rental
  • Physical facility and usage rental
  • Network access and usage

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