Marketing Intangible Services
So you sell a service. It could be preventive maintenance contracts, medical education, business consulting, systems integration—anything that’s tough to see, touch, or put in a package and ship.
Since your customers can’t look at what you’re selling or get a demonstration, or readily compare it with competitors, how do you stand apart?
We get asked that question a lot. And, for once, there’s a relatively simple answer. Convert your tangible offering into something tangible.
Here’s a simple rule any good marketer can benefit from:
If you have a service (an intangible offering), you need to make the value tangible. Inversely, if you have a product, you need to make the benefit intangible, but that’s another blog.
The tangibility hack works because it lets you sidestep that nagging question in any service business: what makes you different and better? When you give your audience a tangible hook, they can ground themselves in your offering and better understand how the value impacts their needs.
Creating tangibility gives you a different, ownable path, and there are several ways you can do it. Here are a few we like.
Three Ways to Differentiate Intangible Offerings
Make a metaphor.
This is a classic play. Because, well, it works. Find a thing or symbol that characterizes your unique positioning. You know, “Like a Good Neighbor.” Hey, Introworks has a rocket. Just be sure your metaphor is a real thing that can be understood easily. Otherwise, you’re doubling down on the intangibles and that sends you down a rabbit hole of abstraction.
Take an attitude.
What’s your adjective? What describes you? Once you know your values and brand attributes, pick one and run with it. Could be how you approach every challenge. Tenacious. Geeky. Pioneering. Whatever it is, lean into that. Obviously, these values need to be absolutely absolutely true to who you are at your very core.
Processes and business models can be tangible assets. When people and technology work together to create a solution, it becomes real. Call it something like an “engine.” Or brand it with a meaningful name. Once people understand the noun of what you provide, they can better understand the verb of what you do.
If you’re introducing or revitalizing a service offering, we’re here to deliver tangible results.