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Capítulo 5:

 Products and services. Productos y servicios en inglés

“Never write an advertisement which you wouldn't want your family to read.  You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife.  Don't tell them to mine.”  ~David Ogilvy

LEAD IN thinking....

Swot analysis

SWOT analysis is a simple framework for generating strategic alternatives from a situation analysis. It is applicable to either the corporate level or the business unit level and frequently appears in marketing plans.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Because it concentrates on the issues that potentially have the most impact, the SWOT analysis is useful when a very limited amount of time is available to address a complex strategic situation. (From: http://www.netmba.com/strategy/swot/)

Write notes about your own company or a product and market.

To help you, you can follow this template:





In this unit we are going to talk about products, services and marketing. Product is one of the famous ‘4 Ps’ of marketing (the others being Price, Place and Promotion). Product does not only refer to manufactured goods but also to the services related to that product. Packaging and the marketing of the product are very important, as well. From the point of view of the product’s end-user, it is also essential to take customer support into account.

Furthermore, we’ll see how important and useful the SWOT analysis is and we’ll introduce the Maslow’s marketing filter.


According to the Macmillan Online Dictionary (http://www.macmillandictionary.com/): Marketing is the way in which a company encourages to buy its products by deciding on price, type of customer, and advertising policy.

Other definitions are (http://www.marketingteacher.com/Lessons/lesson_what_is_marketing.htm):

-Marketing is the social process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others – by Kotler.

-Marketing is the management process that identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements profitably – by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). The CIM definition looks not only at identifying customer needs, but also satisfying them (short-term) and anticipating them in the future (long-term retention).

The right product, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price by Adcock.

This is a snappy and realistic definition that uses McCarthy's Four Ps.

But what are the 4 Ps of marketing? This is what we know as the marketing mix: the combination of activities required to ensuring good sales. The 4 Ps stand for Product (such as brand recognition), Price (such as profit margin), Place (such as retail shops) and Promotion (such as free samples).

Each of these ideas can also be seen from a consumer’s perspective. In this way, Product converts into Customer Solution, Price into Cost, Place into Convenience, and Promotion into Communication. These are the 4 Cs. And this relates to the concept of mix coherence; or, in other words, how well the components of the mix are blended together.

The mix dynamics refers to how the mix is adapted to a changing business environment, to changes in the organization’s resources, and to changes in the product life cycle.



Activity 1.

Match each of the elements of the 4 Ps to their correspondent elements of the 4 Cs.


 E-mailing The Maslow’s Marketing Filter:

One of the basics of all marketing and advertising training is a teaching of "Maslow's needs pyramid". This pyramid shows the different motivators and needs in a person's life and how they are built one upon the other. Supposedly this is presented to help the marketing student understand consumer motivation and thinking.

Maslow's needs pyramid present human needs such that each need is pursued and met before the next level of needs can be considered; they build upon one another. The needs from most basic to most complex are:

  • physiological needs: food, shelter, sex
  • safety needs: clothing, weapons, defense of self
  • social needs: social acceptance
  • esteem needs: acceptance of self by self
  • fulfillment needs: a feeling of having and fulfilling a purpose

For more:  search on the net for the keywords “marlow’s marketing filter”.

An interesting link is: http://www.businessmarketing360.com/Articles/9000.php



Activity 2.

Read the definitions (1-6) below and match each of them to one of these marketing techniques. The first one has been done for you.



1. using electronic media like mails or SMS to promote products.

2. promoting products to target costumers, for example, through addresed mail

3. persuading people to buy a product or service by announcing it on TV, radio, or in other media.

4. marketing that spreads from consumer to consumer, often online.

5. marketing in which consumers do not realize they are being marketed to.

6. putting products or references to products in media like films or video games.


When developing a new product, a company needs to bear in mind a wide range of factors:

  • the origin of any new product ideas: customer? sales staff?
  • the fit with the existing product line
  • manufacturing questions such as ‘how difficult will it be to make this new product with our existing equipment?’
  • pricing, distribution and promotion

When the finished product is finally ready to be on the market, sales staff will need to know:

  • its functions, or in other words, what is does
  • its features and specifications
  • its customer benefits
  • possibilities for customization
  • how it compares with competitor’s products

Activity 3.

Read the information on two different products and then complete the product specification summaries:

1. The printer is 40.5 cm ______ and 30 cm ______. It is 15 cm ______. When empty the printer_____ 2 kg.

2. The mobile phone is 8.5 cm in ______ and 4.5 cm in _____ and 1.5 in _____. Its ______ is 500 g.


TextPay attention to the form of the words in bold:

  • the ones about the printer take the noun
  • the ones about he mobile phone take the adjective

Pay attention also to the verb to weigh and its noun form, weight.

Use can use both forms indistinctively as long as you stick to the same form.

Now, let’s have a look at some nouns and the compound adjectives they usually collocate with.



 When we talk about ‘customer service’ we refer to pre-sales (enquiries), sales itself (including order processing) and post-sales (returns, complaints, etc.). When we talk about ‘customer support’ we refer mainly to post-sales only. We can talk about ‘customer relationships’ to talk about both aspects.


Activity 4.

Look at these aspects of customer relations and categorise them according to whether they are:

a. something companies look for in the relationship

b. something customers look for in the relationship

c. both


Read this text from The Economist.com. Which problems related to customer relations are mentioned?

Face value
Giving people what they want

May 8th 2003
From The Economist print edition
Companies are still failing to put their customers first, says Shoshana Zuboff

YOU know the feeling all too well. Some widget in your home computer expires. Result: it no longer talks to your printer. You telephone the PC maker's helpdesk, only to enter a maze of “press nine for immediate assistance” and “your call is important to us”. After 15 minutes of nasty music, a voice tells you to call a different number: that particular widget is their responsibility, not ours. Eventually, a new widget is said to have been shipped to you. Two weeks and many phone calls later, it has not arrived. You throw the PC away and start again.

Life is full of experiences such as these, curiously removed from the silvery promises of television advertisements and the salesman behind the counter. A chasm now separates individuals and firms, she says, and that gap is the next big business opportunity. People yearn for support to help them through life's complexities and those moments when the promise of reliability turns sour.

The book has plenty of tales of how firms fail to give consumers the service they have promised. All the talk is of nurturing customer relationships; the reality is the frantic woman dashing from one airline's gate to another, trying to get on to a flight home and finding one cancellation after another and sullen, unhelpful staff. When firms cut costs, they often do so in ways that upset consumers: they put pressure on frontline staff who handle complaints, shaving seconds off the time each call-centre operative is allowed to spend on a pacifying call; or they squeeze up prices in ways that turn what looked like a good deal into a lousy one, the moment something goes awry; or they use customers' data to pretend to an intimacy and understanding of their needs that does not really exist.

Promises, promises

The difficulty begins with companies promising customers support that they cannot deliver. As Miss Zuboff says, electronic networks mean that firms now know more about their customers than ever before. So they believe that they can treat customers as individuals, even if, partly for cost reasons, they continue to mass produce for them. Meanwhile, customers' expectations have risen: a legacy, not least, of the internet bubble. They want choice, reliability and to be looked after as individuals. This is, after all, what the advertising promises. All those pledges to remember, next time you check into a hotel, whether you like a soft pillow or a hard one: they have an impact.

Every manufacturer these days wants to offer service as a distinguishing characteristic; and every service business wants to build relationships with its customers, because it knows that retaining existing customers costs far less than recruiting new ones. But providing services turns out to be expensive and complex. Outsourcing services, whether a bank outsources its credit-card business or a hotel its reservations, is harder to manage than outsourcing the manufacture of chips or tyres. Gaps appear through which customers slip when something goes wrong. Besides, the prices of many goods have been falling; but the cost of services, including the helpdesk, continue to rise. And the more reliable goods become, the fewer customers need help—and the more redundant (and expensive) the helpdesk seems to be.

But does the solution really lie in new corporate structures and new businesses, designed to support customers in trouble with their airline or computer company? That depends on whether consumers are willing to pay for support. If they are not—which many firms fear—support will remain a cost with no matching benefit, at constant risk of being squeezed.

From The Economist


Activity 5

To check your understanding, choose the best answer A or B, for each question:

1. What is the purpose of the story in the first paragraph?

               a. to criticise the speed at which companies respond

               b. to complain about unsatisfactory customer care

2. What does the writer say is the result of the difference between promises and reality in the second paragraph?

               a. there is an opening for businesses to exploit

               b. consumers now have low expectations of customer service

3. What effect do budget cutbacks have on the way companies service their customers?

               a. less personal attention is given to customers with problems

               b. products become more unreliable than before

4. What is the effect of new technology on customer relationship mentioned in paragraph 4?

               a. companies treat each customer differently

               b. companies think they can offer a better service  than is in fact possible

5. What incentive is there for companies to provide a customer helpdesk?

               a. customers are prepared to pay extra for after-sales service when they buy a product

               b. keeping the customers they already have happy is more cost-effective than finding new customer



CRM (customer relationship management) is the integration of marketing, sales and after-sales service within an organisation.

Its purpose is to maximise the profitability of customer relationships.

CRM applications allow companies to be different from their competitors.

Central to CRM are information systems.

Key areas include:

  • marketing automation
  • sales automation
  • customer service

CRM systems delivered over the Internet are the norm, permitting efficient communication between users.

For more:

search on the Internet for the keywords ‘golden rules of customer support’ and ‘customer relationship management’

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