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Aligning industrial services with strategies and sources of market differentiation

Chris Raddats (Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 14 June 2011




The purpose of the paper is to investigate how product‐centric businesses (PCBs), operating in a business‐to‐business environment, develop industrial services to align with their services strategies and sources of market differentiation. PCBs are companies whose businesses were historically based on the products, rather than the services, that they sold.


This was a UK‐based study that included interviews with 40 managers in 25 industrial companies for whom services are a market differentiator.


The empirical results show that PCBs' industrial services are aligned with their services strategies and sources of market differentiation and can be categorised, i.e. “discrete services”, closely linked to PCB‐supplied products, either their own or those of other suppliers; “product lifecycle services”, concerned with product‐related activities throughout the lifecycle of a PCB's products; “output‐based solutions”, providing solutions to customers' operational issues. Modularity in design means that service categories are often backward compatible, meaning that PCBs supplying output‐based solutions can also supply product lifecycle and discrete services.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation is the focus on the perspective of suppliers, with customers likely to impact which service offerings PCBs provide.

Practical implications

PCBs should align industrial services with their resources that provide market differentiation, for example related to their products or relationships with other parties. Whilst it can be valuable to increase the range and depth of services provided to customers, creating modular offerings will ensure that customers are able to find an appropriate level of services engagement with their product suppliers.


The study provides a new typology of PCB service categories that are related to services strategies and sources of market differentiation.



Raddats, C. (2011), "Aligning industrial services with strategies and sources of market differentiation", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 332-343.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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