Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy (5th ed.)

Bo Edvardsson (Karlstad University, Sweden)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



Edvardsson, B. (2004), "Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy (5th ed.)", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 413-414.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Adam Smith claimed in his well‐known book, The Wealth of Nations, that only work resulting in physical products will create lasting value. Today times are different. Companies are searching for new and better ways to differentiate their market offerings and customer relationships in order to attract and keep customers and make a profit. Products become platforms for services or components in service concepts and many companies, also outside traditional service industries, try to stay competitive through services..

The world of services has changed in dramatic ways over the last 30 to 50 years. Most economies today are service economies in terms of share of GDP and most new jobs are created in different service industries. The value creation logic through and marketing of products in the industrial era compared to the value creation through services in the service economy requires new frameworks, concepts and models. Training in the fields of services marketing and management is a strategic question for managers in their never‐ending efforts to develop their organizations and stay competitive. A relevant text‐book may be an important contribution.

This new edition of Services Marketing represents a significant revision, restructuring, and updating of the book to reflect the challenges facing service managers in the early twenty‐first century. Trends such as technology infusion in services, service infusion in manufacturing, the experience economy and organizing service systems in networks, alliances and partnership have all been addressed in some way. This text‐book is versatile, and flexible for instructors teaching in a variety of environments.

Service Marketing takes a managerial, integrative as well as international perspective. The text is rooted in academic research, complemented by memorable concepts, cases and frameworks. The book is designed to bridge the gap between the real world and academic theory and the authors have done a good job when it comes to approaching this challenge. Practical management applications are reinforced by numerous examples within the 15 chapters, along with eight up‐to‐date readings from leading scholars in the field of service research and 15 classroom‐tested cases. Additional cases, teaching materials, and instructor aids are available on the course Web site.

Services marketing, once a tiny academic field championed by a handful of pioneering professors, has become a thriving area of activity. This text‐book reflects growing research efforts in academia and lessons learnt from success and failure in service businesses around the world. Student interest in courses that focus on various aspects of managing service organizations, including marketing, makes a great deal of sense from a career standpoint, as most business school graduates will be going to work in service industries, and managers report that manufacturing‐based and goods‐focused models of business practice are not always useful to them.

What's new in the fifth edition?

The book features coverage of the latest research and developments in the service sector, ranging from customer relationship management (CRM) and six sigma quality to revenue (yield) management and customer feedback systems. In addition, there is substantive coverage of consumer behaviour, people‐management issues, branding, business to business services, and technology‐based services including self‐service technology.

The authors emphasize that marketing strategy and service management takes place in a highly competitive environment, reflecting the belief that service companies must be competitively positioned as well as customer focused.

All chapters feature expanded references, with new published research findings being added to every topic.

The text has been streamlined to avoid unnecessary repetition and restructured to ensure and enhanced sequencing of topics. Despite the addition on new material, tighter editing has resulted in a leaner and more effective set of chapters.

The authors have reduced the number of chapters to 15 (down from 18 in the previous edition). Every chapter has been revised, and some have been retitled to reflect a more focused emphasis. Material on technology and international strategy is now to be found throughout the book, rather than being presented in separate chapters. Coverage of demand and capacity management, queuing, and reservations has been consolidated in a single chapter, with material on revenue management being transferred to the pricing chapters.

Distinguishing features of the book

Key features of this highly readable book include its strong integrative, strategic as well as operations management focus and the use of memorable conceptual frameworks that have been classroom tested for relevance to both undergraduate and MBA students. Furthermore, the book draws on relevant academic research findings, numerous examples to link theory to practice, and inclusion of new readings reflecting the frontline in service research and cases to accompany the text chapters.

Services Marketing is designed to complement the materials found in traditional marketing principles texts. It avoids sweeping and often misleading generalizations about services, recognizing explicitly that the differences between specific categories of services (based on the nature of the underlying service process) may be as important to student understanding as the broader differences between goods marketing and services marketing. It also draws a distinction between the marketing of services and the marketing of goods though service.

Throughout the book, the authors stress the importance for service marketers and service management leaders, as well as people in the front line, to understand the operational processes underlying service creation and delivery as well as the customers' consumption processes. The chapters are grouped into four areas, each of which has distinctive implications for the nature of service encounters, the roles played by customers and services personnel, the strategic application of information technology to delivery systems, and management practice.

Concluding remarks

This text‐book gives a unique overview of service management with a strong strategic services marketing focus. The broad and still integrative approach to services marketing and management will help students understand the complex and dynamic world of services. The examples and cases, as well as the readings, cover a wide range of service industries and services marketing situations mangers will face and need to be prepared to manage. The authors combine a focus on high tech and high touch, people and technology, the customers' consumption processes with the service providers design, production and delivery processes. Also there is a clear emphasis on productivity and profitability in many of the frameworks and models being presented. Another area being addressed is the strategic role of a dynamic service culture supporting services marketing strategies and customer interactions.

After reading a book like this you ask your self; what is missing and which are the weaknesses? My view is that there is a good balance when it comes to covering different topics, problems and aspects of services marketing. However, I would have liked to see more on services marketing in manufacturing companies and the role of services marketing in the public sector. I would have liked to see something about services marketing in developing countries and emerging markets such as China and India, where there is a huge potential for service companies. It is always easy to wish for more and when you do you should also consider what could be left out. I am not sure I have a good answer!

This text‐book is not only for students at the master level in business schools. The book is also for scholars who want to get an overview of the field of services marketing and management. I recommend the book for practitioners in different companies and for public service providers as well as the government. This book is relevant for everyone with an interest in learning more about services marketing and management and how to create lasting, customer value through services.

I enjoyed reading Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy and so will you!

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