Service Is Marketing


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In the Advertising Age article, "How Apple Is Blurring the Line Between Marketing and Service," Pete Blackshaw finds that leading brands like Apple and Zappos are redefining and reshaping the consumer experience through better customer interaction.

"Whether explicitly acknowledged or not, there’s an unmistakable "service is marketing" mantra pervading every aspect of the Apple Store. And that’s something every brand, even those not as shiny as Apple’s, can learn from."

Blackshaw outlines important new lessons being introduced by Apple:

  • Service is marketing. As marketers struggle to "engage" consumers, service may well be the easiest and most gratifying starting point — and one with high sales conversion potential.
  • Problems are opportunities. Tech support is an emotional experience — so why not capitalize on that insight by openly and enthusiastically solving problems, giving reassurance and showing compassion for the pain and frustration. A satisfied consumer might just buy something else while making the trip.
  • Employee authority and passion aids selling. When employees "walk the talk" in using the product they sell, credibility goes up — and credibility drives persuasion. Passion and evangelism also move the needle.

In this age of consumer control, these are valuable lessons for all of us.


  1. Hi Randy,

    I haven’t seen the Advertising Age article yet but agree with the premise. In my opinion, the underlying reason for the success of Apple Stores and other who subscribe to this approach lies in what customers’ value and when they extract value. From a customer’s perspective there is utility value and experiential value. In an era of abundance, utility is purchased based on the best trade-off between price and convenience and no loyalty acrues. Experiential value, well, happens when the customer consumes or use the product and is the foundation of emotional loyalty, desire and demand. Apple let’s the customer know, before the sales, that they understand the customer is interested in experiential value.

    As for Service is Marketing. I am inclined to this that a focus on the customer experience requires some rethinking about traditional terms.

    John I. Todor, Ph.D.
    Author of Get with it! The Hands-on Guide to Using Web 2.0 in Your Business.


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