Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles

  • Levitt T
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Abstract

All products are, in some respect, intangible, because prospective customers cannot experience all aspects of the product in advance and are buying what are essentially promises of satisfaction. So, metaphor and symbol become surrogates for the tangibility that cannot be experienced in advance. Special difficulties with intangible products stem largely from the fact that they are highly people-intensive in their production and delivery methods. That people-intensiveness means quality control problems, some of which can be solved by substituting hard, soft, or hybrid technologies for totally people-intensive activities. With intangible products, people usually do not know what they are getting until they do not get it, so keeping customers means reminding them of what they do receive. Strengthening the relationship with the customer can be done in innumerable ways, some of which can be systematized. Managers can provide reassuring ways to render tangible the intangible's promises, and the relationship with the customer must be managed carefully and continuously.

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Authors

  • T. Levitt

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