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Test Marketing Services (A Special Case)

Category: Marketing

For some services many of the techniques in product market testing can be directly applied. Some service companies have major advantages in test marketing. If a nation-wide firm has a comprehensive network of distributed service points then it has considerable opportunities for testing. It can experiment with much greater control than is the case in most markets and derive many of the key data itself. Professional services, rental companies, many financial service operations and various franchise networks can potentially make great use of market testing.

In other kinds of service organisation there may be less scope, but market testing in some form is still possible. Within a hotel a battery of services is offered. New services can often be added on an experimental basis with relatively little cost. Similarly, tour operators can sometimes test new destinations on a very limited basis.

Public sector services can also be tested using some of the techniques in market testing. Depending upon the service it could be analogous to the network of distributed service points or to the single service point offering multiple services In either case some form of test marketing or other experiment is feasible. A difference would be in the variables to be forecast. Market share would probably not be relevant, though that may not be universally so. Notions of penetration and repeat usage would also have to be revised but the essential idea of measuring trial and repeat might be appropriate for some services. Control of the experimental variables presents an equally rich variety. Some public services are provided in a tightly defined and completely closed system, others are provided in a diffused, ill defined system. Furthermore, the types of marketing effort in a test may not reflect those needed in a full scale launch, possibly because research and experimentation may not have the same claim on resources as in the private sector.

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