Marketing the Experience: Applying Product Management Concepts to Services and Events

“Marketing the Experience: Applying Product Management Concepts to Services and Events” with Dr. Juan P. Montermoso, President at Montermoso Associates

 By Dan Galatin

October 2012 Event

Juan Montermoso, President at Montermoso Associates and Professor of Practice in Marketing at Santa Clara University, presented at the October 3rd meeting of the SVPMA.  Dr. Montermoso discussed new elements that the successful marketing of services requires, beyond the traditional “4 P’s”.

As consumers, we are all familiar with how the quality of experience affects our perception of service from many industries, from food and hospitality, to travel, to financial services, to education.  Experiences and services are deeply intertwined.  All told, services constitute almost two-thirds of global GDP; even in developing countries, a significant portion of GDP is from services.

Most product managers use the 4 P’s of marketing – product, price, promotion and place – to distinguish their products from competitors.  Dr. Montermoso argued that to deliver great services, we must go further.  He introduced 3 additional “P’s” to carefully consider: clear and unique process, attractive and enchanting physical environment, and motivated and skilled people.

Process is a way to imagine how an experience should unfold.  It should be put together as a blueprint of what the customer experience is to be from the time the prospective customer is first introduced to your company until they start using your product.  Southwest Airlines explicitly publishes their process, from fare search to feedback, on their web site, since they claim the quality of their customer experience is a major competitive differentiator.  When well defined, process can improve the customer’s understanding of the product and satisfaction with the product, and potentially increase their reuse of the product.  Good process can result in productivity and quality gains.

Physical environment is the landscape of the service, or “servicescape.”  For example, people expect a doctor’s office to be clean, with the proper medical equipment installed.  Ambiance – color, sound and scent, signs and symbols – affects feelings and attitudes toward the service.  Companies must create an environment that touches the mind as well as the heart.

Dr. Montermoso’s third additional element is people, the core element for delivering the experience.  The best thing to focus on is developing customer loyalty.  People think that your product is the best because their relationship with you is the best.  Customer-facing employees need to be armed with the right skills, motivation and opportunity for providing a superior experience.  Nordstrom is an example of a company that instructs its salespeople to stay with the customer until the customer is satisfied.  Ultimately, the best companies recognize that increased employee satisfaction results in increased customer satisfaction.

Creating value via the experience is crucial, and today it’s more important than ever to build brand credibility via the web.  It is important to consider the impact of both information that you post directly, such as YouTube videos, and customer word-of-mouth feedback through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and posted reviews on sites like Amazon and Yelp.  Evangelists are very important to help influence customer opinion.  For example, Adobe failed to respond quickly to Apple’s negative remarks about Flash because Adobe didn’t have any evangelists at the time.

Finally, one more tool that Dr. Montermoso recommended considering for optimizing the success of the service offering is bundling: for example, triple-play offers from companies like Comcast.  (Studies show that companies are less successful when the bundle is the only offering, however.)

Dan Galatin has over 20 years of combined experience in product management and software engineering.  He is currently a Senior Product Manager at Keynote Systems and can be contacted at