There is an art to marketing intangible items; at Iffel International CMO Hema Dey is known for her ability to tangibilize a product – that is, how to reframe an intangible object into something branded and marketable. The process of tangibilizing is especially useful in industries where tangible products are not what’s being sold, for example with medical professionals, lawyers, and other service-oriented businesses.
Tangible products are physical products that can be touched, smelled, heard or seen. They are therefore easier to market than intangible items because the command a physical presence that can be examined and evaluated before purchasing. Services, or intangible items, can seldom be tried out, inspected, or tested in advance. If the target for your services are other businesses, this type of marketing can be categorized as B2B eCommerce. Prospective buyers are generally forced to depend on surrogates to assess what they’re likely to get. However, along with their differences, there are important commonalities between the marketing of intangibles and tangibles.
One aspect of marketing an intangible item involves the promise of satisfaction in consumption. This can be done indirectly through metaphor – “an appointment with this chiropractor will leave you feeling as carefree as a bird” – or more directly through free consultations or money-back guarantees. Both metaphor and promise help make the sale of the intangible items less risky or intimidating to the potential buyer. This is especially useful when customers can’t properly try the promised product in advanced. Metaphors and similes provide reassurances that become the amplified necessity in marketing, or tangibilizing the product.
In industries where services dominate over products, many companies rely on environmental esthetics. A lawyer’s office may use dark mahogany furniture, lofted ceilings, and marble accents to convey sophistication and order. A doctor’s office may count on clean whites and brightly lit room to convey cleanliness and reproductions of familiar artwork to provide a sense of comfort and ease. In the same way that tangible items rely on packaging and ads to emote the intended effect, marketing an intangible item – tangibilizing it- involves taking a holistic approach in considering product, service, and potential client or consumer.
The person behind the intangible product matters, as does the representative. People, in this case potential clients and customers, make judgements based on appearances. This holds true across industries and markets. External impressions matter and it’s therefore critical to consider not just the tangibilizing of a product or service, but the marketing of the service-provider as well. For doctors, this means developing a reputation not just through feedback and reviews, but through a concerted branding of the physician as well.
Once a relationship is cemented, the seller has created equity. However, in order to help keep the customer, the seller must regularly enhance the equity in that relationship lest it decline and become jeopardized by competitors. Strengthening these relationships can happen through regular marketing schemes such as newsletters and personalized outreaches like phone calls. For long term success, it is critical that sellers of intangible products reinstate their presence and performance in the customers’ minds, reminding them of their continuing presence and the value of what is regularly, and sometimes silently, being delivered.
Iffel International can work with you to identify your intangible products and services, and tangibilize them into a comprehensive and cohesive marketing plan. Hema Dey, CMO, is an expert when it comes to sales strategies. She applies comprehensive marketing techniques, customized to your specific product or service. Contact Iffel International here to find out how we can help you tangibilize the intangible.
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