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Services Marketing Strategy

Part 1. Marketing Strategy

  1. Valarie A. Zeithaml1,
  2. Mary Jo Bitner2,
  3. Dwayne D. Gremler3

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem01055

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Zeithaml, V. A., Bitner, M. J. and Gremler, D. D. 2010. Services Marketing Strategy. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 1.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hall, NC, USA

  2. 2

    Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

  3. 3

    Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Services marketing strategy focuses on delivering processes, experiences, and intangibles – rather than physical goods and discrete transactions – to customers. Delivering experiences successfully and building customer relationships are complicated undertakings involving many different strategies and tactics. Successful services marketing strategy also involves integrating a focus on the customer throughout the firm and across all functions. All company functions – marketing, selling, human resources, operations, and R&D – must work together to create effective services marketing strategy. Although companies have often found it difficult to attack service problems in an organized manner, a well-established model called the gaps model provides a framework for focusing on the customer and describes the approaches necessary to close the gap between customer expectations and perceptions. This article discusses services marketing strategy in the context of the gaps model, demonstrating that closing the all-important customer gap is a function of closing four gaps on the service provider side: the listening gap, the service design and standards gap, the performance gap, and the communication gap.


  • services marketing strategy;
  • gaps model of service quality;
  • service excellence