Project

Productizing Services

Goal: Services are often difficult to understand and communicate, and as a result, difficult to position, differentiate, and sell. This project aims to develop a better understanding of (1) what service productization is; (2) what well-defined service products are; and (3) explores the concepts and tools available to productize services.

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Project log

Jochen Wirtz
added a research item
Purpose The business-to-business (B2B) marketing literature is heavily focused on the manufacturing sector. However, it is the B2B service sector that shows the highest growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Beyond a vibrant stream of literature on servitization, the B2B literature has neglected drawing on the wider service literature. This paper aims to examine recent streams of service research that have promising implications and research opportunities for B2B marketing. Design/methodology/approach Together, the author team has decades of research, managerial and executive teaching experience related to B2B marketing and services marketing and management. The observations and reflections in this paper originate from this unique perspective and are supplemented by insights from 16 expert interviews. Findings The authors identify and discuss in this paper four broad and related themes from the service literature that can stimulate B2B research and practice. First, the authors highlight the implications for capturing value in economies with their rapidly increasing specialization and related growth in B2B services. Specifically, the authors explain where B2B firms should focus on to gain bargaining power in the value chains of the future. Second, an additional strategy to enhance a B2B firm’s power to capture value is servitization, which allows firms to get closer to their customers, increase their switching costs and build strategic partnerships. The authors explore how firms can use service productization to enhance their chances of successful servitization. Third, servitization is expensive, and productivity and scalability are often a challenge in B2B contexts. These issues are tackled in a recent service research stream on cost-effective service excellence (CESE) where the authors derive implications for B2B firms. Fourth and related to CESE, latest developments in intelligent automation offer exciting opportunities for B2B services to be made more scalable. Originality/value This paper is based on the unique perspective of the author team and a panel of experts and connects major streams of service research to the B2B literature.
Jochen Wirtz
added an update
Out latest paper has just been accepted for publication: Wirtz, Jochen, Martin P. Fritze, Elina Jaakkola, Katja Gelbrich, and Nicole Hartley (2021), “Service Products and Productization,” Journal of Business Research, forthcoming. The paper is available in the references of this project.
 
Jochen Wirtz
added a research item
Many services are difficult to understand and communicate, and as a result, difficult to position, differentiate, and sell. While important, understanding services as well-defined products has hardly received research attention although doing so offers a host of potential benefits. This conceptual article makes the following contributions. First, it synthesizes the literature to develop a better understanding of service productization as a process that transforms variable, ad-hoc services and service products into well-defined service products (i.e., 'productized services'). Second, it advances that well-defined service products are (1) specified (i.e., have a formalized value proposition and are configured, standardized, systemized, and often also modularized and bundled), (2) branded (i.e., have a name, symbol, or design), (3) and priced (i.e., have clearly stated prices). Third, this article advances managerial practice by exploring the concepts and tools available to productize services and outlining managerial benefits and potential drawbacks of highly productized services.
Jochen Wirtz
added a research item
All service organizations face choices concerning the types of products to offer and how to deliver them to customers. Designing a service product is a complex task that requires an understanding of how the core and supplementary services should be combined, sequenced, and delivered to create a value proposition that meets the needs of target segments. Developing Service Products and Brands is the third book in the Winning in Service Markets series by services marketing expert Jochen Wirtz to cover the key aspects of services marketing and management based on sound academic evidence and knowledge.
Jochen Wirtz
added a research item
===> Purpose: This article emphasizes a research priority on our understanding of service products and how services can be productized. Furthermore, it provides perspectives on the contribution of service research to management practice and who should be the main target audience of service research. ===> Design/methodology/approach: The article is based on the personal reflections of an author of two leading services marketing textbooks. ===> Findings: This article develops three propositions related to service research. First, it advances that academic service research has neglected the important topic of productizing services and that service products should be treated as concrete units of deliverables to customers rather than something fuzzy of unspecified quantity. That is, service products should be developed, designed, specified, configured, modularized, bundled, tiered, branded, priced sold and delivered to customers. We need more research on how organizations can do this. Second, this article argues that academics frequently underestimate the significant contributions service research has made to management practice and details important contributions that originated from the service research community. Third, it is proposed that the main target audience of service research should not be the marketing, sales and service departments. Rather, it should be decision makers (especially C-level executives) across all functions who should develop a service perspective and service mindset. ===> Research implications: This article urges service researchers to focus on what are service products and how firm can create, manage and deliver them. Furthermore, it suggests that service researchers should be more confident and proud of the significant progress and contributions they have made to management practice over the past few decades. Finally, service researchers should tailor their messages for decisions makers of all organizational functions and departments in service organizations. ===> Originality/value: As an author of five editions of a services marketing textbook, I have sifted through decades of service research. The reflections in this article originate from this unique perspective. ===> Purpose: This article emphasizes a research priority on our understanding of service products and how services can be productized. Furthermore, it provides perspectives on the contribution of service research to management practice and who should be the main target audience of service research. Design/methodology/approach: The article is based on the personal reflections of an author of two leading services marketing textbooks. Findings: This article develops three propositions related to service research. First, it advances that academic service research has neglected the important topic of productizing services and that service products should be treated as concrete units of deliverables to customers rather than something fuzzy of unspecified quantity. That is, service products should be developed, designed, specified, configured, modularized, bundled, tiered, branded, priced sold and delivered to customers. We need more research on how organizations can do this. Second, this article argues that academics frequently underestimate the significant contributions service research has made to management practice and details important contributions that originated from the service research community. Third, it is proposed that the main target audience of service research should not be the marketing, sales and service departments. Rather, it should be decision makers (especially C-level executives) across all functions who should develop a service perspective and service mindset. Research implications: This article urges service researchers to focus on what are service products and how firm can create, manage and deliver them. Furthermore, it suggests that service researchers should be more confident and proud of the significant progress and contributions they have made to management practice over the past few decades. Finally, service researchers should tailor their messages for decisions makers of all organizational functions and departments in service organizations. Originality/value: As an author of five editions of a services marketing textbook, I have sifted through decades of service research. The reflections in this article originate from this unique perspective. Keywords: Service product; productization of service; service research; services marketing; research impact
Jochen Wirtz
added a project goal
Services are often difficult to understand and communicate, and as a result, difficult to position, differentiate, and sell. This project aims to develop a better understanding of (1) what service productization is; (2) what well-defined service products are; and (3) explores the concepts and tools available to productize services.