The Four Service Marketing Myths

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The Four Service Marketing Myths
Remnants of a Goods-Based, Manufacturing Model
Stephen L. Vargo
University of Maryland

Robert F. Lusch

Texas Christian University

Marketing was originally built on a goods-centered, manufacturing-based model of economic exchange developed during the Industrial Revolution. Since its beginning, marketing has been broadening its perspective to include the exchange of more than manufactured goods. The subdiscipline of service marketing has emerged to address much of this broadened perspective, but it is built on the same goods and manufacturing-based model. The influence of this model is evident in the prototypical characteristics that have been identified as distinguishing services from goods—intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity, and perishability. The authors argue that these characteristics (a) do not distinguish services from goods, (b) only have meaning from a manufacturing perspective, and (c) imply inappropriate normative strategies. They suggest that advances made by service scholars can provide a foundation for a more service-dominant view of all exchange from which more appropriate normative strategies can be developed for all of marketing. Keywords: service; goods; intangibility; inseparability; heterogeneity; perishability Early marketing thought was built on a foundation of goods marketing, essentially the distribution and monetized exchange of manufactured output. Since marketing

grew out of economic science, with models developed during, and intended to deal with issues of, the Industrial Revolution, this goods-based foundation is understandable. During the past 40 to 50 years, service marketing scholars have created a subdiscipline of services marketing to address exchange phenomena that had been previously undressed or underaddressed in marketing, given this manufactured output orientation. These…...

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