Nissan Motors GB – Tangibility-Intangibility continuum

I finally have had success in finding a marketing placement – I will be working as an After-sales marketing co-ordinator for Nissan Motors GB.  I am thrilled to be able to work for such a great company and within the motor industry, which I have always had some sort of interest in from an early age; I am now a keen Formula One fan.  From what I understand of the role so far – I have not yet received the contract yet – I will be mainly focusing on warranties, road-side assistance and Nissan’s own insurance scheme.

This relates to a very important marketing theory of services: the tangibility-intangibility continuum.

On the far left on the scale we have ‘pure tangible goods’ that have no service element – these are, in fact, very rare to find.  Although salt itself is a pure physical good, it has to be at least delivered.  Moving towards the right, we have ‘products accompanied by one or more services’, such as perfume purchased from a retailer.  Next, in the middle, there are ‘hybrid offers’ – these have as much ‘product’ inputs as ‘service’ inputs, from which a consumer receives value.  A typical hybrid offer is fast food, which is served to the customer in a short duration at the expense of quality.  To the right of this offerings, such as a travel, are ‘services accompanied by minor goods’. Lastly, on the far right of the scale, ‘pure services’ can be distinguished.  These, like baby-sitting, do not result in the physical ownership of anything.

In terms of a car’s position on the continuum, it is most likely to lie in-between ‘a product accompanied by one or more services’ and a ‘hybrid offer’.  For Nissan, in particular as an innovative car manufacturer, their cars are more likely to be classified as hybrid offers.  This can be best explained by using the Nissan Leaf – their 100% electric car.

In the selling the Leaf, Nissan have gone above and beyond the usual mix of services offered with a car.  As the Leaf is the first of its kind in the UK, Nissan have to use a market leader strategy.  This involves expanding the total market size for electric vehicles; as Nissan have such a huge share of this niche market, the best way to win sales is to increase the benefits of owning an electric car, knowing that newly generated prospective customers are most likely to choose them (the only other electric car producer in the UK is Tesla)

Hence, Nissan have gone to great lengths to introduce new services that make owning an electric car more enjoyable and practical.  In particular, Nissan have collaborated with British Gas to consult customers on running an electric car and even install charging stations at customer’s homes.  Moreover as the location of services is so very important, the company has integrated an application that allows the nearest charging station to be located on-the-go.  Ease-of-access is crucial for charging stations, which is why, not only are they being installed at service stations, supermarkets and city centre parking spaces, there is – simply – lots of them!  This map visualizes just how many, and how accessible, these charging stations are.

Simply, as Nissan are leading the way in the electric car market, it is in their best benefit to offer additional services that make owning an electric car more feasible and enjoyable.  This is – in general – a crucial way to gain a competitive advantage through marketing: offer services with products and offer products with services.  Hence, working within after-sales marketing would be such a great opportunity as the line between a product and service is becoming more and more blurred.  There is even a marketing theory called ‘Service Dominant Logic’, which states that all products and their benefits are in fact a service – for instance, a car’s service would be to get to one place to another.

If any readers are searching for a placement I would love to hear from you!

© Joshua Blatchford, author of Manifested Marketing, 15/01/2012

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4 Comments

  1. As a PR student a placement makes a huge part of our course!
    With your knowledge, business savvy and enthusiasm Nissan are lucky to have you! Hope your placement goes well!

    Reply
  2. Thanks a lot! Good look with the search

    Reply
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