Services as you may know are mainly intangible but customers usually depend on tangible cues, or physical evidence, to examine the service before its purchase and to assess their satisfaction with the service. Physical evidence in marketing mix is one of the additional 3 P’s of the service marketing.
Cleanliness in healthcare provider’s clinic, external look and interior decor of an eating place, the comfort of the seating arrangement in a movie theater, facility for personal needs at the airport all contribute towards the image of the service organization. The common aspect in these is that they are all physical, tangible and controllable elements of a service organization. They constitute the physical evidence in service marketing.
Considering that services are intangible in nature nearly all service providers try to include some tangible factors into their offering to enhance customer experience. Thus, you will find beauty salons that have appealing waiting areas with magazines, newspapers and luxurious sofas for patrons to read and rest as they wait for their turn. Likewise, restaurants make investments in their interior design and decorations to offer a tangible and special experience to the guests.
A service organization needs to recognize the value of physical evidence and the function it is likely to perform in entire marketing strategy of the business. It can be utilized to charge a premium price for a service and establish a favourable experience. It performs a vital role in service differentiation, service packaging, facilitation in the service creation and delivery, and customer and staff socialization.
There may be two kinds of physical evidence:
- Peripheral evidence
- Essential evidence
Peripheral evidence is possessed as a part of the service purchase. It has however little or no independent value. For example, movie ticket, bank cheque book, confirmation receipt for hotel reservation. A cheque book has no value if you have no money in the bank. Peripheral evidence adds to the value of essential evidence. They are relatively small and trivial but undoubtedly have an impact on the consumer perception about the quality of service.
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Essential evidence represents a prominent element of the service facility. These are technical facilities without which the service delivery is not possible. This can not be given to consumers, except may be on a temporary basis. Essential evidence can’t be possessed by the customer; the building, its size and design, interior Layout and decor, logo of the business are elements of the essential evidence.
Examples of Physical Evidence in Marketing Mix
In short, within the marketing mix, physical evidence actually could say a lot about how successful a service could possibly be in the foreseeable future. What are the key advantages provided by physical evidence in service marketing:
They are improved employee productivity, creation of good impression among clients, improved trustworthiness of the service organization, and differentiation from competitors, management of service quality and repositioning of services.