With many service products, the purchaser may provide a great deal of input into the final form of the product. For example, if you wanted to take a Caribbean cruise, a good travel agent would give you a large selection of brochures and pamphlets describing the various cruise locations, options provided in terms of cabin location and size, islands visited, food, entertainment, prices, and whether they set up for children. Although the task may be quite arduous, an individual can literally design every moment of the vacation.
It should be noted that these four characteristics associated with service products vary in intensity from product to product. In fact, service products are best viewed as being on a continuum in respect to these four characteristics. (See Figure 7.3)
The point of this disclaimer is to suggest: (a) that service products on the right side of the continuum (e.g. high intangibility) are different from good products on the left side of the continuum, (b) that most marketing has traditionally taken place on the left side, and (c) service products tend to require certain adjustments in their marketing strategy because of these differences.
While this discussion implies that service products are marketed differently than goods products, it is important to remember that all products, whether they are goods, services, blankets, diapers, or plate glass, possess peculiarities that require adjustments in the marketing effort. However, "pure" goods products and "pure" service products (i.e. those on the extreme ends of the continuum) tend to reflect characteristics and responses from customers that suggest opposite marketing strategies. Admittedly, offering an exceptional product at the right price, through the most accessible channels, promoted extensively and accurately, should work for any type of product. The goods/services classification provides the same useful insights provided by the consumer/industrial classification discussed earlier.