- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Business Plus (March 1 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446520942
- ISBN-13: 978-0446520942
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.3 x 20 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 66 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #78,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing Hardcover – Mar 1 1997
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The transformation from a manufacturing-based economy to one that's all about service has been well documented. Today it's estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans work in the service sector. Instead of producing tangibles--automobiles, clothes, and tools--more and more of us are in the business of providing intangibles--health care, entertainment, tourism, legal services, and so on. However, according to Harry Beckwith, most of these intangibles are still being marketed like products were 20 years ago.
In Selling the Invisible, Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships. Even companies who think that they sell only tangible products should rethink their approach to product development and marketing and sales. For example, when a customer buys a Saturn automobile, what they're really buying is not the car, but the way that Saturn does business. Beckwith provides an excellent forum for thinking differently about the nature of services and how they can be effectively marketed. If you're at all involved in marketing or sales, then Selling the Invisible is definitely worth a look.
Advertising professional Beckwith startles and disarms all potential doubting Thomases with one fact--that by the year 2005, 8 out of 10 Americans will be working in a service business. Chapters here are remarkably short; they are intended to convey one point (summarized in one sentence in boldface italics) and are blessedly free of jargon. Hints and tips cover the conventional four Ps of marketing--product, promotion, place, and price--in an irreverent and iconoclastic manner; nothing is sacrosanct. Stories from every corner of life illustrate and drive home messages. In a quandary about pricing? Read the Picasso story to remember, "Don't charge by the hour; charge by the years." About the value of research? Forget questionnaires and focus groups; instead, ask individuals what improvements are needed--not the dreaded "What don't you like?" A very human, much-needed book to savor and be refreshed by. Barbara Jacobs
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As our economy evolves increasingly into more of a knowledge-based economy books on the marketing of services will become more important. As the title indicates, selling and/or marketing an intangible service is a different process than tangible product marketing. Mr. Beckworth says, "Marketing is not a department" and he's right--it is your front line (sales people) to your CEO and everyone in between. Everyone at your company is involved in marketing your company-and the author makes sure you get the message. Stop wasting time with ploys that don't work. COMMUNICATE with the consumer and you will see increased sales and market share.
This book is not about how to develop a complex marketing design or plan. What it does offer is quick, easy to read "business nuggets" that are a page or so in length. Each observation is a fairly insightful observation about marketing in general but focused towards the service industry. This book is written in a tone that is simple and down-to-earth rather scholarly or academic and was refreshing to read.
As the author writes, most people cannot evaluate the skills of an accountant, or lawyer, or any number of professional services. We often look for tangible proxies that indicate the professional's level of expertise and success (e.g., fancy offices, degrees on the wall, presentation, etc.).
If you read this book in its entirety in one session, you are bound to remember nothing in the sea of facts and tidbits. I've found the best way to read the book is to ponder on a few points every night and/or week, while attempting to apply them to a salient situation in your life. Overall, this book has some interesting and useful insights, and is a good read when you have a few minutes to spare. The best way to learn from this book is to APPLY it. Everything doesn't have to occur at once and frankly, I think that this book will be one that I look to in the future when I am looking for snippets of marketing wisdom.
Other useful books on marketing that I have read or been recommended include Seth Godin's Permission Marketing and Unleashing the Ideavirus (both great reads), the 22 immutable laws of marketing by Jack Trout and All Reis (excellent authors and a good read), Robert Cialdini's Influence and Ogilvy on Advertising or Wizard of Ads for help in sales copying.
For whom will this book be of greatest interest and value? Obviously, those now involved in marketing, sales, and other areas in which there is direct and frequent contact with customers. Beckwick reveals himself to be an astute observer of human nature. What he suggests can be of substantial value to any organization in which business relationships, including those which are internal, are less than desirable. Everything he suggests combines common sense with a sensitivity to others' needs and interests. Indeed, almost everyone in almost any organization (regardless of size or nature) must constantly be "selling" various services to others within and beyond that organization. First, they must establish credibility, then trust, and finally obtain agreement to cooperate, if not collaborate. Almost all relationships succeed or fail because of intangibles. Beckwick examines them within a business context but, in process, suggests wide and deep implications relevant to all other areas of human experience. This is an immensely practical as well as thoughtful book.
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