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A reconceptualization of manufacturers' service strategies
Management School, University of Liverpool , Liverpool , UK.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Department of Management, Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management , Hanken School of Economics , Helsinki , Finland. (Industriell marknadsföring)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4081-9737
2014 (English)In: Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, ISSN 1051-712X, Vol. 21, no 1, 19-34 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: As part of service infusion, manufacturers use services to differentiate their products and provide growth. Although several attempts have been made to classify manufacturers' service strategies and offerings, most have been based on small purposive samples. The purpose of this article is to create a generic typology of manufacturers' service strategies.

Methodology/approach: The unit of analysis was the manufacturer or strategic business unit. The data collection was based on a survey of 145 B2B manufacturers in the United Kingdom.

Findings: Three categories of service offerings were identified: product-attached services, operations services on own products, and vendor independent operations services. These categories are used to specify three generic service strategies: Services Doubters, for whom services are not a strong differentiator with no focus on any category of service offerings; Services Pragmatists, for whom product-attached services are a key differentiator; Services Enthusiasts, for whom services are both a product differentiator and an enabler of growth, with all three categories of service offerings important.

Research implications: Whereas prior studies tend to use the concepts of service strategies and categories of service offerings interchangeably, we find empirical support for the importance of making a clear distinction between the two concepts.

Practical implications: Manufacturers can be classified according to their services strategies. For Services Doubters service infusion is unlikely to be an appropriate approach to creating differentiation. For Services Pragmatists services play a crucial role in creating product differentiation. Services Enthusiasts use services to both differentiate their own products and also develop services-led growth.

Originality/value/contribution: The paper exposes an ambiguity in the extant literature, with a manufacturer's categories of service offerings used as proxies for service strategies. A new typology of service strategies is presented based on categories of service offerings, which provides insight into how manufacturers infuse services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Philadelphia, PA, United States: Routledge, 2014. Vol. 21, no 1, 19-34 p.
Keyword [en]
business marketing, B2B, industrial marketing, manufacturer, service offerings, service infusion, servitization, strategy
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103369DOI: 10.1080/1051712X.2013.857500ISI: 000329774900002OAI: diva2:688925
Available from: 2014-01-18 Created: 2014-01-18 Last updated: 2015-07-17Bibliographically approved

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Kowalkowski, Christian
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