Book Review : Services Marketing by Valarie Zeithaml, Mary Jo Bitner, Dwayne Gremler

Services Marketing by Valarie Zeithaml, Mary Jo Bitner, and Dwayne Gremler was the prescribed textbook for my elective course on Service Marketing and Management.

My firs opinion is the name is a misnomer - it should have been called Service Management. The book talk entirely from the perspective of managing services. After reading the textbook and going to 30 hours of lectures, I can safely say that Managing and Marketing of Services cannot be separated and there is no such thing as 'Marketing' tailor-made for 'Services'.

The text book gives a comprehensive note on the Gaps Model and the book is entirely written based on it as the authors were the original conceptualize-rs of the model.

The examples and case studies provided in the text book are useful and very practical ones. The feature 'Strategy Insight' provides good tips and information on how the discussed can be put into use and also how we can build on the concepts to achieve better results.

The chapter on Customer Relations could have been better. Service Recovery is dealt in depth in the textbook with apt examples. 'People' as a core component in managing and marketing services is a message drawn throughout the book. Also I liked the depth to which authors have discussed on how investments in services can be made 'reflected' in the bottom line.

If you are reading the textbook after a plethora of marketing books; it may appear an academic intensive book. However worth a read and keep in your personal library!

Book Review : Strategic Market Management by David A Aaker

Strategic Market Management by David A Aaker was the prescribed text book for an elective course on Competitive Marketing Strategy. A small book, attractive frameworks and lucidly written is my view about this book.

The framework given in the beginning is the most important takeaway from the book. It is simple to comprehend and also outlines what is in the book. It also is a practical outline for any practicing strategist or marketer.

The book provides some really good examples for the concepts it discusses. The book deals with Customer and Competitor Analysis in depth. Some of the frameworks discussed in competitor analysis like competitive strength grid are worth a read. The chapters I liked the most were the discussions on creating competitive advantages.

However, I felt the book is more talking from the air :) Its discussion is from a 10000 feet height from ground level. Especially the discussion on strategic positioning, global strategies are just repetition and common sense in jargon. i expected some more from Aaker for these topics!

The discussion on diversification and marketing strategies for declining markets are of good quality and worth reading. Again, expect only a high level approach to discussion. I was using seventh edition. The latest edition available is ninth; hence I am not sure what all improvements have been included.

Overall a good textbook for academic purposes. Except the strategic market management overview frame work and couple of other frameworks discussed, I doubt whether it will be of any help in practical marketer's life!