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Navigating the realm of services marketing books has reshaped my perspective. I've delved into various formats—tackling topics from pricing, economics, and competitive advantage to the nuances of customer experience and retention. This journey enriched my understanding of the marketing mix, service recovery, and the underlying marketing science.

Trust me when I say I've wrestled with concepts of internal marketing, human resource management, and the essence of service products. Simply put, I've walked this path and absorbed the lessons learned in these books. If you want to deepen your expertise in this domain—be it for growth or advancement—you're in good hands. So, let’s dive into the best services marketing books.

17 Best Services Marketing Books

After reading countless services marketing books, I've selected 17 based on their ability to address your specific needs and challenges.

  1. Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy by Jochen Wirtz and Christopher Lovelock
  2. Services Marketing: Integrating Customer Focus Across the Firm by Valarie A. Zeithaml, Mary Jo Bitner, and Dwayne Gremler
  3. Professional Services Marketing: How the Best Firms Build Premier Brands, Thriving Lead Generation Engines, and Cultures of Business Development Success by Mike Schultz, John E. Doerr, and Lee Frederiksen
  4. Services Marketing: Concepts, Strategies & Cases by K. Douglas Hoffman and John E.G. Bateson
  5. The Service Innovation Handbook: Action-oriented Creative Thinking Toolkit for Service Organizations by Lucy Kimbell
  6. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith
  7. Handbook of Service Business: Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalisation by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels
  8. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization by Olivier Blanchard
  9. Lead Generation for the Complex Sale: Boost the Quality and Quantity of Leads to Increase Your ROI by Brian Carroll
  10. STOP Guessing START Marketing: The Simple 5-Step Formula to Highly Effective Marketing Strategy by John Smiddy
  11. Handbook of Services Marketing and Management by Teresa A. Swartz and Dawn Iacobucci
  12. Essentials of Marketing Research by Joseph Hair, David Ortinau, and Dana E. Harrison
  13. The Service Profit Chain by James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard A. Schlesinger
  14. Service and Operations Management by Cengiz Haksever and Barry Render
  15. Delivering Quality Service by Valarie A. Zeithaml
  16. Service Innovation: How to Go from Customer Needs to Breakthrough Services by Lance Bettencourt
  17. Service Marketing by C. Bhattacharya

Overviews Of The 17 Best Services Marketing Books

Here’s a quick summary of each book, what you’ll learn, and why you should read it, plus a quote I like from the book. I added the author’s LinkedIn and other places to connect with them online.

1. Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy by Jochen Wirtz and Christopher Lovelock

Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy services marketing book

Summary:

Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy is a seminal work in the realm of services marketing. Co-authored by renowned professors of marketing, Wirtz and Lovelock delve into the intricate dynamics of marketing intangible services, highlighting the significance of people, technology, and strategic planning.

What You'll Learn:

Grasp the unique challenges and strategies associated with marketing services, the importance of integrating technology, and the pivotal role people play in delivering exceptional service experiences.

Why You Should Read It:

For anyone aiming to master the nuances of services marketing, this book, backed by decades of research and real-world examples, offers unmatched insights.

Quote From The Book:

"Services marketing is not just about selling a service, but creating and delivering a holistic experience powered by people and technology."

About The Author:

Jochen Wirtz and Christopher Lovelock are distinguished professors of marketing, having shaped the academic discourse on services marketing for years. Connect with Jochen Wirtz's profound knowledge and research through LinkedIn.

2. Services Marketing: Integrating Customer Focus Across the Firm by Valarie A. Zeithaml, Mary Jo Bitner, and Dwayne Gremler

Services Marketing: Integrating Customer Focus Across the Firm services marketing book

Summary:

An in-depth exploration of how integrating customer perspectives can transform services marketing efforts. The authors provide actionable insights and frameworks for creating memorable service experiences.

What You'll Learn:

The significance of customer-centricity in services marketing. Practical techniques to measure and enhance service quality—innovative tools to manage service delivery and customer relationships.

Why You Should Read It:

This book offers a balanced blend of theory and practice, making it an invaluable tool for both students and seasoned professionals.

Quote From The Book:

"The core product is only the starting point in creating value for the customer."

About The Author:

Valarie A. Zeithaml, Mary Jo Bitner, and Dwayne Gremler are experts in their field and have come together to provide a groundbreaking exploration of services marketing. Dive deeper into their expertise on Valarie's LinkedIn, Mary Jo's LinkedIn, and Dwayne's LinkedIn.

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3. Professional Services Marketing: How the Best Firms Build Premier Brands, Thriving Lead Generation Engines, and Cultures of Business Development Success by Mike Schultz, John E. Doerr, and Lee Frederiksen

Professional Services Marketing: How the Best Firms Build Premier Brands, Thriving Lead Generation Engines, and Cultures of Business Development Success services marketing book

Summary:

A deep dive into the niche world of professional services marketing. The authors, leveraging their collective expertise, illustrate how leading service firms craft influential brands and drive robust business development.

What You'll Learn:

Techniques to differentiate professional services in a crowded market. Strategies for effective lead generation and client acquisition. Insights to shape an organization's culture around business development.

Why You Should Read It:

If you aim to make a mark in professional services marketing, this book provides the blueprint to build a successful brand and business.

Quote From The Book:

"Your brand is not just what you say it is, but what others say about you."

About The Author:

Mike Schultz, John E. Doerr, and Lee Frederiksen are leading authorities on professional services marketing. Their shared insights in this book are a testament to their vast experience. Engage with them further on Mike's LinkedIn, John's LinkedIn, and Lee's LinkedIn.

4. Services Marketing: Concepts, Strategies & Cases by K. Douglas Hoffman and John E.G. Bateson

Services Marketing: Concepts, Strategies & Cases services marketing book

Summary:

Dive into the intricate world of services marketing with this comprehensive guide. Hoffman and Bateson integrate real-world cases with sound academic theories, providing readers with actionable strategies for the modern marketplace.

What You'll Learn:

The foundations of service marketing concepts, combined with proven strategies. The book offers a blend of both theoretical frameworks and real-world examples to help readers grasp the nuances of the field.

Why You Should Read It:

For those aiming to understand services marketing deeply, this book provides a balanced view, integrating academic rigor with practical insights.

Quote From The Book:

"Service marketing isn't just about selling services; it's about selling promises."

About The Author:

K. Douglas Hoffman and John E.G. Bateson have paired their academic prowess and industry insights in this illuminating book. To know more about their professional journey, engage with them on K. Douglas Hoffman's Colorado State University profile and John E.G. Bateson's LinkedIn.

5. The Service Innovation Handbook: Action-oriented Creative Thinking Toolkit for Service Organizations by Lucy Kimbell

The Service Innovation Handbook: Action-oriented Creative Thinking Toolkit for Service Organizations services marketing book

Summary:

Lucy Kimbell offers a hands-on approach to service innovation in this practical handbook. It is designed as a toolkit, helping organizations infuse creativity into their service offerings and strategies.

What You'll Learn:

The various tools and techniques to drive innovation in service organizations. Readers are guided through the process of ideation, design, and implementation of new service strategies.

Why You Should Read It:

If you're looking to revitalize your service offerings and adopt a creative approach to problem-solving, this handbook is a must-read.

Quote From The Book:

"Innovation in service is not a one-time event; it's a continuous journey of discovery."

About The Author:

Lucy Kimbell has been at the forefront of service design and innovation. Dive deeper into her expertise on LinkedIn and Twitter.

6. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing services marketing book

Summary:

In Selling the Invisible, Harry Beckwith deciphers the challenges of marketing intangible services. He offers readers a fresh perspective, highlighting the importance of understanding customer psychology and expectations.

What You'll Learn:

The intricacies of marketing something intangible. Beckwith sheds light on the unique challenges and opportunities that arise when selling services instead of physical products.

Why You Should Read It:

For a refreshing take on modern marketing, particularly in the realm of services, this book provides invaluable insights that challenge conventional wisdom.

Quote From The Book:

"The most important thing in service is to be genuine."

About The Author:

Harry Beckwith is an acclaimed marketing guru, known for his unconventional yet effective approaches. Connect with him further on LinkedIn or explore his insights on Twitter.

7. Handbook of Service Business: Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalisation by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels

Handbook of Service Business: Management, Marketing, Innovation and Internationalisation services marketing book

Summary:

An authoritative guide on service business management, Bryson and Daniels combine a wealth of knowledge to present a holistic view. They touch upon everything from core management principles to the nuances of internationalization.

What You'll Learn:

Key strategies for effective service business management, the role of innovation in driving success, and the challenges and opportunities of taking your service business global.

Why You Should Read It:

For an exhaustive and detailed analysis of managing a service business in today's complex global market, this handbook is a valuable resource.

Quote From The Book:

"A thriving service business requires continuous evolution in a constantly changing global landscape."

About The Author:

John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels are seasoned experts in service business studies. Delve deeper into John and Peter's works in their Amazon portfolio.

8. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization by Olivier Blanchard

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization services marketing book

Summary:

In this insightful work, Blanchard demystifies the concept of measuring return on investment (ROI) for social media efforts. He presents a practical approach to managing and optimizing social media activities within an organization.

What You'll Learn:

The essentials of aligning social media strategies with business objectives, and effective tools and techniques for measuring the tangible impact of your online efforts.

Why You Should Read It:

If you're struggling to quantify the success of your social media campaigns or seeking to integrate them more effectively into your overall business strategy, this book is indispensable.

Quote From The Book:

"Without a clear understanding of your goals, there is no ROI. Only cost."

About The Author:

Olivier Blanchard is a renowned thought leader in social media strategy and ROI measurement. Engage with him further on LinkedIn and Twitter.

9. Lead Generation for the Complex Sale: Boost the Quality and Quantity of Leads to Increase Your ROI by Brian Carroll

Lead Generation for the Complex Sale: Boost the Quality and Quantity of Leads to Increase Your ROI services marketing book

Summary:

Brian Carroll takes readers through the intricacies of lead generation, particularly focusing on complex sales. The book provides actionable insights to increase the quality and quantity of leads, ensuring better ROI.

What You'll Learn:

Effective techniques to identify high-quality leads, methods to nurture potential clients through the sales funnel, and tactics to optimize the lead generation process for complex sales scenarios.

Why You Should Read It:

For businesses navigating the challenging waters of complex sales, Carroll's guidance ensures you don't just generate leads, but the right leads.

Quote From The Book:

"In the world of complex sales, it's not about the number of leads; it's about lead quality."

About The Author:

Brian Carroll is an expert in lead generation and complex sales strategies. To learn more about his methodologies and insights, connect with him on LinkedIn or explore his thoughts on his personal website.

10. STOP Guessing START Marketing: The Simple 5-Step Formula to Highly Effective Marketing Strategy by John Smiddy

STOP Guessing START Marketing: The Simple 5-Step Formula to Highly Effective Marketing Strategy services marketing book

Summary:

John Smiddy demystifies the art of marketing with a clear and concise 5-step formula. The book emphasizes the value of a structured approach over guesswork, guiding businesses toward marketing mastery.

What You'll Learn:

Smiddy's transformative 5-step formula to revolutionize your marketing strategy, ensuring that your efforts are targeted, effective, and yield the desired results.

Why You Should Read It:

To transition from haphazard marketing attempts to a systematic strategy that promises improved outcomes and better brand resonance.

Quote From The Book:

"Marketing is not about guesswork; it's a structured art that, when done right, translates into business success."

About The Author:

John Smiddy is a marketing strategist with years of experience shaping the success stories of businesses. Connect and explore more of his insights on LinkedIn and his personal website.

11. Handbook of Services Marketing and Management by Teresa A. Swartz and Dawn Iacobucci

Handbook of Services Marketing and Management services marketing book

Summary:

Swartz and Iacobucci delve deep into the multifaceted world of services marketing and management. This handbook compiles essential theories, practices, and case studies, offering a holistic view of the field.

What You'll Learn:

The intricacies of services marketing, key management practices, and real-world applications of theoretical concepts. The book also presents enlightening case studies from varied industries.

Why You Should Read It:

For a comprehensive understanding of services marketing and management, filled with academic insights and practical wisdom.

Quote From The Book:

"True service excellence is achieved when theory meets effective execution."

About The Author:

Teresa A. Swartz and Dawn Iacobucci are distinguished names in the realm of marketing and academic research.

12. Essentials of Marketing Research by Joseph Hair, David Ortinau, and Dana E. Harrison

Essentials of Marketing Research services marketing book

Summary:

Published by McGraw Hill, Essentials of Marketing Research is a comprehensive guide that delves deep into the world of market research. Hair, Ortinau, and Harrison break down complex concepts into digestible insights, making it an invaluable resource for both beginners and professionals in the field.

What You'll Learn:

The foundations of marketing research, various methodologies, the importance of data analytics, and how to draw actionable insights from collected data.

Why You Should Read It: To gain a thorough understanding of marketing research practices and to harness the power of data-driven decision-making in today's competitive business landscape.

Quote From The Book:

"Marketing research isn't just about collecting data; it's about translating that data into actionable strategies."

About The Author:

Joseph Hair, David Ortinau, and Dana E. Harrison are seasoned professionals and educators in the domain of marketing research. Explore their extensive contributions to the industry through Joseph Hair's LinkedIn, David Ortinau's LinkedIn, and Dana E. Harrison's LinkedIn.

13. The Service Profit Chain by James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard A. Schlesinger

The Service Profit Chain services marketing book

Summary:

The Service Profit Chain establishes a groundbreaking connection between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and financial success. The authors propose that companies should focus on their employees first, as content employees lead to satisfied customers and ultimately, profitability.

What You'll Learn:

The intricate relationship between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability. The book reveals how to implement this approach in various business settings and the advantages it brings.

Why You Should Read It:

For a paradigm shift in understanding the interconnectedness of internal culture, customer satisfaction, and business success.

Quote From The Book:

"Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction."

About The Author:

James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard A. Schlesinger are experts in the service industry. Learn more about their extensive work through James L. Heskett and W. Earl Sasser's Harvard Business School profile, and Leonard A. Schlesinger's LinkedIn.

14. Service and Operations Management by Cengiz Haksever and Barry Render

Service and Operations Management services marketing book

Summary:

This book provides a comprehensive overview of operations management in service organizations. Haksever and Render delve into strategies, processes, and techniques that ensure efficient service delivery and optimal operations.

What You'll Learn:

The foundations of service operations, optimization techniques, and real-world applications that guarantee effective service delivery.

Why You Should Read It:

To understand the intricacies of operations within service organizations and how to streamline them for better outcomes.

Quote From The Book:

"Efficiency in service delivery isn't just about speed, it's about aligning processes with customer expectations."

About The Author:

Cengiz Haksever and Barry Render are seasoned professionals in operations management. Dive deeper into their expertise on Cengiz Haksever's LinkedIn and Barry Render's LinkedIn.

15. Delivering Quality Service by Valarie A. Zeithaml

Delivering Quality Service, services marketing book

Summary:

In Delivering Quality Service, Zeithaml explores the nuances of service quality. The book focuses on understanding customer expectations, gauging service performance, and ensuring consistent service excellence.

What You'll Learn:

How to measure service quality, and understand customer expectations, and strategies to ensure continuous service excellence.

Why You Should Read It:

To gain a comprehensive understanding of service quality and how to consistently exceed customer expectations.

Quote From The Book:

"Service excellence is not a one-time act but a habit practiced every day."

About The Author:

Valarie A. Zeithaml is a revered expert in the service industry. For a closer look at her vast contributions to the field, visit Valarie A. Zeithaml's LinkedIn.

16. Service Innovation: How to Go from Customer Needs to Breakthrough Services by Lance Bettencourt

Service Innovation: How to Go from Customer Needs to Breakthrough Services, services marketing book

Summary:

Lance Bettencourt champions the idea that service innovation stems from understanding customer needs. In this insightful book, he offers a systematic approach to uncovering these needs and translating them into breakthrough services.

What You'll Learn:

Discover the systematic methodology to understand customer needs deeply, and the process of translating these insights into innovative service offerings.

Why You Should Read It:

To harness the power of customer-centric innovation and deliver services that resonate with your target audience.

Quote From The Book:

"Innovation begins by first understanding and defining the customer's job to be done."

About The Author:

Lance Bettencourt is a thought leader in service innovation. Dive deeper into his expertise and insights through Lance Bettencourt's LinkedIn and Twitter.

17. Service Marketing by C. Bhattacharya

Service Marketing, services marketing book

Summary:

In Service Marketing, C. Bhattacharya presents a detailed exploration into the intricate world of service marketing with a keen emphasis on relationship marketing. The book merges theory with actionable strategies, offering readers a comprehensive guide to mastering the art of marketing services.

What You'll Learn:

Understand the unique characteristics of services, the principles of relationship marketing, and the strategies to navigate the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities in the service sector.

Why You Should Read It:

For a nuanced understanding of service marketing complemented by the intricacies of relationship marketing, Bhattacharya's insights provide a robust foundation.

Quote From The Book:

"Service isn't just a transaction; it's a relationship. Through relationship marketing, we transform fleeting interactions into enduring bonds."

About The Author:

C. Bhattacharya is a thought leader in the realm of service and relationship marketing.

Which Services Marketing Books Do You Recommend?

I value your insights and expertise. If there are any services marketing books you believe should have been on this list, please share them. I'm always eager to expand my knowledge and appreciate your recommendations.

By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.