Marketing and professional public services

2017-06-08T03:27:10Z (GMT) by McGuire, Linda
Health, education and community services, described as complex, human or welfare services, are classified as 'professional' in marketing. Market type mechanisms introduced under the rubric of NPM have blurred the distinction between public and private realms, as increasingly public services are delivered by non-profit and private agencies. One consequence is a more overt marketing stance by service providers. Ambiguity in the language of marketing leads to confusion between market mechanisms and marketing for public services. There are two issues for professional public services. The first is the application of market type mechanisms. The second is the transfer of marketing strategy and techniques from private to public services. Products, customers and exchange relationships, the core concepts of marketing, are deeply ambiguous for professional public services. This paper examines the managerial implications of the conceptual ambiguity in the language and concepts of marketing for professional public services. Marketing techniques have much to offer public service providers seeking to improve service delivery, client relationships and consultation. Market research techniques have much to contribute to policy analysis and evaluation. However the core concepts of marketing are deeply ambiguous for professional public services with multiple 'customers' and contested 'values'. There is more to social policy than strategic marketing and there is more to service delivery than customer service.