When it comes to both marketing and distribution, you need to come up with a plan. This plan should include both the goals that you intend to achieve, in a measurable form, and the steps that you plan to take in order to get there.

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Having a plan will make it so that you can determine how effective your current marketing and distribution efforts are, and help you to figure out where you can improve on them in the future based on the results that you get.

In order to be able to track the results of your multi channel marketing and distribution plans, you will need to have a good customer relationship management software program. This will help you to figure out just who your current customers are, and what they are buying. Then you can try to market to them in other ways, or use this data to develop new markets that you can target in addition to your current customers.

You can use this software to keep track of how new customers heard of your product, for instance, so you can get a better idea of which channels are working and which are not, and switch from ineffective channels to those that might produce better results for your company.

It is important to keep at least one backup of your database, if not more because you don’t want to lose this all important information. You might want to have it backed up on different computers as well as having a copy at an off-site location just to make sure the data is safe.

Those who want to market their product internationally will need to keep in mind that this might require different marketing materials and different marketing channels.

  • You will want to do a lot of research into your target market to figure out what methods and channels are most effective there.
  • You also want to look into the culture to make sure that you do your marketing in a culturally effective manner without offending anyone.

It might take some trial and error in order to figure out just which marketing channels will work out the best in each different place that you market your product.

Companies all over the world deliver products and/or services to end user clients – these customers by definition are located at the end of a marketing [distribution] channel.

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Whilst Small and Medium Enterprises and Large Corporates by definition will be using some form of distribution channel through which to deliver their products, services and messages – very often we see that they are all but doing more of the same. The recent intensive corporate training seminar that I wrote and ran for Marcus Evans Professional Training was focussed on Enhancing Channel Management Strategies to Maximise Sales Through Distributors. In essence companies face to major decision when it comes to dealing with their distribution channels :-

  • The Design of the Distribution Channel
  • The Management of the distribution Channel

… as we see that when new employees join an organisation they normally end up sitting with someone who knows how things operate within that company. They learn how things ‘have been done’ and are often judged and measured on how well they measure up to that which they have been taught. However when we look at some of the great business breakthroughs – take for example Dell migrating away from a …

  • Direct Only Distribution Channel

…. to that of one where customer can purchase their products via retail and even the television. We see that challenging the norm when it comes to dealing with distribution channels is the same as with everything else in life i.e…. Keep doing the same things and you will get the same results !!! As an Business Strategy Consultant I always aim to look if there is another way as well as looking at what is working and methods for improving on that. It is often said that one cannot change distribution channels easily or taking on new partners is fraught with danger as the existing partners will object, resist and damage the ongoing business relationship. It looks as though many companies are in fact modifying their distribution channel strategies as well as looking to manage exisiting partners and relationships more effectively. As you look to get more out of your business could it be that taking some time out to examine your current distribution channel makeup and management should be the very thing to concentrate on ?? Get in touch if you’d like some outside perspective to help you on your way in your business endeavours. Best, Stephen C Campbell [distribution channel management trainer]