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Marketing Channels & Distribution. The Importance of Marketing Channels. Intermediaries make distribution and selling processes more efficient. Intermediaries offers supply chain partners more than they could achieve on their own. Market Exposure Technical Knowledge/Information Sharing

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The Importance of Marketing Channels

  • Intermediaries make distribution and selling processes more efficient.

  • Intermediaries offers supply chain partners more than they could achieve on their own.

    • Market Exposure

    • Technical Knowledge/Information Sharing

    • Operational Specialization

    • Scale of operation



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Matching Needs with Products

Physical distribution & Logistics

Financing

Risk taking

Other Key Channel Functions



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Channel Cooperation & Conflict

  • Channels are most effective when:

    • Each member performs the tasks it does best.

    • Channel members cooperate to attain overall channel goals.

  • Channel Conflict

    • Horizontal Conflict: conflict among firms at the same level of the channel (e.g., retailer to retailer).

      • Example: Two retailers compete to carry a supplier’s “exclusive” product.

    • Vertical Conflict: conflict between different levels of the same channel (e.g., wholesaler to retailer).

      • Example: Manufacturer competes with retailer in selling product to target market.

  • Some conflict can be healthy competition.


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Channel Conflict: Goodyear

Goodyear’s conflicts with its independent dealers have decimated the firm’s replacement tire sales.


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Branded goods using the Wolfgang Puck, T.G. I. Friday’s, Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Look at the items at right. Which stands the greatest risk of causing channel conflict? Why?

Channel Conflict Example

Copyright 2007, Prentice-Hall Inc.


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Vertical Marketing System Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • When producers, wholesalers, and retailers act as a unified system.

  • Can happen through

    • Outright ownership of channel member

    • Contracts

    • “Channel power”


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Franchise Organizations Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Powerful force in U.S. Retail (40%+ of all sales)

  • Franchise Structures

  • Compensation Arrangements

  • Advantages

    • Brand Name Recognition

    • Standardized Processes and Procedures

    • Avoids startup hassles – safer bet

    • Quick access to capital and huge expansion potential

  • Disadvantages

    • Over-saturation and territorial issues

    • Marketing fund disputes

    • Quality (vs. Company-owned)

    • Little room for “entrepreneurial creativity”


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Channel Innovations Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Horizontal Marketing System

    • Two or more companies at one channel level join together to achieve a marketing goal.

      • Joint Ventures

      • Alliances and Partnerships

      • Co-Marketing, Co-Distribution and Co-Branding

  • Multichannel Distribution System

    • Reaching customer segments through multiple marketing channels. (i.e. hybrid system)

      • Example: You can buy Starbucks coffee from Starbucks’ stores or from the Supermarket

      • Problems with MDSs?


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Disintermediation Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Occurs when producers sidestep intermediaries and sell directly to final buyers, or when radically new types of channel intermediaries displace traditional ones.

The Internet has made the disintermediation of many traditional retailers possible.


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Disintermediation Example Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Calyx & Corolla sells fresh flowers and plants direct to consumers over the phone and via the Web, drastically reducing the time it takes flowers to reach consumers via conventional retail channels.


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(Non-) Disintermediation Example Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Black & Decker chose to avoid disintermediation by not using the Internet to sell their products. Instead B&D directs consumers to stores that carry its products.


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Outsourcing Distribution Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Company sales force vs. Manufacturer’s Rep

    • Company sales force

      • Employed directly by the firm in outside or inside sales capacity.

    • Manufacturer’s agency/representative

      • Independent firms whose sales people handle several companies’ products simultaneously

        Primarily a question of size and life cycle stage.


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Distribution Strategy Alternatives Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • How many intermediaries?

    • Intensive distribution

      • Stock product in as many outlets as possible.

    • Exclusive distribution

      • Granting a limited number of outlets the exclusive right to sell product.

    • Selective distribution

      • Somewhere in between Intensive and Exclusive Distribution.

        Does the company always get to choose?


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Selective Distribution Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Maytag uses selective distribution like many furniture and appliance manufacturers.

The “Where to Buy” page on their Web site assists buyers in finding stores that carry the Maytag brand.


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International Channel Decisions Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Every country has its own unique distribution system that has evolved over time.

  • Examples

    • Japan:

      • complex, multi-layered distribution systems

      • hard for Western firms to penetrate.

    • India and China:

      • inefficient distribution systems despite their enormous size.

      • “separate countries” within a country

      • Poorer but improving transportation infrastructures


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Public Policy and Distribution Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Exclusive distribution & dealing (“upstream” or “downstream”)

  • Exclusive territorial agreements (franchising)

  • Tying agreements (illegal)

If Xerox required every business who bought or leased their copiers to also buy their brand of paper, it would be a tying agreement.


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Marketing Logistics Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Definition: The physical flow of goods, services, and related information from points of origin to points of consumption.

  • Includes:

    • Inbound distribution

    • Outbound distribution

    • Reverse distribution


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Inventory Management Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Must strike a balance between

    • too much and too little inventory

    • buffers and shortages

    • carrying costs and ordering/setup costs

  • Just-in-time inventory systems

  • RFID or Smart Tag technology

RFID technology promises to automate the entire distribution chain, resulting in significant cost savings.


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RFID – The Wave of the Future? Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Key benefits

  • fewer stock-outs

  • reduced logistics labor costs

  • more accurate inventory information

  • more efficient flow of goods

  • happier customers

    Retailers may soon mandate supplier use of RFID.


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Transportation Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

  • Trucks

  • Railroads

  • Ships

  • Pipelines

  • Air

  • Internet

  • Intermodal transportation


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Intermodal Transportation Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Intermodal transportation combines two or more modes of transportation. Fishyback = water and trucks; Piggyback = trucks and rail; Trainship = water and rail; Airship = air and water.


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Third-Party Logistics Taco Bell, Emeril’s, and Starbuck’s names are now being sold in grocery stores.

Most small and medium size companies outsource transportation to UPS or other logistics providers.


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