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An Overview of Marketing Channels

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Marketing channels are business structures, extending from points of product origin to consumers, through which marketing professionals sell, transport, store, and deliver products and motivate, communicate, and provide services for customers.

The primary marketing objective of most marketers is to profitably provide their products and services for as many consumers or users as possible. A formal structure for sales and distribution is needed to achieve this task of moving products from fixed points of origin to millions of consumers. This structure is the marketing channel. There are two parts to it:
  1. The material distribution structure that moves a product from the manufacturer to the consumer or user
  2. The marketing structure that, as a part of the distribution channel, ensures the achievement of marketing bjectives
Activities in the Marketing Channel

The principal tasks of a marketing channel are:
  1.  Communicating
  2.  Selling
  3.  Shipping and storing
  4.  Providing products and customer service

Marketing communications include advertising, promotional literature, trade promotions, mail, telephone campaigns, product training, and any vehicle of marketing information. The communications loop in a marketing channel can include following up on complaints or billing for marketing communication. To be of value, all communications should be timely and accurate, for the success or failure of marketing channels depends upon the uninterrupted flow of information. Channel communications are two-way systems, with information flowing from the marketer to the consumer and back from the consumer.


The task of selling involves the act of transferring product titles from one channel member to another. This may require a series of intermediaries such as wholesalers, brokers, agents, and retailers before the final act of transferring the product to the consumer is completed. Though selling is one of the principal tasks of a marketing channel, it may be an independent function in the corporate structure and considered separate from marketing. However, the transfer of titles remains a part of marketing-channel management regardless of the sales people or marketing people handling the responsibilities.

Shipping and Storing

The choice of intermediaries depends on their abilities to collect, stockpile, and distribute products. Physical distribution can be performed by facilitating agencies, such as public warehouses and freight carriers, at one or more levels in the channel of distribution. Shipping and storing products takes place at every level of the channel before the products reach users.

Customer Services

The role customer services plays can vary from product to product or from one business organization to another. Customer services include the tasks performed to inform, teach, comply with legal requirements, and provide facilitating services. Direct product services and technical advice can also be counted as customer services. Some companies consider customer services to be a part of the product itself.

A marketing channel is much more than a simple conduit for consumer goods; it includes every facet of a business. From communicating a product’s concept to providing guarantees of the product’s value or usefulness to consumers, the marketing channel is the backbone of marketing activities.
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Popular tags:

 manufacturing  shipping  customers  consumers  structures  communication  brokers  advertising  channels  corporate structures

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