In its most basic form we can think of channel marketing as a path or route that connects companies to its target market end user customer. Marketing Channels may readily be defined as coming in two main forms – one form is to actually deliver the products and services into the hand of the purchaser, now as we just referred to some basic understandings of this topic – this is where things can being to get really complicated; especially when we consider the business fundamental of distribution channel marketing. In short this is where a company or manufacturer delegates the responsibility for the delivery of goods over to third party companies; we mentioned that things can complicated and this is what we refer to.
In some cases the length of the distribution channel can be very long [when we refer to distribution channel lengths we speak of the number of intermediary companies that sit in between the manufacturer and the end user] so if say there are seven  layers to be passed through before the purchaser is able to consume the goods then this within itself will [by definition] present the parent company with certain challenges, not just in terms of maintaining product quality but also in relation to making sure that the message of the brand that relates to the products and services remain strong by the time it passes through to the end of the chain. Before we move on, it is worth considering the last point – as there are a classification of company that along with delegating the transportation to intermediaries, the actual marketing collateral will be given to the third party partners and it will be their responsibility to promote awareness down through the distribution chain.
So without going into any more details in terms of channel marketing development using distribution channel partners [this includes value added resellers, wholesalers, retailers & others] this is a factor that needs to be considered for all businesses especially the small business owner who may not have the strength of brand equity that will serve to counteract any dilution of the marketing messages that may occur whilst passing through the various links of the marketing chain.
So we have spoken about the physical act of placing goods and services into the hands of the customer – we have done this in terms of distribution marketing in order to illustrate the point however the principles should be taken through and applied to the reader’s business development situation. One worthwhile exercise is to consider how many links there are in the chain in terms of delivering your company’s services and goods to your chosen target market segment [and here again I am making the assumption that structured processes have been adhered to in order to assist the organisation in adequately defining the profile of their ideal client] and ponder how well the brand is represented whilst being funneled through the distribution chain.
If the customer is in another country and we are dealing with physical goods then this specific aspect of marketing strategy development needs to be carefully examined and appropriate systems and processes put in place in order to deal with any negative impact that may be encountered and experienced both by the end user and the parent company. So this aspect of channel marketing of actually putting the service into the hand of the customer can be considered in multiple forms such as in the case of a life coach that delivers one on one sessions – if the client is in the same town then of course face to face meetings may be entirely possible, if in another country they internet technologies may be considered or; the strategic decision may be made to only deal with clients within a specific geographical location. These are all top level business fundamental decisions that should be considered and made at the outset.