A marketing channel is described as the set of people, organizations, and activities that work together to transfer goods (products and services) from the point of origin to the point of consumption. The primary purpose of a marketing channel is to create a connection between the organization that creates a product or service and prospective customers who may want to purchase it.
For physical products, there are four basic types of marketing channels:
Direct selling, where products are marketed and sold directly to consumers without a fixed retail location
Selling through intermediaries, where products are manufactured at the point of origin and sold to customers by downstream intermediaries such as agents, brokers, wholesalers and retail stores
Dual distribution, where manufacturers combine multiple types of channels to sell products to the end-user. This could mean that the manufacturer sells directly to customers and also does business with wholesalers and retailers who sell to customers through their own distribution networks
Reverse marketing, where products move from the customer back to the manufacturer. Typical cases of reverse marketing include recycling and product recalls
Businesses that engage in digital marketing campaigns are executing a special type of direct selling campaign that may leverage many different types of channels to effectively market to prospects, nurture them through the sales funnel and drive sales growth and revenue target attainment.
Why are Marketing Channels Important?
As an organization prepares to bring a specific product or service to market, it must develop and define the appropriate marketing mix that will be used to promote its product in the marketplace. An effective marketing mix must account for the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
The first element of the marketing mix is the product itself. To succeed, a business must develop a product that customers want to purchase because it satisfies their needs and offers features that they want. It should be designed to deliver greater customer experience and effectively differentiated from competing brands with value-added features.
The second element is pricing. The organization must offer the product at a price that can be justified by the value of the product. Pricing should be competitive with similar products in the marketplace while accounting for differentiating factors and the value that prospective buyers might attach to them.
When it comes to the final two elements, place and promotion, understanding marketing channels is crucial.
To satisfy the third marketing mix element, place, an organization must understand where buyers are looking for their products and work to make their products available at these locations. For many technology companies, customers will seek out their products either online (direct-selling) or from a retailer (selling through intermediaries).
The final element of the marketing mix, promotion, deals with the identification of the best channels where an organization can best distribute messaging about its product to a target audience. Promotion is especially important for organizations that do direct selling, as they don’t depend on retailers or wholesalers to drive sales on their behalf. Organizations that sell their products online must identify the digital marketing channels that offer the best ROI for marketing dollars.
The overall ROI for any individual marketing channel may tend to diminish over time, as users begin to tune out or ignore advertisements that they see all the time. In addition to identifying optimal channels for generating marketing ROI, organizations should continuously test new marketing channels while leveraging marketing automation to avoid sending repetitive messages to the same prospects.
5 Digital Marketing Channels for Promoting Your Product
If you sell or market a digital product online, chances are that you’re working in the “direct selling” model of marketing channels. If your product can be distributed through the internet, there is no need to build a distribution network of agents and retailers that can connect customers to your product. Rather, your focus should be on effectively promoting your product and driving sales through the appropriate digital channels. Below, we list some of the most popular digital marketing channels that you should consider for your next marketing campaign.
Website & Blogs
If you are engaged in online direct selling, your company website will most likely act as the main distribution channel for your product or service. This is where your bottom-of-the-funnel prospects will come to request a demo or purchase your product directly. While your website acts as a primary distribution channel for your product, it can also be a promotional tool. Marketing automation tools can be used to deliver customized landing pages and sales copy depending on where a visitor originates, the information you have collected about them and whether they fit a buyer persona you have previously defined.
Search engines are one of the most valuable marketing channels for promoting your business. In fact, there is an entire marketing discipline called search engine optimization (SEO) that focuses on implementing techniques to help your website rank more highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). A high search ranking can indicate your legitimacy and authority as an organization and generate organic traffic with substantial ROI.
91% of American internet users have an email account, making this one of the best marketing channels for communicating directly with prospects. Email marketing can also be automated and customized to deliver targeted content based on your history of interactions with each prospect. Prospective customers can opt-in to your mailing list by subscribing on your website or filling out an e-mail submission form in exchange for exclusive access to some content or information.
Social media is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels for brands that wish to stay at the top-of-mind of prospective customers by providing interesting and informative content that drives engagement. Social media also facilitates two-way interaction between your brand and your prospects, allowing you to participate in conversations about your niche and position yourself as an authority.
Content marketing is all about producing informative and interesting material that helps your customers solve their problems while positioning yourself as an authority. This type of content can be posted on your website, used to make weekly updates to your blog, or distributed through other channels (social sharing websites, social media, etc.). Promotional videos marketed through platforms like YouTube are also a possible means of promoting your brand or product.
Target the Right Marketing Channels with Directive Consulting
At Directive Consulting, we’re experts at developing ideal customer profiles and targeting the right customers through digital channels to generate more leads and opportunities for your sales team. We use closed-loop marketing techniques along with advanced analytics to identify the most profitable marketing channels for your product, accounting for factors like customer acquisition costs and customer lifelong value.
By optimizing marketing spend and targeting the most profitable marketing channels, we’ve helped our customers grow their lead volume and achieve revenue targets while increasing marketing efficiency. Request a custom proposal and we’ll show you exactly how Directive Consulting can help your business do the same.
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