In the past, the sales channels in many companies were rigidly based on the industries and divisions. Due to the development of the Internet, the use of social media and the associated changes in the customer journey, attempts are now being made to optimally adapt the sales channels to the various needs of customers. However, since there is usually not only one specific customer group, but different groups of people should be addressed, it is important to find the optimal sales channels for each product or service. This customer-oriented marketing and the right channel marketing can be planned in the best possible way based on market research and the precise analysis of the target groups and their buying and media behavior.
In general, there is no longer just one right way or place to sell and market a product or service, but many different sales channels. Digitalization and globalization are opening up more and more sales channels on which your own goods can be offered. The channels are the paths that the product takes from the manufacturer or brand to the end consumer. This can be done via a direct (online) shop or via sales and distribution partners (e.g. dealers). On the customer journey, the journey of the product to the customer, every touchpoint is important and can influence the final sale. Effective channel marketing therefore means finding partners who support the product's successful path to the customer and offer new ways to market or sell it (whether at the POS or on social media). The type of sales that channel marketing is based on is indirect sales. The goods are brought to and communicated to the customers via (independent) sales or distribution partners. Here, the manufacturer or the brand tries to gain awareness and to expand the general brand image through the partners. In order for this to succeed, the right partnerships for channel marketing must be developed and maintained. In general, different channels and marketing are not only relevant for large companies and brands, smaller manufacturers can also benefit from the various sales channels and increase their awareness.
These are measures of communication that are aimed at one's own partners. Above all, they help to maintain and build relationships with partners and to create a basis for successful end customer marketing.
With through-partner activities, the advertising content is supplied by the company, but the marketing is carried out entirely by the sales or sales partners. The partners * act as a mouthpiece for the brand.
In contrast, with-partner channel marketing works on a common marketing strategy. The brand and the dealers or partners advertise together, mostly under both names for the products and services.
In general, channel marketing and indirect sales offer the opportunity to better respond to the needs of customers and always use the right channels for marketing the various products and services. Local sales and distribution partners are particularly suitable here, as they are on site and close to the customer. This spatial proximity allows for more direct communication with customers and new trends and challenges on the customers' side are perceived directly and quickly. In this way, the partners develop a great deal of knowledge about the local target group, which is also important for the entire brand and the future planning of products and marketing measures. They know whether their customers are more likely to be found on the Internet or locally and which social media channels they use. In addition, channel marketing offers the opportunity to share and reduce costs through cooperation in marketing, whereby a win-win situation can be achieved for the company as well as the partners.
In general, however, the various channels and thus the partners should be selected carefully. Only a well-structured and planned partnership leads to greater success for both sides. When selecting potential partners, it is important to pay attention to the target group and expertise and to analyze the products, competitors and markets served. In addition to the diverse advantages, there are also challenges in channel marketing that must be mastered. Especially when working with smaller, local partners, it can happen that there is still little marketing know-how available on site. The partners usually do not have their own marketing department and the uniform implementation of marketing on different channels can turn out to be difficult. Smaller partners in particular are often more focused on sales and may need more support in planning and implementing marketing campaigns. It is also important to define uniform messages and goals in order to avoid possible conflicts between the intentions of the brand and the personal goals of the partner*.
In order to make the implementation of the marketing projects on the part of the partner* as well as the brand as easy as possible, it is advisable to select joint software support that spans the entire channel marketing. In particular, marketing portals, so-called Through Channel Marketing Automation Systems (TCMA for short), prevailed. Such a portal, usually as a software-as-a-service solution, offers the possibility of accessing marketing content, campaigns and guidelines from anywhere. In the marketing portal, the company offers its partners a wide variety of marketing channels and materials, which the partners can edit, adapt and order or publish directly using templates. Thus every partner*, even without marketing knowledge, has the chance to use the portal and to build up his personal marketing mix (online and offline) and to advertise along the company-wide marketing campaigns. This can be used to create both classic advertising media and campaigns for the internet or social media. Marketing portals also offer the opportunity to save guidelines for corporate design and digital assets such as images, videos or files and pass them on to the partners. Together with the possibility of improving communication and carrying out analyzes of marketing campaigns, such a portal offers a platform on which all channels can be viewed. Thus you can achieve the goals for channel marketing together with your partners.