Distribution channels are a good thing. Having a lot of them is essential to both sales and marketing. For sales, the reasoning should be obvious. If products have a limited avenue through which customers can acquire them – say, they can only get Fat Wallet stuff at a specific retail chain that has limited stalls – then it becomes hard to sell those products. For marketing, it can sometimes be a little less obvious.
Basically, the point of a marketing campaign is to spread the word and make people aware that something exists and can be purchased. Telling them about what it is and what it can do for them falls into this, of course. However, marketing materials also need to be “distributed.” After all, if the marketing materials aren’t visible in the places where the target market can see them, then it isn’t going to do its job.
There are a number of avenues that can be used, of course. The Internet is the newest of these marketing distribution channels, with opportunities to be found. Search engines and social networking are excellent tools for reaching out and interacting with existing customers, but they aren’t the only way to get the marketing out.
One of the most widespread distribution channels for marketing would be radio and TV. For a long time, radio was actually more widespread than TV and, in some ways, it still is. Most cars have radios and the idea of turning on the radio to listen to music hasn’t been completely phased out by custom playlists on people’s iPods yet. Both of these media have incredible reach, but are expensive. A simple 30-second spot on TV, aired during the primetime hours, can cost in the millions.
There are other traditional methods, including ads and materials printed out and distributed. Fliers and newspaper ads are among the oldest methods, don’t cost as much, and still do a good job of getting customers interested. Sure, phonebooks are starting to go the way of the dinosaur, but that doesn’t invalidate the use of other printed media.
Distribution channels are required by both marketing and sales. Sometimes, it might be a good idea to blend the two. Marketing a new product by bundling it with an existing popular product is an age-old strategy, particularly if the two are related. In some cases, using the existing product is a good way to market a new one, even if they’re not directly related to each other.