Marketing Channels

by | Jul 13, 2022 | General Business

Marketing Channels

In this article, we’ll get to debate marketing channels, the various forms of Marketing Channels, the importance of selling channels,

What are Marketing Channels?

Marketing Channels are tools and platforms you use to speak with a target market. Marketing Channels are a set of individuals, organizations and activities that job together to transfer goods and services from the purpose of origin to the purpose of consumption. The first purpose of a marketing channel is to connect the organization that makes a product or service and prospective customers who might want to get it.

Types of Marketing Channels

For physical products, there are four primary forms of marketing channels:

  1. Direct selling: Occurs when products reach consumers through marketing or sales without a set retail location
  1. Selling through intermediaries: where products are manufactured at the purpose of origin and sold to customers by downstream intermediaries like agents, brokers, wholesalers, and retail stores.
  1. Dual distribution: manufacturers combine multiple channels to sell products to the end-user. Meaning that the manufacturer sells to customers and does business with wholesalers and retailers who sell to customers through their distribution networks
  2. Reverse marketing: products move from the customer back to the manufacturer. Typical cases of reverse marketing include recycling and development recall.

Why are Marketing Channels Important?

As a company prepares to bring a particular product or service to promote, it must develop and define the appropriate marketing mix that would boost its product and services within the marketplace. A good 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, businesses must develop a product that customers want to get because it satisfies their needs and offers features that they require. It should deliver a more significant customer experience and effectively differentiate from competing brands with value-added features.

The second element is pricing. The organization must offer the merchandise at a price that the worth of the merchandise may justify. Pricing should be competitive with similar products within the marketplace while accounting for differentiating factors and the value prospective buyers might attach to them.

Understanding marketing channels is crucial when it involves the ultimate two elements, place and promotion.

The third Marketing Mix Element

To satisfy the third marketing mix element, place, a corporation must understand where buyers are searching for their products and work to form their products available at these locations. For several technology companies, customers will hunt down their products online (direct selling) or from a retailer (selling through intermediaries).

The final element of the marketing mix, promotion, deals with identifying the most effective channels where a company can best distribute messaging about its product to an audience. Advertising is essential for organizations to direct selling organizations, as they don’t depend upon retailers or wholesalers to drive sales on their behalf. Organizations that sell their products online must identify the digital marketing channels that provide the most effective ROI for marketing dollars.

The overall ROI for a personal marketing channel may diminish over time as users begin to tune out or ignore advertisements they see all the time. Additionally, to identify optimal channels for generating marketing ROI, organizations should continuously test new marketing channels while leveraging marketing automation to avoid sending repetitive messages to identical prospects.

5 Digital Marketing Channels for Promoting Your Product

If you sell or market a digital product online, the likelihood is that you’re working within the “direct selling” model of promoting channels. Should your products be distributed through the net, there’s no need to build a distribution network of agents and retailers that will connect customers to your product. Instead, your focus should effectively promote your product and drive sales through suitable digital channels. Below, we list some of the main popular digital marketing channels you should consider for your next marketing campaign.

Website & Blogs:

If you’re engaged in online direct selling, your company website will presumably act because of the direct marketing for your product or service. 

This can be where your bottom-of-the-funnel prospects will come to request a demo or purchase your product directly. While your website is direct marketing for your product, it may also be a promotional tool. Marketing automation tools will be accustomed to delivering customized landing pages and sales copy, reckoning where a visitor originates, the knowledge you have collected about them and whether they fit a buyer persona you’ve previously defined.

Search Engines:

Search engines are among the foremost valuable marketing channels for promoting your business. The complete marketing discipline called programme optimization (SEO) focuses on implementing techniques to assist your website rank more highly on program results pages (SERPs). A high search ranking can indicate your legitimacy and authority as a corporation and generate organic traffic with substantial ROI.

Email Marketing:

Email Marketing is one of the most direct marketing channels for communicating directly with prospects. Some automation and customization are possible with Email marketing to deliver targeted content supported by your history of interactions with prospects. Prospective customers can opt-in to your listing by subscribing to your website or filling out an email submission form in exchange for exclusive access to some content or information.

Social Media:

Looking at cost-effectiveness, Social media channels in marketing are the go-to solution for brands that strive to remain at the top of mind of prospective customers by providing exciting and informative content that drives engagement. Social media also facilitates two-way interaction between your brand and prospects, allowing you to participate in conversations about your niche and position yourself as an authority.

Content Marketing:

Content marketing is about producing informative and interesting material that helps your customers solve their problems while positioning yourself as an authority. This sort of content is posted on your website, wont 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 a possible means of promoting your brand or product.

4 Foreign Marketing Distributors

While domestic distributors sell goods within the US, foreign distributors concentrate on sales overseas. There are various benefits of employing a foreign distributor, including the chance to access new customer bases worldwide. Additionally, foreign distributors handle customs formalities and paperwork, leaving you longer to target operations.

Despite these benefits, employing a foreign distributor isn’t without its drawbacks. Typically, businesses should conform to sell to the distributor at a deep discount. As a result, this sales channel might not be ideal for low-price products or those with a limited audience.

Affiliate Sales:

Affiliates are individuals or companies that sell goods on other businesses’ behalf. In exchange for or her services, affiliates receive commissions on sales. While affiliates help companies to reach more significant and more varied customer bases, they incline to charge high commissions for their services.

Moreover, some affiliates participate in fraudulent practices like false advertising. Evaluate any potential mate before choosing them to sell your product. The final thing you would like is for patrons to carry you accountable for the deceitful actions of an affiliate marketer.

Outsourced Sales:

It’s no secret that many small business owners are strapped for time. In addition to that in mind, a variety of companies like better to outsource their sales must include other businesses instead of handling them in-house.

One of the advantages of this sales channel is its flexibility. Companies can prefer to outsource a specific aspect of the sales process, like lead nurturing or supporting a selected event or product launch. Still, businesses should keep the drawbacks in mind before going this route. Outsourcing is expensive, and companies tend to lack control when executing their sales strategies.

Value-Added Resellers (VARs):

Most common within the tech industry, value-added resellers (VARs) purchase a company’s products and then alter or otherwise enhance them before reselling them to customers. A decent example could be a computer manufacturer, like Apple or Dell, each purchasing processors from Intel to manufacture its respective computer.

Because VARs often perform technical tasks that may be beyond a customer’s capability, they’ll open new audience bases for your products. Some VARs, however, often deny companies access to their customers’ info. Additionally, companies may find themselves addressing channel conflict issues if they work with multiple resellers.


Considered old-fashioned by some business owners, catalogues are still efficient thanks to targeting specific markets for physical products. Not only do catalogues offer a pretty, tactile alternative for patrons to look at products, but they also allow you to entice more traditionally minded buyers as people who can’t or won’t visit your storefront personally.

Still, going the catalogue sales route isn’t without some pitfalls. For one, many catalogues require that you sell them products at a heavily discounted rate. Further, its catalogues do not often charge additional fees for advertising or product photography. Before pursuing a catalogue listing, businesses should confirm that the ultimate cost of being featured is cost-effective.

When choosing a sales channel, there are multiple factors to stay in mind. Not only must one assess how your competitors are selling their products, but one ought to also consider the prices of those various methods and customer preferences. Once you identify the perfect sales channel(s) for your business’ needs, you’ll be able to add any complementary marketing efforts and watch your products fly off the shelves.

Channels of Distribution

Channels of Distribution or marketing are defined because of the path the excellent or service takes once they move from the manufacturer to the top consumers. The movement of the products implies the physical distribution or the transfer of ownership.

It is the network of intermediaries like wholesalers, retailers, distributors, agents, Etc., who perform various interrelated and coordinated functions within the flow of products from their source to their destination. Additionally, it creates utility of your time, place, form, and possession of the merchandise by the short and efficient performance of the function of physical distribution.

Have you ever wondered why product manufacturing units of various companies are founded at a selected location only, but the consumers of that product are everywhere worldwide? How are these goods distributed to the people residing in a distant place where the manufacturing unit is located? The distribution channels act as an intermediary to create the products available to the intended consumer.

Further on Channels of Distribution:

Definition: The word ‘distribution’ means allocating something to its recipients. Hence, the term ‘channels of distribution refers to the assorted mediums used for the aim of distribution.

Marketing channels are defined because of the path the excellent or service takes after they move from manufacturer to tip consumers. The movement of the products implies the physical distribution or the transfer of ownership.

It is the network of intermediaries like wholesalers, retailers, distributors, agents, Etc., who perform various interrelated and coordinated functions within the flow of products from their source to their destination. Additionally, it creates utility of your time, place, form, and possession of the merchandise by the short and efficient performance of the function of physical distribution.

Have you ever wondered if the product manufacturing units of various companies are only founded at a specific location? Still, the consumers of that product are everywhere across the globe, so how are these goods available to the people residing in an exceeding place distant from where the manufacturing unit is located? The distribution channels act as an intermediary to create the products available to the intended consumer.

Types of Channels of Distribution

Channels of Distribution imply the means through which the service must pass to succeed in the intended consumer; supported by the number of intermediaries involved, the distribution channel may be short or long. Further, it’s a good impact on the company’s sales because the higher the supply of the products, the more its sales.

Depending on the sort of merchandise, i.e. goods or services, the businesses employ different marketing channels.

There are three main styles of channels of distribution. They include:

Direct Channel:

Before reaching the consumers’ hands, goods and services submit to various indicators. However, there are certain instances when the producer sells goods to their customer; such a channel is considered an on-the-spot channel.

Hence, no middlemen exist in the case of direct channels. And to try to do so, the corporate can supply the merchandise to the customer via their online outlet or salesman at the customer’s doorstep and arrange their delivery system. It’s also called a Zero Level Channel. Example: Consultancy firms, Passenger and freight transport services, banks, Etc.

Indirect Channel:

When the producer produces goods on an outsized scale, it’s challenging to create direct selling of the products to the shoppers. In this way, intermediaries inherit the image to confirm the provision of the products to its customers. It should include wholesalers and retailers. So, we can say that when a bunch of intermediaries is involved within the distribution process, it amounts to the indirect distribution channel.

  • One Level Channel: There is only one middleman (wholesaler or retailer) involved.
  • Two Level Channel: Two middlemen (wholesaler and retailer) are involved.
  • Three Level Channel: Together with wholesalers and retailers, the mercantile agent is also.

Hence, the producer deals with a mercantile agent, and then the wholesaler buys goods from that agent and sells them to retailers, who sell them to its ultimate consumer.

Hybrid Channels:

The combination of the direct and indirect channels is named the hybrid distribution channel. When the manufacturer uses over one channel to achieve the ultimate consumer, it’s said to be using the hybrid channel.

Hybrid channels attract more consumers and facilitate more sales. Suppose a manufacturer owns their retail outlet and simultaneously offers goods to customers via e-commerce platforms or other retailers.

List of Digital Channels of Distribution

A digital channel may be a marketing channel, a part of a distribution strategy, helping a company to succeed in its potential customers via electronic means. Digital marketing channels are divided into organic and paid channels.

Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, and email marketing, while paid channels are SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Companies must leverage digital channels to succeed in their potential customers to build a successful distribution strategy.

Whether an organization sells a physical or digital product, digital marketing channels will be an implausible source of continuous growth for the business, thus enabling it to make a viable business model.

However, each channel type would force an understanding of the underlying platform, the variety of incentives created for users on those platforms, and how users interact.

Organic vs paid

The first distinction is between organic vs paid channels. Organic channels are people who don’t require purchase attention. That doesn’t mean organic channels are less costly. Indeed, some way to grow organically is thru content development.

Producing great content is often quite expansive. Therefore, organic implies you’ll gain visibility and interest from potential customers without paying a third-party platform to be featured.

An example is SEO, or computer programme optimization, where a platform like Google ranks your content because it perceives it as prime quality. Thus, enabling users to induce you continuously through that content.

A paid channel requires a budget to enable a third-party platform to feature that content to users. When the budget dries up, the content will run out of visibility. An example is programme marketing (SEM). You pay Google on a pay-per-click basis to feature your content on top of its listings.

Direct vs indirect

A direct digital marketing channel enables potential customers to urge you without intermediaries. One example is those that type your website name directly on their browser, thus coming to your site.

An indirect channel example is someone finds you thru a social media post, which gets featured by Facebook’s algorithms on the users’ feed. If Facebook pushes down the reach of that very same post, none will find you anymore.

In the former case, potential customers get direct access to your brand. Within the latter, users get to grasp you via a third-party platform.

Digital marketing channels

Let’s look now at several the key digital marketing channels:


Potential customers get on to your product through a direct digital marketing channel. Some examples include:

  • Customer base: an existing set of shoppers with whom you’ve directly contacted.
  • Email list: an inventory of contacts built over the years that you’ll contact directly.
  • Website direct traffic: a little of website traffic comes from people directly young (or having your site saved as a favourite), thus bypassing search engines.
  • Push notifications: in some instances, websites also collect contacts by enabling push notifications. When content is out, it’ll reach those contacts directly.


Referrals are channels accustomed bring visibility to your business beyond search or social media. Some examples include:

  • Affiliate partners’ websites: you’ll be able to incentivize other websites and partners to bring traffic or conversions back to your business by structuring partnerships or revenue shares.
  • PR campaigns: You’ll gain traffic if a media website features your product.
  • Backlinks: if your content is excellent, other websites might link to that, thus bringing in traffic.

Search Engine Optimization:

SEO hacking could be a quick experimentation process aiming to grow the organic traffic of web properties efficiently. Where traditional SEO strategies look at gradual growth, SEO hacking finds unconventional ways to gain traction quickly. That’s a process compatible with tiny web properties and start-ups looking to proportion organic traffic against large media outlets.

Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo, still have an oversized portion of their listings supported organic results (websites featured without paying on a performance basis).

This is at the core of computer programme optimization activities.


Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo make money via advertising revenues. Thus, companies pay them to feature on top of their search results (other factors affect paid rankings).

A search engine marketing strategy looks at sponsoring your content by paying on a performance basis.

Platforms like Google Ads help in addition to that.


In social media optimization, companies curate their pages and content on social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat) to realize organic (unpaid) visibility by building a loyal audience over time.


The social media platforms we saw above primarily make money via paid advertising. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have built advanced advertising platform which gives companies the power to segment their audiences in some ways.

How does one decide the right digital distribution mix?

Distribution is one of the key elements to making a viable business model. Indeed, distribution enables a product to be available to a possible customer base; it will be direct or indirect, and it can leverage several channels for growth. Finding the correct distribution mix also means balancing between owned and non-owned channels.

One way to balance and make a correct distribution mix for your company is to look at two factors:


How briskly can the marketing you’re using grow? In brief, is it a multiplicative channel? Or is it additive? as an example if you’re adding customers. Still, they’re going not to reference your service or have the power to speak to other potential customers; the channel you’re using is additive.

Instead, the channel is potentially multiplicative if there’s a viral component where existing users and customers can talk easily to every other.

For instance, if you’re selling your service one-to-one, that won’t scale, as before you gain other customers through word of mouth, it’ll require years. That doesn’t mean you must not try this. As we’ll see at the end of this paragraph, initially, it makes perfect sense to use this approach.


Does one own that channel? One example is if you built your success on top of a platform; if that platform changes its foundations, your distribution has gone the following day, whether it took years to make.

For instance, if you get traffic from Google and you gain rankings. A change within the algorithms might affect your whole digital presence. The same applies to other platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon. It takes once for them to vary the principles, which might impact your whole distribution strategy.

For the sake of building a successful distribution strategy, then, within the short-term, if you’re ranging from scratch, it is sensible to be more aggressive in pursuing potential customers, thus also hoping on channels that initially don’t scale (one-on-one sales) which you are doing not control (SEO, SMO).

Yet over time, this mix pushes toward building alternative partnerships, distribution channels, and scaling the customer base, which can be your direct contact, and other direct channels.