CHANNEL MANAGEMENT: Meaning, Examples & Why It Is Important

Channel Manager
Photo Credit: eZee Absolute

In order to reach consumers, generate sales, and minimize marketing and distribution costs, companies require efficient channel management methods. Customers are more likely to buy your products if they are promoted and provided in a way that provides solutions to their needs, maximizes your return on investment, and creates beneficial partnerships with third parties. Hence, understanding channel management may help you determine the best management strategy for your firm. To help you better manage your business’s distribution channels, we’ve outlined the many sorts of channel management strategies available to you, with an example of tools for effective YouTube marketing in this post.

What Is Channel Management in Marketing?

Channel management is a marketing and sales strategy that firms employ to reach their target audience, promote and distribute their products, and generate leads with the purpose of satisfying customers.

It’s a branch of advertising, and most businesses use this channel management to publicize marketing campaigns through platforms like YouTube, TV commercials, social and digital media advertisements, radio programs, and print media, such as newspapers and magazines. These mediums become a base where companies can promote their products and services to their target market.

There are two types of channels that every business owner should know about. One might not necessarily need to use both channels, but it’s just important to know because, as they say (paraphrasing), learning never hurts anyone. 

Let’s look at the three main types of channels and know what they are. 

Types of Channels

  • Direct channels
  • Indirect channels
  • Hybrid channels

Let’s elaborate on them.

#1. Direct Channels

The manufacturer is in charge of organizing and establishing a direct channel. As a result, they are more costly to set up because of the high initial outlay.

You may create a long-term relationship with your customers through direct selling, especially if you’re supplying an art form. 

The advantage this type of channel has is that, firstly, it’s the quickest and easiest way to get your message out there. Secondly, profit margins are larger when there are no middlemen involved. And thirdly, it allows brands to better manage consumer experience.

 So while it can be all nice and beneficial, it also comes with its disadvantage, which is that, as a small business, you’re up against huge networks of wholesale stores and retail outlets. This means you also need to up your game as well. 

#2. Indirect Channels

In this case, middlemen rather than direct vendors are responsible for disseminating the goods.

You can sell more things through indirect channels, but you’ll pay a fee to the middlemen, which raises the price.

#3. Hybrid Channels

Hybrid channels, as the term implies, combine direct and indirect communication methods. Distributors are an excellent example of this. Even if the company has partnered with other parties, it still retains control over the consumer experience.

Purpose of Channel Management in Marketing 

Generally, every company or person in business wants to sell and keep selling. The reason is to make and to keep making profits. Isn’t that why anybody considers business above anything else? However, making or providing the best product or service is not enough. You will need people to know how good your product and service are, and you will also want them to buy. 

So what most companies look out for is a means or strategy by which they can reach and promote to the right people (a target market). You obviously can’t buy all of your products, and even if all your friends and family were to buy them, you would definitely need more sales, because, of course, sales are the only way you earn. Hence, you can never do without marketing, and that’s where a marketing channel comes in.

The good thing about marketing these days is that the online space has made it easy and faster. One can see your ads from countries away from where you are. So you may want to utilize the benefits that technology brings to build awareness, promote your product, and generate traffic that may lead to sales.

Here is what you can do: 

You have the option of partnering with an online marketplace or opening your own online store. Regardless of the method you use, you’ll be able to reach your target audience. By working with the proper channel partners, you may increase the number of potential consumers who may become actual customers in the long run. That’s why channel partners are so important. Hence, it is a priority for channel managers.

Importance of Channel Management Marketing

Connecting with clients, assisting third parties, and overseeing vendors are all made easier with channel management. 

Again, planning carefully and keeping track of how your various channels contribute to the achievement of your company’s goals is a crucial part of effective channel management. 

More so, a well-managed channel helps organizations offer the items their consumers desire, at the right time and in a cost-effective manner, while nurturing great connections with their partners. 

If you have a firm with a lot of channels, channel management might get a little more difficult, but it’s crucial to your business marketing strategy and achieving your target audience.

Intermediaries in Channel Management 

Customers can access a product through channel intermediaries, who are groups and people who make it possible for them to do so. This is done so that businesses do not need to control all of their supply chains. The numerous sorts of intermediaries hired by businesses are listed below.

  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors
  • Agents and brokers

#1. Wholesalers 

A company’s products are often bought by wholesalers who sell them to other middlemen. They believe in buying in bulk in order to save money and then reselling it at a higher price in order to profit.

#2. Distributors

A product is given to a distributor. They keep it in storage and sell it to other intermediaries at a higher cost. 

#3. Agents/Brokers

It is the role of an agent or broker to serve as a representative of the firm. As a result, they are paid a commission to sell the items to customers. A broker’s engagement with a corporation is short-term, but an agent is long-term.

Types of Channel Management With an Example Each

Each type or example of channel management deals with a distinct aspect of channel growth and management. Here are a few of the most frequent channel management types with an example.

#1. Channel Strategy

Your channel strategy is a roadmap for establishing channels. Both your current and potential customers’ demands are taken into consideration when putting together this plan. An example of this would be a channel strategy outlining the measures you intend to take to boost your digital marketing reach. Another example of this type of channel management may be to create a collaboration scheme that boosts the value for your distributors.

#2. Channel Architecture

You may think of channel architecture as the skeleton around which your various channels are formed. To put it another way, it’s the structure of your business’s distribution network. It includes the methods or structures your company employs to distribute your items from the manufacturer to your customers.

An example of this channel architecture management is:

Manufacturer/producer → wholesaler → retailer → customer

#3. Sales Management 

Managing your sales and partners is the goal of your sales management strategy. Planning incentives to boost customer experience and increase sales is an example of this type of channel management. This also entails assessing the effectiveness of a process’ outputs in accordance with your intended aim and objectives.

#4. Channel Design

Adding new channels to an existing system is a consideration while designing a channel. A business can use an affiliate program to attract specific types of businesses and individuals into marketing or reselling their items on their behalf.

# 5. Planning for Sales and Operations

Product and service offerings are matched with demand using this strategy. For example, if the firm sells a product that is very desirable at a particular season of the year, then they may be able to boost their sales output throughout that season on their online and retail channels.

#6. Channel Conflict

Channel conflict happens when two of your affiliates compete against each other in an unfair or counterproductive manner. For example, your e-commerce sites may be undercutting physical retailers’ earnings by selling your products online, which can be seen as a conflict in your channel management system by physical retailers. Conflict can damage your reputation and your relationships with partners, so it’s critical to plan ahead and avoid it as much as possible.

In the event of a conflict, reevaluate your channel design and strategy to find the root cause and make any adjustments. You may also have to engage in some negotiation to design a strategy that better serves the needs of all parties involved.

#7. Pricing

Pricing can be used as a channel management tactic by businesses. For this strategy to work, firms need to think about where and how people shop for their products. The price businesses set can be influenced based on where and how the customers buy, since different clients buying through different channels are willing to pay various rates. An example of this channel management is when a company decides to market and sell a product as a luxury item, it may charge a higher price to a retailer in a high-income neighborhood because clients in those neighborhoods are more willing to pay a higher price.

#8. Brand Experience 

Businesses must have a well-defined brand experience strategy in order to maintain a consistent brand voice across a wide range of platforms. In order for the general public to have a positive impression of a company, its brand must be established. If the company’s values are communicated consistently to its target customers, they may be more likely to be involved in the company’s products and services.

An example of this type of channel management could be that a beauty product manufacturer highlights how their products boost customers’ courage. When selling online vs. in-person, the company may employ different strategies to convey this message. Since internet distributors rarely connect directly with clients, the business may use more graphic ads showing people feeling courageous using their products. In-store salespeople may be trained to give free samples and use affirming words to enhance client confidence.

#9. Revenue Management

In order to manage revenue, you must employ strategies that maximize the amount of money you make from the inventory you have on hand. Discounting seasonal items at the end of the season encourages sales, reduces the inventory of less-in-demand products, and increases the inventory of more-in-demand products that you can offer at full price. Profits can be maximized from the available inventory by employing this method.

#10. Distribution

A store may discount swimming suits at summer’s end. As a result, these discounts may attract buyers to buy the remaining bathing suits. 

#11. Relationship Management 

Managing and creating relationships with affiliates, vendors, and other parties over the course of time is an essential part of relationship management.

Process of Channel Management

There are five stages to the channel management process. They are the following:

#1. Analyze the Consumer 

Two questions set the stage for the rest of the channel management process. First, is there anyone that needs these goods right away? Second, who are our customers and main users? We have to be careful not to confuse our immediate and long-term customers. In all scenarios, the same fundamental issues arise: Knowing what the client needs, where they buy from, when they buy, why they buy from certain outlets, and how the customer buys are all important factors to take into consideration. The kind of wholesaler or retailer via which a product should be marketed can be determined by the channel planner once the buying characteristics of the consumer have been identified.

#2. Determine the Channel Objectives

Once the customer’s wants are known, the marketer can determine what the channel’s goals should be. Customers’ needs, marketing strategies, and corporate goals all factor into setting channel goals. 

There is a wide variety of channel goals, as one could imagine. The major categories can be broken down into the following subsets:

  • Sales growth from new and/or existing markets.
  • Market share maintenance and expansion.
  • Time, place, and form distribution
  • Creating an efficient channel reduces expenses and boosts earnings.

#3. Specify Distribution Tasks

Once the distribution objectives are determined, determine the specific distribution tasks (functions) for that channel system. The channel manager must be explicit when explaining the tasks and how they’ll evolve. For example, a producer may outline the following tasks to reach the target market profitably:

  • Ensure that orders are delivered within 48 hours of being placed.
  • Provide enough space for storing things
  • The intermediates should be given credit.
  • Organize a network for product returns.
  • Inventory should be easily available (quantity and type)

#4. Evaluate and Select Among Channel Alternatives

Prior to the review and selection process, it is necessary to know the specific channel tasks. It is important to keep in mind the number of levels, the intensity at each level, the types of intermediaries at each level, and the selection criteria for channel alternatives. Also, identifying who will be in charge of each of the chosen channels is also critical to success.

#5. Evaluating Channel Member Performance

In the same way that other marketing functions must be evaluated, channel members’ performance levels must also be assessed. Marketing mix components are interrelated and a failure of one can lead to the entire marketing strategy failing. However the channel member will be dealing with autonomous business firms rather than personnel and activities under its control; as a result, these enterprises may be unwilling to alter their methods. 

Challenges Associated With Channel Management

Every type of management has its share of challenges. For this, you’ll need to figure out how to get the best return on your investment from the channel you’ve chosen. As a channel management definition, you may encounter these issues:

  • Lower enthusiasm at intermediate
  • Poor communication between distributors and manufacturers
  • Insufficient marketing and advertising
  • Conflict emerges when a distributor offers competitors’ products (that might happen due to excessive competition).
  • Supply chain and shipment delays
  • When a producer chooses to sell through an internet channel, the distributor’s sales drop because of the availability of multiple channels.

How to Develop a More Effective Channel Management Strategy

Developing a productive network of channel partners to assist in your expansion is undoubtedly a difficult task for new suppliers entering the market. There is a lot of competition for channel attention, so you need to make an impression right away if you want to bring in new partners.

In order to ensure that the channel grows rapidly and successfully, we’ve come up with a six-step plan.

#1. Research and Have a Plan

Thorough research is a must to begin developing an effective channel management plan. You want to know what’s going on in your industry, what your competitors are doing, and what’s occurring in other marketplaces. New players are disrupting the channel, so you need to identify who they are and have a strategy for partnering with them.

Build a channel by aligning your internal sales and marketing, as well as operational, teams. The marketing and operational departments are often overlooked when developing a channel program by the sales department. Preparation for the materials you’ll need to create is just as important as having a strategy for which markets to target and what kind of partner you’re looking for. At this point, it’s critical to have access to resources such as marketing materials and operational capabilities. Understanding how well you’re doing in terms of achieving your financial goals is critical.

# 2. Locate Appropriate Partners

Engaging the right business partners pays off. If your research reveals that you require other partners to meet your objectives, you must then identify your perfect partner.

To do this, you can search on your own or through an external database, as well as use social listening.

#3. Create Long-Term Partnerships

Once you’ve found new partners, you must handle and deal with them properly. Giving them a helping hand with sales will allow you to make the most of your resources.

Despite the fact that you have new partners, you must pay attention to the existing ones. Effective channel management requires the development of long-term partnerships. So, rather than replacing suppliers based on pricing, focus on the qualities that will deepen your relationships.

 #4. Providing a Defined Sale Process

The lack of a clear sales process may be one of the most crucial barriers between your organization and your channel partners. Channel Enablement is one of the best investments you can make in terms of return on investment.

Educating your colleagues will be much easier and faster if you use online technology to disseminate this information. Content such as product specifications or categories, when shared at the proper time, can be extremely helpful to them.

Using a platform that allows users to share little amounts of information might also help them retain more of the material they’ve learned. As a result, making it simple for them to learn will aid in their ability to sell more and more quickly.

#5. Build a Community

These are some of the most effective strategies to build a sense of community within your partners:

  • Make groups where they can share and debate stuff. LinkedIn is a fantastic place to do so. 
  • Organize online and offline events to establish a sense of community and network to form successful strategic alliances.
  • Find promoters and influencers. These people help guide and address doubts. They are seen as professionals by their partners.

#6. Track Your Progress and Results

Knowing or tracking the results of your channel partners can be instrumental in helping you find new ones. The Pareto Principle dictates that 80% of income is earned by 20% of partners in most channel management programs. If you know what makes these channel partners so successful, you can utilize that information to help you choose new ones. 

Tools for Effective YouTube Marketing and Channel Management

When it comes to building a subscriber base and engaging with customers, YouTube channel management and marketing is a sure way to do so. It’s important to have a well-managed YouTube channel in order to attract new clients and keep current ones coming back to your site.

To have an effective YouTube channel up and running, you have to put in more than just create content. You’ll need to dedicate time and effort to the promotion and management of your YouTube channel if you want to grow your audience and keep your current ones engaged in your content.

The following tools are for effective YouTube marketing and channel management. 

  • TubeBuddy allows you to optimize your YouTube channel.
  • Agorapulse allows for effective YouTube channel management.
  • ScreenFlow allows you to edit your videos.
  • With GoAnimate, you can make animated videos.
  • Birdsong allows you to analyze your competitors’ channels.
  • Use Socialblade or Cyfe to analyze your own channel.
  • And with Canva, you can create video imagery.

These management tools help your YouTube channel gain visibility and increase subscribers, which finally results in quality leads and sales. 

In Conclusion

Getting your business off the ground will require the use of one or the other methods discussed here, e.g., YouTube channel management. The use of this strategy is critical if your company or business hopes to reach the requisite number of people and demographics in order to generate profitable sales and establish long-term relationships with its customers.

Channel Management FAQs

What is channel management with example?

Channel management is a marketing and sales approach that firms employ to reach their target audience, promote and distribute products, and generate leads.

What are channel management steps?

There are five stages to the channel management process.

  • Analyze the customer
  • Determine the Channel Objectives
  • Specify distribution tasks
  • Evaluate and Select Among Channel Alternatives
  • Evaluate Channel member performance

What are tools for effective YouTube marketing and channel management?

The following tools are for effective YouTube marketing and channel management. 

  • TubeBuddy allows you to optimize your YouTube channel.
  • Agorapulse allows you to manage your channel.
  • ScreenFlow allows you to edit your videos.
  • With GoAnimate, you can make animated videos.
  • Birdsong allows you to analyze your competitor’s channels.
  • Use Socialblade or Cyfe to analyze your own channel.
  • And with Canva, you can create video imagery.

What are the examples of channel marketting?

Each type or example of channel management deals with a distinct aspect of channel growth and management. Here are a few of the most frequent channel management types and examples:

  • Channel Strategy
  • Channel architecture
  • Sales management
  • Channel design
  • Channel conflict
  • Planning for sales and operation
  • Pricing
  • Brand experience, etc…

What do you need to do to keep a Youtube channel up and running?

You’ll need to dedicate time and effort to the marketing and management of your YouTube channel if you want to grow your audience and keep your current ones engaged in your content.

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