Marketing professionals use different channels to communicate with potential customers about their products and services. Marketing channels include a variety of strategies ranging from distribution practices to modes of communication. If you’re interested in marketing, you may benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of these different types of channels.
In this article, we define marketing channels and provide a list of nine that you may implement into your marketing strategy.
What is a marketing channel?
Marketing channels are tools that marketers use to build a connection between a manufacturer or company to a group of potential customers. There are a variety of different channels that help professionals manage sales and develop an effective marketing strategy for their business. Each channel may serve a different purpose such as building a brand identity or communicating information about a new product. Typically, each type of marketing channel may be one of these:
These marketing channels work to deliver a particular message to a target audience. For example, the content included in a promotional email is a facet of a communication marketing channel since it provides a specific message to the recipients.
These channels represent the methods through which the product arrives at the customer. For example, the packaging that a company uses to ship its products to customers is a type of distribution marketing.
These marketing channels include finalizing business transactions. For example, the methods through which a company receives payment for its products are service marketing channels.
9 types of marketing channels
There are a variety of marketing channels that professionals may use to effectively appeal to their target audience. Some of these channels include:
1. Direct selling
Direct selling is a marketing channel that involves a professional communicating directly with potential clients. Typically, these interactions happen one at a time and may work best for smaller businesses. Direct selling often includes marketing to people you know. This marketing channel may have fewer expenses for the business since you don’t need to pay for advertising space, distribution costs, or other types of marketing materials. Because of these reduced costs, you may receive a higher overall profit from a successful product sale. This is a communication marketing channel.
2. Catalog direct
Catalog Direct is a marketing channel where a potential customer browses through a printed or digital catalog. A catalog may include prices, product descriptions, or images of the options. The viewer then selects the products they want from the catalog and places an order. This channel can eliminate the need to interact with a potential customer face-to-face. It also provides the customer the opportunity to choose from a wide range of options. The catalog direct method may work if you sell a variety of different products and want to give the customer some options. This is a communication marketing channel.
3. Network marketing
Similar to direct selling, network marketing is a channel where sellers use their personal networks to make sales. For example, they might market a product on their personal social media to alert their family and friends to the product. This type of marketing channel focuses on informing people about the product and making a sale directly to them through information, photos, or your testimony of the product’s utility. Networking marketing is another representation of a communication marketing channel.
4. Value-added resale
This marketing channel may purchase a product and add value to it before reselling it to its target audience. For example, if a company sells custom bookshelves, they may purchase premade bookshelves from a wholesaler before remodeling each unit to meet a customer’s needs. By adding value to the original product, the company can market its items as unique, valuable, and desirable to the customer. This marketing channel is distributive since it relates to how the product appears to customers.
5. Digital advertisements
This communication marketing channel includes a variety of digital platforms that you might use to promote your products or services. Your company might sell products through a website, using this site to market to a particular audience. Other digital advertisement channels include advertisement space on social media platforms or other websites or using your own social media platforms to market to your specific following. Based on the specific method you use, digital marketing may include a cost to your business. This marketing channel is common and highly effective.
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An event may serve as a marketing channel, as it allows marketers to communicate with potential customers in a unique context. You might host an event that has a specific purpose, such as promoting a new line of products. It’s important to ensure that these events provide the opportunity for customers to ask questions about the product, understand its value, and potentially make a purchase. The events themselves require marketing so that people know the location, time, and other logistics of the event itself. A marketing event is both a communication and distribution marketing channel since customers may purchase a product while attending.
7. SEO marketing
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the results that a potential customer sees when they search for something online. As a marketing channel, it’s important to optimize the search engine results page since this can lead to higher traffic to your company’s website. There are a variety of strategies that relate to SEO marketing and the specific strategies you implement depend on your target audience, your product, and your sales goals.
8. Email marketing
Another type of communication marketing channel is email marketing. This channel refers to promotional emails sent to a target audience that contain a specific message. A marketing email may include information about an upcoming sale, a new product release, or changes to a familiar product. Email marketing can help companies provide specific information across a range of email messages, which provides unique opportunities for marketing professionals.
9. Indirect marketing
Indirect marketing incorporates several channels to effectively deliver a product to a consumer. Opposite to direct marketing, where a manufacturer sells directly to a customer, indirect marketing uses multiple participants. For example, a manufacturer may sell to a retailer. Then, the retailer displays the product in their shop, where a customer sees it and decides to make a purchase.
Frequently asked questions
How do you choose a marketing channel?
First, it’s important to perform market research and demographic analysis. Learning more about what matters to your target customers and how they spend their time may help you choose the right channel to reach them. For example, billboards might be most effective in reaching a local audience, while influencer marketing might help you reach a global audience with a niche interest. Other factors to consider include cost, marketing goals, and competitor channels.
How do you measure success when evaluating marketing channels?
If you want to evaluate the success of individual campaigns, track and assess the following metrics:
Return on investment: This metric denotes how profitable a particular channel is, as it compares revenue garnered through the channel to the cost of employing the channel.
Net promoter score: This score transforms qualitative customer data into concrete numbers to help you gauge customer engagement.
Cost per lead: This metric helps you understand if your marketing channels are a cost-effective way to reach qualified prospective customers.
What is a one-to-one marketing channel?
A one-to-one marketing channel is a channel that allows for highly individualized, direct messaging that builds customer loyalty and deepens personal relationships between companies and customers. Some examples of one-to-one marketing channels include personalized short message service (SMS) texts and emails.
I hope you find this article helpful.