What Is Distribution in Marketing? (And Making a Strategy)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies typically create a plan to get their products into the market and available to their customers. They use different marketing distribution strategies to make their products more accessible. Knowing about distribution can help you understand how firms bring their offerings to market and what options are available to consumers. In this article, we discuss what distribution in marketing is, how to create a distribution strategy, its importance, and some tips to make it more effective.

What is distribution in marketing?

To answer the question "What is distribution in marketing?", it is the process and channel through which companies make goods and services available to customers. It is also called place marketing and involves market research, product development, packaging, branding, pricing, channels of distribution, and customer service. The distribution also involves ensuring that the product or service is available in the right place, at the right time, and in the right quantity.

Marketing distribution aims to promote and sell products or services to customers through various channels. This can include online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores, wholesalers, and distributors. The goal is to reach as many potential customers as possible and ensure they can purchase the product or service. A successful marketing distribution strategy results in increased sales and a larger market share for the business.

Related: What Is a Distribution Strategy? (And How to Choose One)

What are the main activities of marketing distribution?

Marketing distribution activities can vary depending on the product or service offered and the channels used, but some common activities are involved in most strategies. These include:

Packaging

The packaging of a product is essential for two main reasons. First, it protects the product during shipping and handling. Second, it acts as a marketing tool to attract attention and interest. A well-designed package can make a big difference in how successful a product is in the marketplace.

Inventory management

Businesses have a good inventory management system to ensure that products are available when and where customers want them. This includes keeping track of stock levels, re-ordering products when necessary, and knowing where products are. It's the responsibility of the marketing distribution team to make sure that inventory is well managed.

Order processing

Another important part of marketing distribution is taking orders from customers, processing payments, and shipping products. It's important to have an efficient and easy system to use. A more effective system can result in greater customer satisfaction.

Transport

Getting products to customers is one of the most critical aspects of marketing distribution. There are many transportation options available, and the best one depends on the type of product, the quantity, and the destination. There may be paperwork and regulations to navigate if you're shipping products internationally.

Communication

Communication is vital in marketing distribution, as it helps ensure that everyone is on the same page. This includes sending out sales reports, keeping track of customer orders, and coordinating between different team members. Clear and effective communication can make a big difference in the success of a marketing distribution strategy.

How to create a marketing distribution strategy

You can follow these steps to create an effective marketing distribution strategy:

1. Define your target market

The target market is the group of people you want to reach with your product or service. To define your target market, you can consider age, location, gender, income, and interests. Once you know your target market, you can think about the best way to reach it.

Related: What Is a Target Market? (Plus 5 Steps to Help You Identify One)

2. Identify your channels

The next step is to identify the channels that you can use to reach your target market. You can use online channels, offline channels, or both. Each channel has its advantages and disadvantages, so you can choose the ones that are best suited for the business and its products.

3. Develop a plan

Once you've identified your target market and channels, you can develop a plan. Your plan covers everything from how you're going to reach your target market, what kind of packaging you may use, and how you can ship your products. You can also cover how you're going to monitor the success of your strategy. This includes setting goals and objectives and tracking key metrics.

4. Implement and monitor

Implementing and monitoring your marketing distribution strategy is just as important as developing it. It's essential to make sure that you're consistently using the channels you've chosen and monitoring your progress. This includes tracking your sales and customer feedback. Then you can make adjustments to your strategy as necessary to ensure its success.

What is the importance of marketing distribution?

There are many benefits of having an effective marketing distribution strategy. Some of the most important benefits are:

Helps reach the target market

An effective marketing distribution strategy ensures that products and services are available to the people who want them. For example, if you're selling products online, make sure your website is easy to find and that the checkout process is simple. This helps to avoid lost sales and dissatisfied customers.

Facilitates growth

A good distribution strategy can help a business grow and expand into new markets. For example, if a company sells products in brick-and-mortar stores, it can also reach a larger audience by selling online. It can also help organizations reach the markets their competitors haven't explored.

Increases brand awareness

Brand awareness helps to build loyalty and repeat customers. When a target market can find and purchase products easily, individuals are more likely to remember a brand the next time they need something. This can lead to increased sales and long-term customer relationships.

Related: What Is Distributed Marketing? (With Tips and Examples)

Builds relationships

Marketing distribution is a great way to build relationships with customers by providing them with a good experience. For example, if you offer fast and free shipping, this can help to build customer loyalty. Excellent customer service is another way to build relationships and keep customers returning.

Saves time and money

An effective strategy can save organizations time and money by making the most efficient use of their resources. For example, if a company sells products online, it can use an automated system to take orders and process payments. This can free up time to focus on other aspects of the business.

Tips to improve marketing distribution

There are a few things you can do to improve your marketing distribution strategy:

Monitor your progress

Regularly monitor your distribution strategy to see how it's performing. This way, you can make changes and adjustments as needed. You can also use analytics to track your progress and see where you can improve.

Test your strategy

Testing out your strategy is important before implementing it on a large scale. Test it on a smaller scale first and see how it works. For example, you can launch a new product in one store before rolling it out to all of your stores. This helps identify any problems and make changes before you go big. Once you're confident that your strategy is ready, you can apply it on a larger scale.

Have a backup plan

It's important to have a backup plan in place if something goes wrong. For example, if you're relying on one channel for distribution, it's crucial to have a backup plan if that channel isn't available. This could include using a different channel or working with another supplier.

Be flexible

Flexibility can help you adjust your strategy to keep up with the latest trends. It can also help you take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. For example, if a new trend emerges, you can quickly adapt your strategy to take advantage of it.

Keep it customer-focused

It's essential for your distribution strategy to focus on meeting the needs of your target market. This means ensuring that your products are available when and where they want them. It also means providing excellent customer service and making it easy for customers to purchase the products.

Monitor your competition

It's essential to monitor your competition and see what they're doing. This way, you can learn from their mistakes and avoid making the same ones. You can also find inspiration for new ideas and ways to improve your current strategy. For example, if you see that your competitor is using a new distribution channel, you can research it and see if it's something that would work for the products or services you're promoting.

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