Marketing channels are the internal & external organizations utilized by businesses to take their products & services to market and make them available to customers. This course introduces you to key marketing channels concepts, tools and best practices focuses along two areas:
(a) Channel design – i.e., how a supplier should design (or redesign) its mix of channels and partners. Should a business use direct channels like a sales force or the web, or indirect channels like distributors, value-added resellers and franchisers? Should it aim to make its products or services widely or selectively available? How should it go about selecting specific channel partners and structuring partnership agreements?
(b) Channel management – i.e., how a supplier should manage channel relationships to achieve its business objectives. How can a supplier motivate its channel partners to act in its best interests? How can conflicts be addressed between different channels or different partners within a channel? How can a supplier improve its financial performance across channels and partners?
The course also studies certain foundational areas -- Franchising, Grey markets, Sales force management, and the Legal environment. What are the key elements of a franchisor-franchisee relationship and how can franchisees be managed effectively? What causes grey markets and how can these be addressed by manufacturers? What are best practices in managing sales teams to get them to optimal performance? What restrictions does the law impose on channel policies like pricing, product-lines and partner selection?
This half-semester course consists of a mix of lectures and cases. Both business-to-consumer and business-to-business situations are covered.