Today, in the last segment of our three part series on marketing, we uncover the Art of Distribution. We’ve covered the glamour of promotion and the secrets of selling. Distribution answers the question: how will you get your product or service to clients? The ability to deliver and to do so efficiently and effectively is the cornerstone of marketing your product.
Here are some questions to get you brainstorming on your distribution:
- How do you distribute your product or service: online, mail-order, appointment-only, retail?
- What are the costs associated with this distribution?
- What time frames are relevant to this distribution?
- What personnel (if any) are required for this distribution?
- What is the transaction process involved?
- What sort of training of employees will be required?
- What sort of payment is accepted?
If you’ve been in business for at least a couple years, you are pretty familiar with your distribution plan. But, have you dissected each of these elements to ensure that you are distributing your product in the most effective, most efficient, and most lucrative method? Are there alternatives to your current method of distribution? Are there costs you can cut? Are there services you can upgrade for your clientele? Are there outlets you haven’t explored?
Do any of these sound like potential trouble spots to which you can relate:
- You continue to exhibit at the same wedding show, but aren’t sure of its returns
- Your website traffic isn’t what it used to be
- Your store employees don’t seem too jazzed about the product they are selling
- A vendor who keeps shipping late and has become less and less reliable
- Freight on inbound shipments is quite expensive
- Your client wants to pay with VISA but you only accept cash and checks
We’ll explore these scenarios in future posts, but until then here’s a thought: sketch it out. I am a huge fan of flow diagrams. A flow diagram is helpful in visualizing the chain of events relating to your distribution. Here’s a simple version of one:
It can be simple or complex… anything that will help you make informed business decisions. Sketch out your distribution plan. Put it on your wall. Admire your artwork!