BlogsDon’t forget about distribution channel marketing

Don’t forget about distribution channel marketing

The biggest invisible force that affects the volume of product sales and, thus, all other commercial activities is demand. If there is no natural demand, then one way, often even the most efficient way, is to create it directly in the distribution and sales channels using distribution channel marketing. This year, Marko Jäppinen, marketing strategist of Suppilog, is starting the Suppiblog series to discuss different ways to practice distribution channel marketing in Suppilog.

New types and more effective possibilities

Traditionally, distribution channel marketing has largely been actions implemented with parts and partners of the value chain of traditional trade, as well as classic campaigning and sales promotion formed by the sales field and marketing. These traditional methods are generally quite expensive, as their implementation often involves a large number of people, both for planning and especially for implementation, which has caused the fact that distribution channel marketing is expected to be expensive and part of the marketing strategy of only large companies.

In addition to traditional distribution channel marketing methods, Suppilog offers new, more efficient, and modern methods to optimize the effectiveness of marketing, especially in terms of its relationship to sales costs. According to Jäppinen, the new methods include growth marketing, interdisciplinary teams, using real-time data at the center of decision-making, and digital tools. In addition, he always emphasizes a new type of open-minded and agile culture as part of the planning of distribution channel marketing.

“We can also help companies to achieve the optimal distribution channel marketing package by combining new and traditional methods,” Jäppinen promises.

By combining both old and new methods, we are able to create more effective B2B sales and marketing strategies for companies that also take distribution channel marketing into account or focus only on it. Over the years, we have helped companies in dozens of different industries define strategies, sharpen focus, and launch campaigns. 

Digital platforms make it possible to reach large groups of customers quickly

Modern distribution channel marketing can help achieve better results than traditional methods, but it requires high-quality planning. According to Jäppinen, one of the significant changes is the utilization of digitality and data. Modern digital platforms have a very precise understanding of the entire customer base. In the past, information like this has traveled in organizations with different commercial persons as silent information, in which case the information could not be used to its full potential.

“Traditionally, this understanding of and tacit knowledge has been inside the company in the basements of sales and marketing people or just inside the head. But modern digital platforms have an incredibly accurate history and thus an understanding of practically the entire customer base,” Jäppinen states.

Suppilog’s platform makes it possible to reach large customer groups and profiles with a few clicks of a button. Even searching for and contacting individual customers can be done effortlessly, even if the marketer has no previous knowledge of the customer or target group in question. In addition, Suppilog’s platform is constantly evolving to serve all parties even better. For example, new automated marketing tools are joining our platform in the near future. In addition, we have developed our platform’s data collection from our seller and buyer customers, which enables even more precise and effective campaigning. 

Case: an inbound sales campaign

Last year, Suppilog was part of a company’s transformation process from an online store to an importer. At the same time as the change, the goal was to find an efficient but light way to present the company’s selection to a selected group of professional buyers. In addition, as a new operator, the company wanted accurate market information from professional buyers. We developed an in-sales campaign for the seller company-customer, in which we combined many different channels and processes and acted as an expert in planning and clarifying customer understanding, says Jäppinen.

In the campaign, we focused on the seller-company-customer in defining the core target group, and we hand-picked each individual buyer-customer with their contact information, which we approached by sending a product sample. In addition, we designed a distribution channel marketing communication campaign around the topic for internal and external media. Each customer prospect belonging to the target group was contacted by phone after the product was sent. When contacting them, we accepted product orders if the customer had not yet had time to place an order based on other communications. The seller company, in this case, was also interested in the sell-out data of the products, i.e., how well the product sold from retailers to consumers. We followed this up by keeping in touch with the customers even after the first contact and making the deal when we were also able to easily secure the buyer-customer’s follow-up order.

According to Jäppinen, the results were good, even though the campaign was a little too close to the Christmas season, which is typically busy for the retail industry. The overall campaign was simple, but its creation and comprehensive implementation would probably have been difficult with the company’s own resources. 

Summary of the completed campaign:

  1. Creating a campaign plan
  2. Defining the target group and compiling contact information.
  3. Sending product samples.
  4. Contact the customer for information related to campaign products and questions about the performance of that category in that retail unit.
  5. Receiving the order when contacting if the customer has not yet placed the order. Transcription of the contact conversation in its entirety.
  6. Monitoring the sell-out, i.e., the progress of the products, after the first sale with a control call and, of course, enabling additional orders.

Investments, responsibility, and results

Distribution channel marketing always requires investments. Jäppinen emphasizes that investments and roles must be determined in each case separately because, in some cases, more resources must be found to outline, structure, and define the entire marketing and sales entities, i.e., to update marketing and sales strategies. In some cases, instead of strategic planning, the contributions of distribution channel marketing are needed more for the concrete operational pursuit of customers and communication, the results of which are usually a direct result of planning. If the marketing company has its own free resources for distribution channel marketing, they can be used partially or fully in the planning of the entities. Jäppinen reminds us that, at the end of the day, the responsibility for the success and the roles, or the lack of them, is borne by the marketing companies because the responsibility primarily belongs to them. 

The Suppilog team has been involved in hundreds of different go-to-market strategies and different types of roles for more than a decade. The roles have always varied from providing a platform and sparring, production of operations, to comprehensive management of the campaign. Our team’s insight and experience can be found in a wide range of different sales and distribution channels. Jäppinen points out that Suppilog’s team does not lack the courage to challenge the logic of companies’ already existing sales, marketing, and distribution channel marketing activities.

“We believe we have a good understanding of the nature of successful and less successful strategies and campaigns,” Jäppinen states.

Suppilog is becoming more efficient.

We are currently building a concrete service selection consisting of different distribution channel marketing methods, tools, and models offered by Suppilog, which will allow us to be even better partners in boosting sales and solving business challenges.

Do you need professional help with distribution channel marketing, inbound sales, or other ways to make trading more efficient? Get in touch with Marko Jäppinen, who was mentioned in this article as well, or your Suppilog contact without delay. 

Marko Jäppinen
040 017 0147,
marko.jappinen@suppilog.fi

P.S. Although you may have had a critical view of traditional distribution channel marketing methods, they are by no means dead! In March, we assembled a joint stand with Suppilog’s vendor companies at Gastro Helsinki, Finland’s largest event for food and restaurant professionals, where we entertained the clientele and gathered industry information for more than three days. The best combination is always company-specific and is largely defined by the company’s strategic goals and resources! 

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