Description & Challenges

Throughout the world, organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves through product features, pricing and promotional strategies. Direct selling costs continue to decline and reseller channels continue to grow. Developing and maintaining effective marketing channel strategies is now a critical success factor for many organizations.

Changing distribution strategies can be complex and risky. While distribution through resellers can reduce selling costs and increase market coverage, resellers may also reduce a company's control over the sale of its products or services. An end user is influenced by the reseller as well as by the supplier and the product itself. Recovery from an inappropriate distribution strategy is usually costly and time consuming.

IF International was founded in 1969. We work with clients throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa and New Zealand.

Through our marketing channel strategy skills, we help organizations restructure distribution channels or create new marketing channels. We focus on increasing our clients' return on investment in distribution by reducing distribution costs and enhancing channel performance. Our clients are primarily Fortune 500 organisations that distribute their products or services through agents, dealers, co-operatives, franchisees, licensees, distributors, company sales forces and joint ventures.

Challenges

Motivating and Controlling Channel Partners

"We changed our distribution from a direct sales force to dealers in order to reduce our selling costs in a competitive market. Now, we have little control over how our products are positioned and sold. Our dealers sell competing products. They aren't loyal or developmental. Customer service is declining."

Managing Multiple Channels

"To reach various market segments, we distribute products through dealers, distributors and an employee sales force. Our profitability is declining and our marketing channels overlap, causing channel conflict. We need to restructure distribution without losing our best channel partners. What should we do?"

Alternatives to Direct Sales

"Our products require personal selling. We can't afford a direct sales force. We are concerned about our lack of control over channel partners. We need distribution that gives us cost-effective market penetration and yet maintains company control"

Improving Marketing Channel Performance

"We're happy with our market coverage. However, our sales have been flat and profitability is declining despite market growth. We need to get better performance from our existing marketing channels."

Entry into Mature Markets

"Our product is competitive and offers significant consumer benefits. Yet, we haven't been able to sign major dealers and distributors because they want to sell only name-brand products. Somehow, we need to develop a market presence."

Restructuring Company Owned Outlets

"Maintaining our company owned, full-service branch network is just too expensive. To reduce costs, we need to consolidate our product offering at many branches, yet maintain our ability to meet the market's requirements. Can we restructure some branches to inject a stronger profit orientation for branch operators?"

Expansion with Minimum Investment

"We have developed and proven a new retail concept, but we don't have sufficient capital to expand. How can we achieve our growth goals with minimum investment while maintaining control over retail outlets?"

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