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IF View - Issue No. 08


Issue No 08

Marketing Channel Strategy Consultants
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Best in Class

Organisations often find measurement of their channel marketing performance one of the most difficult areas of their overall marketing plans. As a result, opportunities for improving or changing their channel strategies are limited.

The Best-in-Class channel marketer is the organisation which implements the best channel marketing strategy in its industry and is the best manager of its channel partner relationships.

Benchmarking an organisationís channel marketing skills against the Best-in-Class in its industry can help focus management on the measurement criteria and the tasks required to improve channel performance.

The "Prize"

After benchmarking an organisationís relative channel marketing performance, the organisation should be better placed to define the "prize" that can be gained from improving its channel marketing skills and the method by which the "prize" can be attained.

For example, a competitor may achieve greater stock commitment from channel members. A channel benchmarking exercise may identify that the competitorís expenditure on field staff development is the key contributor to its success.

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Benchmark elements may include:

  • order turnaround time
  • percentage of shelf space provided by channel members
  • other supplier performance criteria:
    • promotional support/effectiveness
    • backup (technical) support
  • other channel member performance criteria such as sales representative knowledge

Best-in-Class channel marketers generally have:

  • higher channel partner commitment levels
  • longer, more stable channel partner relationships
  • higher quality channel partners
  • greater feedback through channels
  • greater understanding of the dynamics and economics of their channels

By striving to be Best-in-Class, an organisation can develop competitive advantage through its channel mix and channel optimisation.

  • Channel mix defines or describes the channel used to distribute products or services
  • Channel optimisation brings together the organisation, its customers and its channel partners in the appropriate contractual and business relationships.


The process starts with identification of the Best-in-Class Channel Marketer in the organisationís industry. Other organisation should also be assessed, as performance in different aspects of channel marketing will vary among them.

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Best-in-Class Benchmarking

Having defined the state of a channel marketing program and identified what is possible, a two step development program takes an organisation through the process of identifying new channel mixes and relationships and methods for optimizing the management of existing channel relationships and "selling-in" new concepts to channel partners.

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