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Introduction to the sales and marketing channels
Choosing the best sales and marketing channels can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. No matter how incredible your product or service is, getting it in front of the right people at the right time is a crucial part of the puzzle. That’s where marketing channels and sales channels come in. Developing these channels can help you focus on creating a relationship with the best audience for your company. Not sure how marketing channels and sales channels work? Allows us to explain.
What are marketing channels?
A marketing channel is a medium that you use to communicate with your target audience. For your marketing content to impact, you need to determine which marketing channels are best suited for your strategy. While the term itself might sound technical, it is not as complex as it reads. To simplify, your marketing channel is how you’ll advertise your services and create demand.
While you can use several different marketing channels, assessing your data (on your buyer persona and your target audience, for example) can teach you which channel will be the most successful in creating that demand and engagement. And although you might decide to rely on only one or two channels, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with as many of them as possible because each one has its pros and cons and can affect your target consumer differently.
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a marketing channel. The important thing is selecting a channel best suited for what you offer to your target audience.
For example: If your data provides substantial support for the assumption that your audience will interact with podcast marketing and not social media marketing, don’t utilize social media platforms as a part of your strategy. The key is to be efficiently creating demand. Here are six ways you can do so.
Take a moment or two to reflect on how many services and products you have engaged with because of a great review or a friend’s recommendation. That is how word-of-mouth marketing takes place. If you’re looking for a new restaurant in the area, it is highly likely you’ll turn to Yelp or Google Reviews and see what others said about the locale. If you enjoy the food and service, you might write your review or tell your brother-in-law to check it out. If your best friend calls you up and raves about the great new furniture store that opened up down the block, you’re more likely to shop there. You get the gist. But why is that the case? Well, statistically speaking, “92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.” That’s right; there is more credibility in the things those around us say.
A consumer is more likely to trust the opinion of another consumer or friend because they won’t have a plan in the way a business might. After all, you’re advertising with the intent to expand your audience and create engagement, so why would you not boast about your product? But clients are aware of this bias in advertising, so they turn to those they know and trust. Your job in this specific channel remains simple: provide a service or product they can’t help but rave about.
Here’s a statistic that will blow your mind: “55% of US consumers listened to audio podcasts in 2020, an increase from the 51% that listened in 2019.” Podcasts are taking the world by storm for their ability to keep a listener engaged, be listened to anywhere without the need to have eyes glued on a screen, and for their genuine and conversational feel. By implementing podcast marketing into your strategy, you expand your outreach and allow yourself to infiltrate your target audience’s lives in a way that feels more genuine and doesn’t require much interaction from the consumer.
Email marketing is a beautiful channel to utilize, as long as you don’t become the spammer that evokes dread and agony. You know what I’m talking about! No one likes having to unsubscribe from a mailing list manually. Even though open rates for email have declined from their heyday, consumers still check emails. Better yet, they read and engage with their emails. This is a beautiful source because you can allow people the option to subscribe to your mailing list so that you can reach out to them quarterly or biannually (or whatever you prefer) to keep them in the loop on any updates in your services. Emails can also be personal so that you can create that business-consumer relationship, all while giving your audience space.
Social media marketing
Social media might be a beast, but it is undeniably a valuable resource. Consider these numbers: Tik Tok amassed more than 33 million downloads in Q1 of 2019 alone, more than 54% of people using social media as a research tool for products and services, and more than 3.7 billion (yes, billion) social media users active daily. It is no surprise that the social media marketing channel is one worth contemplating. After all, social media platforms keep people busy, entertained, and make them feel good. Instagram has now adapted to be both the photo-sharing mogul that it was and a marketplace. Facebook has its marketplace that sells anything from furniture to concert tickets; Twitter has the power to #cancel or makes brands into viral talking points, all the while, Tik Tok can make anyone and anything an overnight sensation. Utilizing social media in your strategy can create awareness for your brand and business and pull in more traction. But be mindful of the platform you want to advertise on, as each is its world that needs to be catered to accordingly.
Ah, the influencer. Macro or micro, the influencer has the power to drive sales just as much as they can bomb them. Consumers tend to form what are called parasocial relationships with highly influential social media accounts. These are “one-sided relationships…[that] are voluntary, provide companionship, and are influenced by social attraction. Furthermore, viewers experience a connection with the media user and express feelings of affection, gratitude, longing, encouragement, and loyalty towards them.” It sounds quite a bit like word-of-mouth marketing. The only difference is the reach the influencer has. One Instagram or Tik Tok influencer with over two million followers can bring a vast amount of attention to your product and service, which ultimately can turn into a high-revenue stream.
When it comes to video, your options are somewhat endless. You could create content in either the form of a Live Instagram Q&A, a Tik Tok or Instagram Reel, a nationwide commercial, a how-to video, and the list goes on and on. But the importance and beauty that comes with video marketing is their ability to familiarize your consumer with your service or product, all while getting to witness it firsthand. A heartwarming commercial can do marvelous things for your product because of a video’s ability to create that one-on-one connection visually.
Marketing channels vs. Sales channels
A question you must be asking yourself is how a marketing channel differs from a sales channel. A marketing channel is a way to communicate to your target audience and create awareness for your product or service, while a sales channel is how you will meet demand.
A sales channel is how you will accomplish the sale, not just tell people about your product or service. So while a marketing channel creates demand, a sales channel is what will meet that demand. The beauty in using sales channels is that you can use multiple to restrict yourself to just one or two distribution methods. Sales channels give consumers the ability to engage with your brand from various places so that they don’t have to go looking left and right for your services; it’s right there.
Examples of sales channels
Okay, so you get the groove of sales channels but want some examples. That’s awesome; let’s jump into some examples of sales channels:
- Social media: Instagram, for example, acts as a double sword. You can advertise your product and sell it in their marketplace, so if consumers like what you have to offer, they can purchase it right in the app.
- Marketplaces: Think Amazon, eBay, or Jet.com, mass retailers with an eclectic array of third-party brands. These are places that can market your product and target masses of people.
- Independent retailer: A prime example of an independent retailer is a boutique. These are places that function by themselves and are not affiliated with any big-name company.
- Resellers: In this circumstance, resellers purchase the product from the company providing it and sell it to the consumer.
At the end of it all, sales and marketing channels are just tools made to make your life and your campaign strategy not only easier but successful. Although you might have an excellent product or service to offer to your target audience, it is essential to communicate that with them. This is where marketing channels come in and as it’s been touched upon, several can be utilized. Remember to choose the channels most beneficial for you. While marketing channels generate demand, sales channels are how consumers can interact with and buy your product or service. Although there are many different sales channels, remember that these are third-party distributors that allow your target audience to purchase with ease.