Distribution – The Key to Success

Posted on February 1, 2012 mapadmin

What is the precursor to marketing? Product development of course! You got to have a product (read: good product) that will sell before you try and market it. While new product development is an ongoing process in most sectors, in some, like communications, it is literally the lifeblood for survival. You may be able to successfully market practically the same soap bar for years and years, but try and sell someone a cell-phone which came out more than a year ago!

Product development may offer incremental value-addition to the consumer, like a cooking oil brand being promoted these days with a new closure to the bottle, with apparently no qualitative change in the product inside the bottle itself. Or, product development may be radically innovative, providing an instant solution to a latent consumer need. Like the shampoo variant of a famous brand that has been developed for women wearing hijab specifically. In either case product development must regularly come up with new offering for marketing to come into its own and get sales going. The story however does not end with product development. After all, every year millions of patents are applied for new products throughout the world. How many of these actually find shelf space in retail outlets? One can argue that in the global world today, a product to be commercially successful must belong to an established business, with the ubiquitous multinational as its best vector for assured growth, bringing huge resources to the effort. But other facts belie this. If the product feeds a need, it has potential; even it is being marketed online only. This we know. So what is next once a great new product has been developed? Is an aggressive, 360 degrees marketing campaign the only formula for success? Marketing guru and an ex MAP president, Mahmood Nanji once told me in a reflective mood that marketing is really all about distribution. And I believe him. Think low unit price products like saunf supari available literally everywhere and you will start understanding why the companies making this product are rolling in cash. Brands can spend huge amounts of time and money on product development to start with. Then a lot of effort goes into designing and producing the most attractive packaging possible. This is followed by developing a comprehensive marketing campaign, with advertising leading the way and each brand trying to be more creative than the competition. Now all this hopefully results in getting consumers really hyped-up to rush out and purchase and become loyal customers. The marketing campaign so far is thus successful. But all effort is wasted when the consumer just cannot find the product where it is convenient to him or her. So distribution is really the key. And the essence of distribution is what I have written in italics above – convenience for the consumer in buying the product. If marketers understand this and spend more effort and even money on ensuring this, rather than spending

About the author

Zohare Ali Shariff is CEO of Asiatic Public Relations Network & Executive Director – Triple Bottom-Line. He regularly conducts trainings in media management
, public relations and CSR. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he is also a published author and winner of National Book Foundation awards.