Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Distribution Matters.

There are many ways to look at distribution (the P of place in the classical 4Ps of marketing). Many involve trade-offs.

Rory Sutherland points out in this Cannes-based video that in online marketing the vast majority of effort is focussed on distribution and little is invested in the actual content.

In the entertainment industry, the content/distribution trade-off tends to favour content. The ownership of distribution guarantees an audience and thereby extra cashflow surplus to that which you'd garner if you were limited to selling your output via third parties. But ultimately good/popular content will always find distribution.

However, in most businesses, you don't have the freedom to contemplate the trade-off. If your content/product is not so good or, more realistically, if you're in an increasingly commodified industry, then it's clear that the importance of gaining distribution and the difficulty of so doing cannot be overstated. Furthermore, it seems to me that the disintermediation embodied in online encroachments into offline businesses is not quite as paradigm-shifting as some would have us believe.

Generally speaking, there is a physicality to distribution and the scarcity or otherwise of that distribution shifts the marketing dynamic entirely. It's not so much about where you choose to distribute your product/service in order to most conveniently serve your customers and gain market share. In a world of oversupply, it's much more about gaining distribution share.


Anonymous Rob @ Cynic said...

I love the 4 [or sometimes 5] P's because all the marketing text books have actually got it wrong.

Research has demonstrated their true meanings are ...

PANSYS [how customers are viwed]

PROFIT [for the corporation]

PRETENCE [about giving a shit]


PROMOTION [for Marketing Directors]

Come on John ... I'm disappointed you've become a corporate toady! :)

8:06 PM, August 07, 2007  
Blogger Victor said...

This is very true, I am having similar conversations with my online marketers. Their mistake is that they believe online marketing is marketing via digital channels, i.e. Promotion and Place, when marketing a digital product really should involve a lot of Product, since there is incredible anaylytics and flexibility. A strange dichotomy borne of ignorance.

1:37 AM, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

John never replies to comments because he's only into the 'monologue ' and is just getting to grips with the 'conversation' but nevertheless Rob I do think the fifth P is people. The most important one was left out.

Incidentally John I caught Rory on thay video a couple of weeks ago and was hooked on anarcho syndicalism. Rory is even more impressive in real life than on his blog.

2:05 AM, August 08, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

I frequently reply to comments - just not yours Charles ;O) but I shall deign to say that while I agree with you, I think that the P of people is implict in all the rest and need not be separated out. All four Ps aexist to facilitate the connection of people to some product/service - if the people aren't in the equation then there is no point to the exercise.

The four Ps pathology is not sacrosanct - I just return to it by way of a metaphorical back to basics cry so that we do not get bogged down in consultancy matrices and methodologies at the expense of actually doing something.

@Charles - meeting Rory would be informative, then I could find out what anrcho-syndcalism is and I might get that dosa you keep promising.

@Everybody else - Rob is in advertising, so bear that in mind.

2:56 AM, August 08, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

@victor Quite right - digital is the mechanism, not a separate universe. There are different technical skills required for sure but the people to whom you're marketing are real and not some new hybrid of digitisation.

3:34 AM, August 08, 2007  
Anonymous Rob @ Cynic said...

How come you are so normal on your blog and then turn into a raving loony on mine? On second thoughts don't answer that - I think I know the answer and it's not nice, ha!

8:47 AM, August 08, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

Your blog (which I recommend to anyone not of a nervous or puritan disposition) is a miasma of creative wonder, whereas this is just a marketing blog.

8:59 AM, August 08, 2007  
Anonymous Rob @ Cynic said...

We both know that's not the truth, but I am grateful for you being gentle on me, ha!

9:01 AM, August 08, 2007  

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