What Does a Channel Marketing Manager Do?

C. Daw

A channel marketing manager is the person in-charge of channel marketing, a kind of marketing that’s done through a specific method called a channel. This may be through reselling or distribution of the product to dealers, through direct sales, via phone calls, through direct mail, via the internet, which is a very popular and lucrative channel these days, and many others. Usually, channel sales make use of indirect selling, especially through resellers.

Channel marketing managers must have good interpersonal and administrative skills.
Channel marketing managers must have good interpersonal and administrative skills.

The main responsibility of a channel marketing manager is to oversee the process through which the product or goods are transferred from the source, then through one or more resellers, and lastly to the end user who is the final customer. There can be just one tier separating a reseller from the source, such as when the customer orders from the source directly, or multiple tiers, when the owner of the product uses a wholesale distributor which then sells to many resellers. Resellers are also sometimes called retailers, dealers, and distributors, or disty for short. They are the ones who make direct sales to customers.

The first decision that a channel marketing manager may make is what channel or channels to use. Often, both direct and indirect methods are implemented to maximize exposure to potential customers. The channel marketing director sees to it that channel conflict is avoided. This conflict happens when too many channels and resellers are trying to sell the same thing, resulting in a competition, which is a problem when the market demand is not large enough to accommodate all the resellers. There are a number of methods by which a channel marketing manager can minimize conflict, such as dividing the products that different resellers sell. They can also limit the areas that each reseller can exclusively operate in.

A distinction needs to be made between two complementary components of a marketing company. One is channel sales, and the other is channel marketing. A channel sale has to do with the distribution of products to resellers and dealers. This is called a sell-in in marketing terms. Meanwhile, channel marketing ensures that all products carried by distributors and resellers get sold out, which is called a sell-through.

In large companies, a channel sale is a separate department from channel marketing. One is headed by a channel sales director, while the other is headed by a channel marketing manager. Smaller companies often make do with a combined channel sales and channel marketing section. In this instance, one person is in charge of both sell-ins and sell-throughs.

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