What are Marketing Channels? Definition, Types, Functions, and More

Do you know how a product reaches the market from its manufacturing unit?
What are Marketing Channels? Definition, Types, Functions
What are Marketing Channels? Definition, Types, Functions

What are Marketing Channels? Definition, Types, Functions, and More

A product goes into the market through multiple marketing channels. The process of going from a product from the manufacturer to the retailer is called distribution channels. And, the marketing channel is generally called a distribution method of products, under which a company can easily transfer their goods from one person to another through multiple mediums.

To understand this concept in a better way, let’s take an example.

Lay’s is India’s most popular potato chips brand, and we can easily purchase it a packet of Lay's from any of our next-door grocery stores. But do you have any idea how the packets of Lay’s reach every part of India, even to the villages?

All this has become possible because of the marketing channels. Lay’s has a limited number of manufacturing units in our country. With the right set of marketing channels, the product reaches the depots located in different states. From these depots, it is transferred to the C&F agents and from there it reaches the distributors located in various cities.

The distributors sell the product to the wholesalers and finally, the retailers sell it to the customers. And this is who the one packet of Lay’s chips reaches to its end consumer from the manufacturing unit.

Marketing channels of a business play a key role. The success of a manufacturer's business actually depends on its distribution channels. But with so many different options, you can easily get overwhelmed.

When you go for any strategy, you always want to make sure that you spend your time and money on the most impactful channels and tactics. But, without proper knowledge of what will work best for your business, it is easy to let your fear and confusion stop you from starting.

Well, here is some good news, choosing marketing channels does not have to be rocket science.

Here is the complete guide on what is marketing channels, types of marketing channels, functions and more.

What is a marketing channel?

A marketing channel is a system that ensures the distribution of the product from the producer to the consumers by passing it through multiple levels. This is also said a channel of distribution.

This is an important tool for the management and is essential for developing a product and strategic marketing strategy.

Types of Marketing Channels

In the past, people generally used to go for direct distribution like mailers or indirect marketing channels like television. But today, some of the most popular types of marketing channels include targeted digital advertising, email, websites, events.

Either way, all these advertising channels are different in terms of audience and reach. Your marketing channels focused on the global market will be different from your local marketing channels, and so forth. To understand the effective marketing channels in 2021 and beyond, let’s take a look at the four major types of marketing channels that are getting popular these days;

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Types of Marketing Channels in 2021

· Websites: Modern advertising and marketing companies are heavily dependent on websites to drive conversion through content.

· Digital Advertising: Another effective marketing channel of 2021 is digital ads. While advertising is a little bit expensive and it does need the company to understand its target audience well, it brings excellent results.

· Email: Email marketing has been one of the highest conversion-rate marketing channels for years. The main reasons behind its effectiveness are because email allows for personalization and has excellent reach. No doubt, the marketing landscape changes frequently, and email is no exception. And this is what makes email marketing steady.

· Events: Events are another great way to reach your audience. Event can be held digitally and also in-person. In digital event, everything happens online while offline events provide face-to-face contact and one-on-community, but they are quite expensive and tough to manage.

· Social Media Marketing: In this modern era, social media has become a mandatory marketing medium to stay on top of the market. Besides, with organic reach declining on platforms like Facebook, it has become very challenging to become successful. But with a smart strategy and a disciplined approach can help you to succeed on social media. Just go for fewer networks to master and focus on producing on getting better results instead of maintaining a presence on every platform.

· PPC: Organic traffic has been a great way to build an audience. Besides, paid ads also work well for bringing direct conversions. Because consumers who click on ads are often ready to make a purchase.

· YouTube/video marketing: After Google, YouTube has become the second largest search engine. Since it makes it easier for people to watch a video and learn anything, people prefer YouTube instead of going through an extensive piece of content on the same topic. You can grow with YouTube by creating interesting and informative video content.

· Podcast Marketing: The podcast marketing is quite effective. This marketing channel does not only help you to increase your marketing demand but also helps in developing a unique relationship with your audience. Podcast episodes seem quite conversational and share a more human side of your business. Podcasts also create more opportunities for interaction, as customers are not restricted to listening while staring at their phone screen.

· Influencer Marketing: When a business partners with a relevant and popular creator in their industry to promote their brand or any specific pieces of content is known as influencer marketing. Leveraging this channel to meet your marketing goals is great for generating brand awareness and increasing social proof.

What is mostly used examples of Marketing Channels?

Here is a comprehensive list of potential platforms and means of customer communication

Affiliate marketing





SMS Marketing

PR Events

Social media networks

Social Media Ads


Press Releases

TV Commercials


Online video

Well, there are many more to add. Some of these could even be broken down into multiple categories.

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Functions of Marketing Channels

Initially, marketing channels are focused on the availability of products or services to prospective customers. Intermediaries are the people or organizations that act as a bridge between the manufacturer and the customers. They do various things to facilitate both the companies and the customers.

Here is the complete explanation of these functions:

· Sorting- First of all, the middlemen buy goods from different manufacturers and sort the products that are similar in quality, features, and size.

· Accumulation- Marketing channels make sure that there is a regular supply and circulation of goods in the market and because the middlemen are involved in the process, they are responsible for maintaining the required stock in enough quantity.

· Allocation- It is a known fact that goods are manufactured in bulk quantities but the customers prefer to purchase less quantity. Here again, the role of the middlemen comes who breaks the volume into small packages per the needs of customers.

· Assorting- The customers can get a large variety of goods because middlemen purchase goods from different manufacturers or suppliers located in different places and make them available to the customers in a single place.

· Product Promotion: The middlemen involved in the channel of distribution sometimes in a direct way or indirect way promotes the sales of a particular item through a special display, loyalty programmes, discounts or sale, etc.

· Negotiation- the middlemen bargains with the manufacturers and the consumer both for the product's price, proportion, quality, guarantee, after-sale service, etc.

· Risk-Taking- Generally, the middlemen like the wholesalers and the retailers have to bear the risk associated with any product from expiry, damage, breakage, and spoilage, etc. These risks even include issues related to transportation and warehousing.

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel

Multichannel and Omnichannel are two very popular terms in marketing. Let’s first understand what the definition of these terms;

Multi-channel Marketing: Multi-channel marketing means when you use more than one channel to reach customers.

Omnichannel Marketing: While, Omnichannel refers to marketing that provides consistent customers' experiences across multiple channels.

What should be Your Channel for Marketing?

Your marketing approach mainly depends on the type of business you are running and your target audience. See, different marketing channels bring multiple advantages, but most businesses can find a way to use multiple channels in their marketing strategies to accomplish their business goals.

Also, your audience is diverse, so when you use multiple channels to create many points of contact, it nurtures leads and boosts conversions. But again, it is not important to focus on every new channel, but you need to focus on the right channel to maximize the growth of your business.

Marketing channels ensure mobility of products or services from the manufacturing units to the consumers. Without a proper distribution of merchandise, the manufacturer won’t realize the required value of his production.

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