Marketing intermediaries Marketing intermediaries help the company to promote, sell, and distribute its prod-
Firms that help the company to promote, ucts to final buyers. They include resellers, physical distribution firms, marketing serv-sell, and distribute its goods to final buyers. }ces agencies, and financial intermediaries. Resellers are distribution channel firms that help the company find customers or make sales to them. These include wholesalers and retailers who buy and resell merchandise. Selecting and partnering with resellers is not easy. No longer do manufacturers have many small, independent resellers from which to choose. They now face large and growing reseller organizations such as Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Costco, and Best Buy. These organizations frequently have enough power to dictate terms or even shut smaller manufacturers out of large markets.
Physical distribution firms help the company to stock and move goods from their points of origin to their destinations. Marketing services agencies are the marketing research firms, advertising agencies, media firms, and marketing consulting firms that help the company target and promote its products to the right markets. Financial intermediaries include banks, credit companies, insurance companies, and other businesses that help finance transactions or insure against the risks associated with the buying and selling of goods.
Like suppliers, marketing intermediaries form an important component of the company's overall value delivery system. In its quest to create satisfying customer relationships, the company must do more than just optimize its own performance. It must partner effectively with marketing intermediaries to optimize the performance of the entire system.
Thus, today's marketers recognize the importance of working with their intermediaries as partners rather than simply as channels through which they sell their products. A For example, when Coca-Cola signs on as the exclusive beverage provider for a fast-food chain, such as McDonald's, Wendy's, or Subway, it provides much more than just soft drinks. It also pledges powerful marketing support.
Partnering with marketing intermediaries: Coca-Cola provides its retail partners with much more than just soft drinks. It also pledges powerful marketing support.
Coke assigns cross-functional teams dedicated to understanding the finer points of each retail partner's business. It conducts a staggering amount of research on beverage consumers and shares these insights with its partners. It analyzes the demographics of U.S. zip code areas and helps partners to determine which Coke brands are preferred in their areas. Coca-Cola has even studied the design of drive-through menu boards to better understand which layouts, fonts, letter sizes, colors, and visuals induce consumers to order more food and drink. Based on such insights, the Coca-Cola FoodService group develops marketing programs and merchandising tools that help its retail partners to improve their beverage sales and profits. For example, it recently created its Ponle Mas Sabor Con Coca-Cola program designed to help retail partners take full advantage of opportunities in the fast-growing Hispanic market. Coca-Cola FoodService's Web site, www.CokeSolutions.com, provides retailers with a wealth of information, business solutions, and merchandising tips. Such intense partnering efforts have made Coca-Cola a runaway leader in the U.S. fountain soft-drink market.3
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