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The final part of this text includes two chapters covering the fourth element of the marketing mix - place. It will help you to understand the decisions and actions that companies take in order to bring products and services to customers. It also considers how new information and communication technologies are transforming distribution and retailing functions.

How products and services are delivered to customers for final usage or consumption can make a difference to how customers perceive the quality and value of the overall offering. Speed of delivery, guaranteed supply and av ail ability, convenience to shoppers and so forth can enhance buyer-seller relationships and increase customer satisfaction. Consequently, firms are increasingly paying greater attention to how they manage their distribution channels to deliver goods and services that customers want at the right time, right place and rig"ht price. Chapter 21 shows what channel organizations and their functions are, and how firms can build more cost-effective routes to serving and satisfying their target markets.

The last decade has seen a revolution taking place in the field of communications and telecommunications technology, which has had a significant impact on marketing activities. Telephones, televisions and computers are becoming important channels for selling products and services; these media are increasingly used not just for communicating messages to customers, but for interacting with and doing business with customers. Chapter 22 explores the ways in which direct, non face-to-face forms of marketing can help organizations reach specific target markets quickly. Technologies such as TV Web boxes and the Internet are creating new challenges and opportunities in electronic commerce for firms. More and more companies are setting up "stores' on the computer and virtual shopping is now a reality. In this final chapter we see how organizations conduct online marketing, and we speculate on future directions for this emerging channel for marketing.

CHAPTER 21 Managirig Marketing Channels

CHAPTER 22 Direct and Online Marketing


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