4.1 used by Belden. 4.2 Channel management and marketing

4.1 Marketing systemIn broad terms, market system is a network whichconsists of buyers and sellers. By being part of this network, they interactand thus are able to exchange information with the ultimate goal to close adeal.  However, expressed like this theterm appears to be more economics oriented. Therefore, Edwin Lee has offered aslightly modified definition adapted to companies. He explains the marketingsystem as the organisation and process a company uses to sell its products orservices. It includes three parties – the marketing and sales organisation of abusiness, the customers and one or more external third party organisations. Thelatter are also referred to as marketing intermediaries.

These firms help thecompany to promote, sell and distribute its products to the end user. Commontypes of intermediaries are distributors, value-added resellers (VAR), systemintegrators, OEMs etc. (Lee 1996).Depending on the type of the business and theproducts, a marketing system operates through one or more sales channels.

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The channels are seen as a specific kind ofconnecting path between a business and its customers. There are a couplegeneral types of channels i.e. direct where the business sells directly toconsumers and indirect when a third party gets involved. Hence, one can saythat the aforementioned intermediaries are part of the indirect channel whichis also used by Belden.4.

2 Channel management and marketingAs already stated, the channel is the link thatconnects the business and the customers. For this purpose, the manufacturer inthe face of Belden and the intermediaries work together to meet the end user’sneeds. Therefore, this cooperation could also be named partnership and thecompanies involved – channel partners.

In order for this to work though, the channelhas to be carefully managed. This involves the process of development ofmarketing techniques as well as sales strategies. By doing this, companies areable to reach wider customer base which provides more opportunities for growth.Additionally, channel management deals with the design and development of aprogram for channel partners. The primary goal of this is to streamlinecommunication between the business and the customer which enables saleseffectiveness. When it comes to channel marketing, this function isresponsible for managing each aspect of the partner relationship.

This includeshandling communication, sales enablement, ADD!4.3 Relationship marketing – rephrase the second part ofthe sub chapter!The concept of relationship marketing first appearedin the fields of industrial marketing and service marketing. It can also beviewed as a sub-area of market focused management. This is an approach thatencompasses the process of establishing, maintaining and enhancing long-termassociations with customers and other stakeholders (Koiranen 1995). In essence,relationship marketing determines that it is more effective to invest inlong-term interactions as opposed to relying on series of unrelated one-timeexchanges. According to Grönroos, marketing as a process includes severalparties, the objectives of which have to be met. Indeed, the key assumption isthat all parties will be able to meet their objectives through this partnership.The way to achieve it is with the help of mutual exchange and fulfilment ofpromises.

This fact alone supposes that trust is an element of crucialimportance in marketing. Therefore, organisations make sure to manage theirchannel partnerships by providing value to all stakeholders. Thus, companiesare able to create competitive advantage.Furthermore, relationship marketing is quite a genericconcept. The reason is that it integrates many seemingly unrelated aspects ofthe marketing concept.

Examples of these include customer relationship,database marketing, sales management, strategic thinking, B2B marketing andlegal relationships. Each of these has the potential to offer valuable benefitsto all members of the partnership. However, in reality implementingrelationship marketing is seen as quite a challenge. This is the reason why. In practice, buyers form judgements about the value ofmarketing offers and then make their buying decision based on these judgements.Satisfaction with a purchase depends on the products performance relative tothe expectations. Expectations in turn are based on the customers past buyingexperiences. Therefore, marketers tend to almost all resources in theirimportance to increase customers’ satisfaction.

This is where successful andunsuccessful marketing differ.  Althougha customer-centred firm seeks to deliver high customer satisfaction relative tocompetitors, it does not focus solely on maximizing customers’ satisfaction. Inaddition to customers, the company has many stakeholders including employees,dealers, suppliers and stockholders. Spending more to increase customersatisfaction might divert funds from increasing the satisfaction of these otherpartners. Hence it should focus on satisfying both