"This is an outstanding resource presented in an easy-to-read... fashion." -- John D. Rosen, Amazon.com reviewer
<DIV><I>"This is an outstanding resource presented in an easy-to-read... fashion."</I> --<B> John D. Rosen,</B> Amazon.com reviewer</DIV>
<DIV><I>"A detailed book which sets out the mechanisms by which channels get product and sell it on at profit."</I> -- <B>ITEuropa</B></DIV>
This book represents the best part of thirty years personal and shared experience working with distribution businesses of all types in a variety or roles, starting initially as a accountant with Arthur Andersen, though to the last twenty two years as management consultant with VIA International, a firm that specialises in routes to market strategy and implementation. In that time I have had the opportunity to work with some of the world's leading practitioners in the field of distribution channels. And some pretty terrible ones too. In many ways, it is from the clients and situations where things were going wrong that the sharpest lessons could be drawn.
At VIA, we are lucky enough to spend most of our time consulting for some of the world's most successful brands and companies (yes, they still ask for help), which means we have seen an enormous amount of best practice. Often though, these companies are challenged by sheer scale, complexity and channel overlap or conflict which prevents them from seeing the business issues quite as clearly as they might. They are usually relieved to find we can bring some clarity and objectivity to the situation and can recommend strategies that are rooted in commercial logic to deliver the outcomes they need. Many of these situations have found their way into this book, albeit usually with a cloak of anonymity. You will find many real companies and situations named and described in the book too, but these insights are based on facts already in the public domain or well known among the trade.
Even more usefully, much of our work requires us to go inside the distribution models of our client's routes to market and investigate the actual measures and business model dynamics operating in the distributors and final tier trade channel players. This provides the basis for much of the insight into each type of channel business model laid out in the different sections of the book.
Finally, we have had the opportunity to work with many smaller companies and businesses, typically following the introduction of an injection of venture finance, which means that all concerned are expecting a sharp up-tick in sales. This growth often has to come from a combination of new customer segments, new markets or new products, which usually means new channels too. There have been some hard lessons learnt along the way about establishing a value proposition that will attract the players in the channels needed to deliver the required growth and these are laid out for you here too.
All of the content in this book has at some time or other been taught to people in real channel roles or distribution businesses, looking for insights, concepts, frameworks, heuristics and practical lessons that they can take away and apply. For many of the people attending these workshops, English has been their second or even third language, so the experience has been a good test of how to communicate business and financial concepts in terms that make sense to people who work in sales and marketing (and sometimes, vice versa too).