Distribution Channel

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Distribution in the Wider Marketing Context
Although the focus of this thesis is on distribution, it is important to see distribution as a critical aspect of an organisation’s wider marketing strategy. Hudson (2008: 8) cited Kotler’s (1984) definition of marketing which reflected the importance of distribution as a major aspect of the marketing process:

The process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchange that satisfy individual (customer) and organisational objectives

Doyle and Stern (2006) emphasised ‘product’, ‘price’, ‘place’ (distribution) and ‘promotion’ as the four classical strategic elements of the marketing mix (4Ps). In considering the marketing of intangible services, rather than tangible products, these four elements were expanded by Wearne and Morrison (1998) in the light of their interest in hospitality marketing to include: ‘people’ and ‘positioning’. Smith and Chaffey also added ‘physical evidence’; ‘processes’; partnership (alliances) to the service product marketing mix. Doyle and Stern (2006) highlighted ‘staff’ and ‘service’ as elements in the service products’ marketing mix to the classical 4Ps. Actually, these two latter elements, which were added by Doyle and Stern (2006), were included in the previous elements - the ‘service’ element is the main component of the ‘product’ element in service products and the ‘staff’ element is reflected in the ‘people’ element. In this study, the marketing mix will be considered as including: product, price, place, promotion, people, positioning; process; physical evidence; partnership. Distribution was located by different authors under the ‘place’ element in an organisation’s marketing mix (e.g. Wearne and Morrison, 1998). Doyle and Stern (2006) went further and considered ‘distribution’ as synonymous with the term ‘place’ in the marketing mix. Smith and Chaffey (2005) supported this point of view and emphasised...
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