Marketing Channel Strategy : An Omni-Channel Approach book cover
9th Edition

Marketing Channel Strategy
An Omni-Channel Approach

ISBN 9780367262099
Published July 29, 2019 by Routledge
402 Pages

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Book Description

Marketing Channel Strategy: An Omni-Channel Approach is the first book on the market to offer a completely unique, updated approach to channel marketing. Palmatier and Sivadas have adapted this classic text for the modern marketing reality by building a model that shows students how to engage customers across multiple marketing channels simultaneously and seamlessly.

The omni-channel is different from the multi-channel. It recognizes not only that customers access goods and services in multiple ways, but also that they are likely doing this at the same time; comparing prices on multiple websites, and seamlessly switching between mobile and desktop devices. With the strong theoretical foundation that users have come to expect, the book also offers lots of practical exercises and applications to help students understand how to design and implement omni-channel strategies in reality.

Advanced undergraduate and graduate students in marketing channels, distribution channels, B2B marketing, and retailing classes will enjoy acquiring the most cutting-edge marketing skills from this book.

A full set of PowerPoint slides accompany this new edition, to support instructors.

Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures, and Appendices


CHAPTER 1: The Omni-Channel Ecosystem

Learning Objectives


What Is a Marketing Channel?

The Changing Channel Landscape

Marketing Channel Actors

Manufacturers: Upstream Channel Members

Intermediaries: Middle Channel Members


Retail Intermediaries

Specialized Intermediaries

End-Users: Downstream Channel Members

Combinations of Channel Members

Online Channels

From a Multi-Channel to an Omni-Channel World

Distinction Between Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel Marketing Strategies: Trends Driving the Shift

Trend 1: Channel Participants Operate in a Connected World

Trend 2: Cross-Channel Shopping

Trend 3: Altered Shopping Norms

Trend 4: Moving into Services

Trend 5: Targeted Promotions and Customer Insights

Channel Strategy Framework



CHAPTER 2: Channel Basics

Learning Objectives


The Importance of Marketing Channel Strategies

Why Do Marketing Channels Exist?

Benefits for Downstream Channel Members

Search Facilitation


Benefits to Upstream Channel Members

Routinization of Transactions

Fewer Contacts

The Key Functions Marketing Channels Perform

Channel Functions

Designing Channel Structures and Strategies

Auditing Marketing Channels

Auditing Channel Functions Using the Efficiency Template

Evaluating Channels: The Equity Principle

Evaluating Channels: Zero-Based Channel Concept

Auditing Channels Using Gap Analysis

Sources of Channel Gaps

Service Gaps

Cost Gaps

Combining Channel Gaps

Evaluating Channels: Gap Analysis Template

Make-or-Buy Channel Analysis

Auditing Omni-Channels


CHAPTER 3: Channel Power

Learning Objectives

Introduction: The Nature of Marketing Channels


Power as a Tool

The Five Sources of Channel Power

Reward Power

Coercive Power

Expert Power

Legitimate Power

Referent Power

Dependence as the Mirror Image of Power

Defining Dependence

Measuring Dependence

Utility and Scarcity

Percentage of Sales or Profits

Role Performance

Balancing Power: A Net Dependence Perspective

Imbalanced Dependence

Strategies for Balancing Dependence

Strategies for Tolerating Imbalanced Dependence

Power-Based Influence Strategies

Omni-Channels and Power


CHAPTER 4: Channel Relationships

Learning Objectives


Why Do Relationships Matter in Marketing Channels?

Upstream Motives for Building a Strong Channel Relationship

Downstream Motives for Building a Strong Channel Relationship

Building Channel Commitment

Need for Expectations of Continuity

Need for Reciprocation: Mutual Commitment

Strategies for Building Commitment

How Downstream Channel Members Commit

How Upstream Channel Members Commit

Building Channel Trust

Need for Economic Satisfaction

Strategies for Building Channel Partners’ Trust

Role of Noneconomic Factors

Decision-Making Processes

Overcoming Channel Distrust

Preventing Perceptions of Unfairness

The Channel Relationship Lifecycle

The Five Stages of a Channel Relationship

Managing the Stages

Managing Troubled Relationships

Relationship Portfolios

Relationship Quality

Multi-Channel Versus Omni-Channel Relationships


CHAPTER 5: Channel Conflict

Learning Objectives


The Nature of Channel Conflict

Types of Conflict

Measuring Conflict

Consequences of Conflict

Functional Conflict: Improving Channel Performance

Manifest Conflict: Reducing Channel Performance

Major Sources of Conflicts in Channels

Competing Goals

Differing Perceptions of Reality

Intrachannel Competition


Identifying Multi-Channel Conflicts

Managing Multiple Channels

Unwanted Channels: Gray Markets

Mitigating the Effects of Conflict in Balanced Relationships

Conflict Resolution Strategies

Forestalling Conflict through Institutionalization

Information-Intensive Mechanisms

Third-Party Mechanisms

Building Relational Norms

Using Incentives to Resolve Conflicts


CHAPTER 6: Retailing Structures and Strategies

Learning Objectives

The Nature of Retailing

Classification of Retailers


Warehouse Clubs

Department Stores

Specialty Stores

Full Line Discount Stores

Convenience and Drug Stores

The Retail Landscape

The Big Players

Modern Shifts and Challenges

Retail Positioning Strategies

Cost-Side Positioning Strategies

Demand-Side Positioning Strategies


Spatial Convenience

Waiting and Delivery Time

Product Variety

Customer Service

Retail Channels

Internet Retail Channels & E-Commerce

Direct Selling Channel

Hybrid Retail Channels

Retailer Power and Its Effects

Effect on Forward Buying

Effect on Slotting Allowance

Effect on Failure Fees

Effect on Private Branding

Retailing Structures and Strategies


CHAPTER 7: Wholesaling Structure and Strategies

Learning Objectives


What Is a Wholesaler?

How Are Wholesalers Different from Distributors?

The Wholesaler-Distributor Landscape

Master Distributors

Other Supply Chain Participants

Wholesaling Strategies

A Historical Perspective on Wholesaling Strategy

Wholesaling Value-Added Strategies

Alliance-Based Wholesaling Strategies

Wholesaler-Led Initiatives

Manufacturer-Led Initiatives

Retailer-Sponsored Cooperatives

Consolidation Strategies in Wholesaling

Adapting to Trends in Wholesaling

International Expansion


B2B Online Exchanges

Online Reverse Auctions

Fee for Services

Vertical Integration of Manufacturing into Wholesaling


CHAPTER 8: Franchising Structure and Strategies

Learning Objectives

Franchising Formats

Product and Trade Name Franchising

Business Format Franchising

The Franchising Arrangement

Benefits of Franchising

To Franchisees

Start-Up Package

Ongoing Benefits

Competitive Advantages of Franchising

To Franchisors

Financial and Managerial Capital for Growth

Harnessing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Reasons Not to Franchise

Franchising Strategies

Franchising Contracting Strategies

Payment Systems



Contract Consistency

Contract Enforcement

Self-Enforcing Agreements

Company Store Strategies

Market Differences

Temporary Franchise and Company Outlets

Plural Forms and Synergies

Exploiting Franchises with Company Outlets

Adapting to Challenges in Franchising

Survival Trends

Maintaining a Cooperative Atmosphere

Managing Inherent Goal Conflict

Multi-Unit Franchising

Franchising and Omni-Channels


CHAPTER 9: Channels and International Markets

Learning Objectives


Key Middlemen in International Business

Export Management Companies

Export Trading Companies


International Retailing

International Franchising

International Distribution Challenges

The Role of the Wholesaler

Marketing to the Base of the Pyramid

Defining the Market

Ethical Considerations at the BOP

Distribution to the BOP

Omni-Channel and Global Marketing



CHAPTER 10: End-User Analysis: Segmenting and Targeting

Learning Objectives

Introduction: Understanding the Importance of Channel Segmentation

End-User Segmentation Criteria: Service Outputs

Bulk Breaking

Spatial Convenience

Waiting or Delivery Time

Product Variety and Assortment

Customer Service

Information Sharing

Segmenting End-Users by Service Output

Targeting End-User Segments

Omni-Channels and End-User Segments


CHAPTER 11: Omni-Channel Strategy

Learning Objectives


Key Challenges of the Omni-Channel Approach

The Four Pillars of an Omni-Channel Strategy

Harnessing Customer Knowledge

Leveraging Technology

Managing Channel Relationships

Assessing Channel Performance



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Robert W. Palmatier is Professor of Marketing and John C. Narver Endowed Professor in Business Administration at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington, USA and the Research Director of the Sales and Marketing Strategy Institute.

Eugene Sivadas is Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean at the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington Tacoma, USA.

Louis W. Stern is John D. Gray Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA.

Adel I. El-Ansary is the Donna L. Harper Professor of Marketing at the University of North Florida, USA.


"Marketing Channel Strategy: An Omni-Channel Approach is fresh, insightful, and packed with information. The material is easy to read and digest and flows well. Readers will walk away with a clear understanding of the omni-channel ecosystem and how to build effective omni-channel strategies. The role and impact of omni-channels on each sector of the channel landscape is clearly laid out. The book is built on solid theoretical foundation but is very managerial at the same time." –Rajdeep Grewal, The Townsend Family Distinguished Professor and Area Chair, Marketing Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Marketing Research, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA

"Marketing Channel Strategy: An Omni-Channel Approach is a very readable and updated take on a classic text. Omni-channels are growing in importance, and they fundamentally change the way firms go to market and connect with their customers. Unfortunately, however, there are few available frameworks to guide managerial decision-making in this area. This book draws on current academic research and industry practice to develop a compelling strategic framework that fills this void in the literature. The framework’s guiding principle is the idea of an omni-channel ‘ecosystem,’ and the authors apply it to a variety of different channel contexts, including wholesaling, franchising, and retailing. The book is packed with insights, and the authors do an excellent job of illustrating them with current examples." –Jan B. Heide, Michael Lehman Distinguished Chair in Business, Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

"This leading textbook on marketing channels is completely redone and offers a unique take on channel marketing management in the light of the present-day reality. Marketing Channel Strategy: An Omni-Channel Approach builds a model that shows students and practicing managers how to engage and make the customer experience seamless across multiple channels. I find the chapter on international channels and base of the pyramid particularly informative, pragmatic, and interesting. The book is modular and can be used in a variety of classes including retailing, international marketing, channels, e-marketing, and marketing strategy." –Constantine S. Katsikeas, Arnold Ziff Research Chair and Professor of Marketing and International Management, University of Leeds, UK

"Effective omni-channel management is a critical source of value and an important differential edge in the modern marketplace. Given the trends toward omni-channel ecosystems, it is key that managers and managers-in-training (i.e., students) focus more of their attention on channel management. This cutting-edge text can be a catalyst for renewed interest in channel management; it highlights the need for a greater focus on this element of the go-to-market marketing strategy." Dhruv Grewal, Toyota Chair of Commerce and Electronic Business and Professor of Marketing, Babson College, USA

"Marketing Channel Strategy: An Omni-Channel Approach blends theory with practice-oriented examples to clearly enunciate the difference between a multi-channel and omni-channel worldview. The examples and exercises make it easy for managers and students to grasp the challenges involved in developing effective omni-channel strategies. This book can be used as a stand-alone in a distribution or channel strategy class or modules can be used in a variety of marketing classes." –Robert Dahlstrom, Joseph Siebert Professor, Miami University, USA and Professor of Marketing, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway