January 28, 2015

Marketers vs. Channel Operators

There is a big difference in being a channel operator, and being a marketer.

A channel operator says "mobile first" because the channel operator believes that the future is mobile. A marketer utilizes mobile to sell merchandise that a young individual wishes to purchase via mobile, and acts accordingly if the merchandise assortment doesn't cater to a mobile user.

A channel operator wants product, pricing, promotions aligned across all channels. A marketer looks at what the target customer in each market wants, and then markets the appropriate merchandise assortment to unique customers by channel.

A channel operator believes that the merchandise assortment is fine, and that the business can grow by offering the product in more channels. A marketer knows that if the merchandise assortment is desired by the customer, the customer will buy more merchandise via the channel the customer wishes to transact in, allowing the channel operator to succeed.

The channel operator wants to tear down silos, and have everybody working off the same blueprint. The marketer knows that employees don't get along, and as a result, the marketer creates solutions that benefit the customer while maximizing interpersonal work relationships.

The channel operator wants the marketing budget to expand in an effort to cover numerous marketing channels. The marketer allocates the marketing budget efficiently, based on what works best.

The channel operator says that "the customer" wants an omnichannel experience. The marketer knows that "some customers" want an omnichannel experience.

The channel operator believes that the customer purchases because of channel execution. The marketer knows that without merchandise, price, customer service, and story, the customer doesn't buy.

The channel operator is dazzled by technology, and assumes that the customer, too, is dazzled by technology. The marketer figures out how to get a customer to buy something in lieu of optimal technology.

Now, let's be fair. The channel operator can generate a business a lot of profit. But the channel operator is not a marketer, and is certainly not a merchant. Without merchandise that the customer has to have, both the marketer and the channel operator are in trouble. The marketer has the imagination to craft a story around merchandise. The channel operator struggles to tell a story. Where possible, focus on merchandise & story.