Don’t forget about the end user
For one project we are executing, our client’s goal is to increase the number of their current distributors enrolled in a support program during their business year. After a period of discovery, we proposed a multi-faceted communication campaign that included defining audiences and messaging, creating selling tools and sales force training materials, as well as direct communication and a significant PR/editorial/speaking initiative.
As we were planning the various breakout projects to implement our communication campaign, we kept coming back to the fact that, while our stated goal is to increase the number of distributors who have signed up, we cannot communicate only with distributors and lose focus on the end user. We must develop communication tools that help our clients’ distributors ‘pull’ end user demand into their business for the support program to be successful, creating more value in the support program for the distributors. This, in turn, causes more distributors to enroll in the support program and help achieve the client’s goal.
The reason I mention this is that my experience has shown that many companies spend time developing their distribution channel, pushing their product into the channel and then depending upon the channel to cultivate demand with the end user for their product or service. While this is certainly necessary for success, a more strategic approach would be to also communicate directly to the end user and direct them to your chosen distribution channel or representation. This ensures that you have brand awareness at the end user level and, by having communication with the end user, that you can overcome changes in your distribution or representation should they occur.