Marketing intermediaries refer to independent firms, including agents, wholesalers, and retailers, who play an assistive role in the flow of goods and services from manufacturers to consumers. They fall into four categories, namely brokers and marketing agents, wholesalers and resellers, distributors, and retailers (Kotler, 2016). Marketing agents and brokers link producers to end-users by providing a suitable environment for negotiation and exchange of goods and services for a fixed commission as a service fee. It should be noted that they do not take ownership of the merchandise on sale. Wholesalers and resellers purchase items in bulk directly from the producers and resell them to small businesses (Kotler, 2016). Distributors, also known as functional wholesalers, facilitate the transaction between manufacturers and retailers. Lastly, retailers constitute the final link between the end-users and producers and determine the final pricing of goods before consumption.
Distributors and wholesalers are essential for large businesses since they have the financial ability to move large loads of items from manufacturers to the distribution channel covering a large market area. On the other hand, retailers are suitable for small businesses because they have limited capacity and can comfortably supply lesser volumes of goods within a smaller geographical area (Kotler, 2016). Additional marketing channels can help in meeting the needs of the target consumers by influencing more connections with the market. For instance, an intermediary player may decide to use e-commerce or franchising to ensure faster and more efficient sales. While making a marketing decision is an integral part of product promotion, companies should strive to select the best channel partners to increase their contact with the right consumers. Intermediary partnerships create increased efficiency by streamlining the transactions from the producer to the end-user.
Kotler, P. (2016). A framework for marketing management. Pearson Education Limited.