The New Distribution

Empty reference shelves
Image from Andrew|W Flickr stream

Physical products have an inherent challenge of distribution. Figuring out how to get a product exposed and in the hands of consumers is much of the challenge of being successful, especially at a lower price point.

With digital goods and services, distribution is completely different. It’s less about shelf space, inventory and logistics. Moving bits versus moving matter is easy. The hard part is getting an audience to pay attention. This is a real challenge where anyone and everyone can create digital items.

Think of distribution as how much attention you can attract and retain because the cause, the value and the brand matter that much.

Every industry has different challenges in this regard. In your own, the job is to hit resonance with inattentive buyers and ensure your systems and process connect. It is a different price to pay than traditional distribution.

Want to become more effective at the new distribution? Here are some strategies to employ:

  1. Specialize. A surefire way to be ignored is to be diluted with too many offerings or messages. Focus and specialize on what you want to be known for. Make your brand singular and laser focused. People call me for business strategy. I don’t try being a finance expert or supply chain advisor. I may have opinions about them, but I don’t put them out there. It creates more noise and confusion. Better to focus on the thing I am known for and want to connect on.
  2. Give value. This can happen near and far now. Study people in social media circles and figure out what is valuable to them. Then deliver it creatively. Those that you can call or meet, be a giver. Bring business. Share compassion. Help them with their problems. It’s a symbiotic world today. Your value is enhanced by your network and the love you show them.
  3. Show Leadership. If all things are equal, I want to work with and buy from the leader. Ensure your positioning is clear and there is not ambiguity. If you are a mouse-click from another option, you must be the leader. It presents security for a buyer who does not know you.

The distribution is different, but people are the same. We have different ways to access what we want and the dynamics of competition have changed. Your opportunity is to master the new rules for promoting your brand.

What are the challenges you are facing with your distribution?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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