Communicating for Better Channel Relationship

Marketing Management, Vol. 8, pp. 39-45, Summer 1999

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-379

8 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2017

See all articles by Jakki Mohr

Jakki Mohr

University of Montana - School of Business Administration

Robert Fisher

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law

John Nevin

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Marketing

Date Written: June 1, 1998

Abstract

Managing channel relationships continues to be a vexing issue for manufacturers. Manufacturers want dealers to be committed and satisfied and to coordinate their activities, but sometimes these outcomes can be elusive. Manufacturers have tools to gain dealer cooperation, including outright ownership, contractual/franchise relationships, or the use of power. However, these options may not be palatable or available to all manufacturers. This study of computer dealers found that collaborative communication has a strong, positive effect on dealer commitment to, and satisfaction and coordination with, a focal manufacturer when that manufacturer did not (or could not) use ownership, franchise relationships, or power to influence its dealers. In this sense, then, when other methods to gain dealer cooperation are not relied upon, collaborative communication strategies may be used to positively affect outcomes.

In today's volatile business environment, coordinating efforts between manufacturers and dealers continues to be potentially troublesome, yet rewarding. Channel relationships are difficult to manage, given the very different goals and objectives of dealers and manufacturers. In addition, with the advent of the Internet and database marketing, changes in the go-to-market landscape mean manufacturers and dealers (not to mention customers) have more choices. Finally, consolidation in many industries means that larger firms -- both manufacturers and dealers -- are able to exert more control over relationships with partners, and smaller players are left struggling to have a voice in the market.

In light of these monumental changes, several critical issues arise: How can channel relationships be managed to emphasize shared interests and common goals? How can manufacturers increase the likelihood that dealers comply with their programs and policies? Under what conditions will dealers feel satisfied with and committed to the manufacturer?

Suggested Citation

Mohr, Jakki and Fisher, Robert and Nevin, John, Communicating for Better Channel Relationship (June 1, 1998). Marketing Management, Vol. 8, pp. 39-45, Summer 1999; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-379. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2275046

Jakki Mohr

University of Montana - School of Business Administration ( email )

Gallagher Business Building
32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 59812
United States
(406) 243-2920 (Phone)

Robert Fisher (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

John Nevin

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Marketing ( email )

United States

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