Global marketing channels can be unique to each business in terms of figuring out what works best for them. Some of the ways in which companies achieve distribution and marketing channels to their consumers are as follows:
- Direct sales
- Agent intermediaries who do not take title to goods
- Merchant intermediaries operating as independent businesses
In a perfect world, if a firm decides to go with a foriegn intermediary than they should be able to provide the following:
- Intermediary should be capable of developing markets, not merely have good contacts
- Intermediaries are long term partners
- MNC seeks the intermediary, not the other way around
- Support your partner with necessary resources
Coca-Cola is an example of a company that has expanded internationally through not only acquiring companies to assist in distribution and marketing, but in some cases initially working with them. “The Coca-Cola Company business model is based on five large independent bottling partners. In 2019, these five bottling partners combined represented 40 percent of the total unit case volume the company sold,” (Cuafano, 2020).
For them, it has worked best to create a system in which initially Coca-Cola acts as a chain of bottling companies then in the long-term, it acts more like a franchiser, where bottling partners are kept mostly independent, yet tied to the Coca-Cola brand. “For instance, in 2019, Coca-Cola acquired the controlling interests in bottling operations in Zambia, Kenya, and Eswatini.” In the end, Coca-Cola makes money by selling its unique concentrate to bottlers in other countries.
This takes care of a lot of their distribution needs, while their marketing can remain unique, by various initiatives that allow the Coca-Cola brand to be seen globally. One of their strengths have been offering customization on its bottles in terms of local culture and language, with the most popular names of each region printed on cans and bottles in place of the company’s moniker. This campaign is the perfect example of effectively applying a localized positioning strategy to a global market. Additionally, their marketing initiative ‘Share a Coke’ campaign also successfully utilizes social networks to engage consumers and prompt them to share their Coke experience with others on a global scale. According to the Wall Street Journal, there were over 125,000 posts about the campaign in just one month after it launched in the United States, (Smartling, 2020).