Innovation in Marketing Channels

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The management of distribution channels is going through profound changes. The definition of new business models and innovations has greatly altered the nature and structure of marketing channels. For instance, the user-based innovation, the diffusion of user communities and the evolution of digital tools has redefined how people purchase goods and services (both in B2C and B2B), opening up a whole new array of opportunities for channels of distribution. The course aims to introduce the main issues involved in marketing channel strategy - including channel structure, channel design and management, channel performance. Students will be provided with an overview of conventional multi-channel distribution strategies, exploring the impact of internet-based technologies and the key implications for distribution decisions. The first part of the course focuses on the nature of marketing channels, within the marketing mix, understanding how they evolve, progress and change. Channel players, behavioral processes, potential conflicts, power, roles and communication will be discussed. The second part of the course focuses on how to effectively design, manage and evaluate a marketing channels strategy, integrating theoretical frames with real case histories. Central issues around innovation in the digital economy will be covered, gaining knowledge on how to make products or services available to customers in more effective ways. The course will enable students to identify the various channel functions and to analyse and interpret the main issues in channel design and management. Students will learn how to connect marketing channels to main trends in the marketplace.
Expected learning outcomes
Participants will gain in-depth knowledge of the levers that enable innovation in marketing channels; they will be able to acquire the latest knowledge about alternative marketing management strategies and to compare and contrast between radical and incremental channel innovations. They will be able to discuss major principles and theories learned in class, working in case-based sessions. At the end of the course, they will be able to critically evaluate B2B and B2C marketing channel strategies. The knowledge acquired will allow students to examine the challenges of innovative marketing channel projects and be able to structure a channel management strategy.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
Metodi didattici
The course combines synchronous virtual lectures using Microsoft Teams and some asynchronous video recorded lectures.
Both synchronous and asynchronous lectures will be video recorded and made available to students on Ariel

Programma e materiali di riferimento
The program will not undergo changes

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento e criteri di valutazione
In case exams cannot be undertaken in presence, a written exam will be carried out on line using
Written exam will be based on multiple choice questions
Course syllabus
1. The marketing channel defined: basic definitions and constructs
2. Channel participants
3. Behavioural dimensions in marketing channels: Role and conflict

1. Channel design: variables, architecture and issues
2. The role of services in marketing channels
3. Comparison between offline and online channels
4. E-tailing: models and benefits

1. Multichannel & Omnichannel: the evolution of companies
2. Machine learning & Artificial Intelligence: opportunities for channel innovation
3. Marketing channels adoption: strategies to gain sales and market shares
4. Understanding the effectiveness of channel innovation
Prerequisites for admission
Foundations of Management; Basics of Marketing
Teaching methods
The course will employ traditional class lecture together with brainstorming sessions, group presentation and other participatory teaching method. Group presentations will be based on real-life simulations.
Teaching Resources
Castaldo, S. Grosso, M., Premazzi, K. 2013. Retail and Channel Marketing. Edward Elgar
Rosenbloom, B. 2013. Marketing Channels: A Management view. 8th Edition. Cengage Learning (chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 15)

- Additional readings as detailed in the Syllabus
- Slides available on Ariel
- Class discussions
- Student presentations
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written exam based on multiple choice questions and open-ended questions. The exam is "closed book" and no support material or devices are allowed.
Duration: 90 minutes.
SECS-P/08 - MANAGEMENT - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours