Distribution Channel Management

Optimizing the customer experience

Regardless of your business model, this intensive program will teach you how to design, develop, maintain and manage productive go-to-market relationships that optimize the customer experience. You'll be guided by some of some of the most highly regarded authorities in the field and learn to use a proven framework to synergize marketing and sales efforts, explore emerging technologies for increased efficiency and build productive, mutually rewarding relationships with channel partners and customers that create and sustain your competitive advantage.

This program delivers high-value content and practical tools applicable across a wide range of channel structures and associated challenges: Consumer goods and services companies selling through wholesalers and retailers. Business-to-business firms working through independent distributors and sales representatives. Retailers seeking to improve efficiency in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Intermediaries seeking to preserve their role in an increasingly fluid channel structure.

Synergize your marketing and sales initiatives

Who Should Attend

  • Senior executives – managers, directors and vice presidents – responsible for creating and managing channels of distribution in manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and service firms
  • Other senior leaders with strategic go-to-market responsibilities
  • Entrepreneurs in need of a go-to-market strategy

Key Benefits

  • Develop analytic skills through case studies and interactive mystery shopping, and apply lessons learned to your organization’s channel system
  • Learn methodologies and tools that will help you select channel intensity and appropriate partners, design incentives and resolve conflict
  • Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of channel activities by leveraging emerging technologies
  • Build symbiotic win-win-win channel and customer relationships

Program Content

Designing Channel Strategies for Specific Marketing Segments

  • Understand how your customers/end users buy and which channel benefits they value most - not just what, but how they want to buy
  • Target the highest potential channel segments in your market
  • Learn how to tailor channel experiences to deliver the priority benefits sought by channel customers

Organizing Channel Activities with the Right Set of Partners

  • Choose fitting channel intermediaries for target channel segments
  • Discover how to set your distribution intensity
  • Allocate channel functions to appropriate channel members for efficiency, effectiveness and customer experience optimization
  • Integrate your supply chain with your distribution and go-to-market approach

 Empathizing with Partners to Re-engineer Your Channels

  • Go beyond margins and commissions to solve critical business problems of fitting partners
  • Learn how to work with partners to jointly identify and solve end-user problems
  • Identify and manage around constraints that limit your optimal channel design

Aligning Channel Incentives from a Position of Power

  • Use channel pricing to align partner incentives
  • Leverage brand and expertise assets to become an indispensable channel partner
  • Apply effective power sources to manage ongoing channel conflict

Special Feature: Using the Channel Audit Toolkit

The Channel Audit Toolkit leads you through a full channel analysis. The handbook describes the audit process, while the workbook aids in the assessment of your channel design and operation. The toolkit is designed for use not just during the program but in your business afterward.


Anne Coughlan - Academic Director; Polk Bros. Chair in Retailing; Professor of Marketing

Sunil Chopra - IBM Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems; Professor of Operations

Richard I. Kolsky - Adjunct Professor of Executive Education

CPE Credits

Continuing Education Credit
This program is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and is recommended for 24.0 CPE credits.

Continuing Professional Education Information
The Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.nasbaregistry.org.

All Kellogg programs that qualify for CPE credits do not have pre-requisites. Advanced readings and case preparation is required. A packet of course materials is emailed to all participants before the program begins.

All Kellogg programs are group-live or internet-based. Program level: Advanced. For more information regarding administrative policies such as complaints and refunds, please contact our office at 847-467-7000.

What Participants Say

“Dr. Coughlan’s framework for understanding distribution and how to make management decisions has helped organize my thinking about the subject in a new way.”
VP/General Manager, IDEX Corporation, Greater Atlanta Area

“This is by far the best course I've ever taken on channel management. I highly recommend this course to channel managers seeking effective strategies to maximize the performance of their channel and the qualified service delivered to their end users.”
Global Channel Marketing Manager, Impinj, Inc.

“An intensely educational program providing more "a-ha moments" in 3 days than one may get in a lifetime.”
Global Sales & Market Development, General Cable

Personal Consultation

Please contact us to schedule an advising session

2020 Sessions

March 1-4, 2020

Start: March 1 at 3:00 PM

End: March 4 at 11:45 AM

Evanston campus


Fee includes lodging and most meals

Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208