Recently, I’ve been working with some friends that have some great products they’d like to take to market. As we’ve been brainstorming sales channels, I’ve delved deeper into the wholesale/distribution channel, and learned more than I ever wanted to know about how the “middleman” works. Since most of my time is spent marketing services, I haven’t focused much on the retail sales pipeline in the past.
Of course, there is the irony that my job is to help clients take products and services to market, while my personal conviction is that we don’t need any more “stuff” to spend our money on, and instead we need to focus our time and energy on building relationships with the people we love while making memories to last a lifetime–rather than creating compelling value propositions for why we, as consumers, should consume more “goods.” But … we’ll save my hypocritical soul-wrenching desire to change career paths for another day.
So, this wholesale > distribution > retail model is really quite fascinating. It has led me to ponder how our entire economy is based on a middle layer of corporations that do not actually provide a valuable product. They simply jump in the middle, take a cut of the profits, and push goods around. Something like the drug dealer on the street who isn’t actually cultivating the drugs … just pushing them to make a cut of the profits.
Which, naturally, led me to consider my own role as a marketing consultant, and how there is yet another layer of marketing services necessary to take goods to market, thus adding more expenses to get a perfectly good product into the hands of perfectly good consumers. It is no wonder that our country’s GDP is consumer spending.
There is something wrong here.
But, as you know, I’m a solution finder. So, here’s my plan … when I sell all of my “goods” and relocate to my tropical island in the South Pacific, I will catch fish and grow my own vegetables, and weave skirts out of banana leaves. No middlemen there. Just me and Mother Nature.
I challenge you to tell me that does not sound really, really good.