No matter how inexpensive or well designed your products are, if you can’t get them to consumers in a timely fashion your business will never reach its potential. Consumers expect consistent service and reliable access to your products. If you can’t offer that, they will turn to your competitors.


Marketing involves determining and meeting the needs of target markets. For example, a jewelry manufacturer might research a market and find that middle-income earners want affordable but durable accessories. The manufacturer designs suitable products, creates an advertising campaign to stimulate consumer demand for its new product line and distributes the products to retail stores or directly to consumers. The entire process of bringing a product to market, from its inception to final sale, is called the marketing process.


Logistics is the step in marketing that involves getting products to consumers. On a small scale, it is easy enough for a company to mail orders to customers or allow customers to pick them up. But as the size of an operation increases, more organized and efficient approaches become necessary to keep costs down. For example, if the jewelry manufacturer wants to sell its new product line in retail stores dispersed across the country, it will need a comprehensive logistics plan to distribute and ship the products to where consumer demand is highest.


The chief goal of logistics is to cut distribution costs while speeding up delivery time. Lower costs mean the manufacturer can afford to lower its prices, increasing the attractiveness of its products to consumers. Prompt delivery, whether direct to consumers or to retail stores, also impresses consumers.

Wholesalers and Distributors

To achieve both these benefits, many manufacturers work with wholesalers and distributors that specialize in efficient and speedy product distribution. Some companies contract with a shipping company, while others sell their products to wholesalers, which then sell the products to retail stores. Working with specialists allows manufacturers to focus on what they’re good at -- creating products that meet consumer needs -- rather than handle complicated shipping procedures.


From the creation of a product to the time it reaches a consumer, marketers and logisticians must work together to achieve the business’ goals. For example, the jewelry manufacturer’s logistics department might collaborate with the marketing department to ensure products will ship in appropriate quantities to markets that receive promotional advertising. Simultaneously, the logistics department might work with the telemarketing department to process and expedite direct orders from consumers.