Like a kid in a candy store: Which distribution channel to use?

I received an email today from one of our regular Entrepreneurship 101 participants thanking MaRS and Mark Zimmerman for putting on “one of the best lectures (they) have had the pleasure of attending”.  Read Kalpesh’s email below…

The Power of Case Studies!

Mark Zimmerman’s lecture on distribution, a seemingly complex and relatively dry aspect of business, was anything but dry. In one hour, Mark taught us some valuable lessons through a mix of theory and case studies. In the theory section, Mark explained a distribution framework and the case study was about Nespresso, which helped provide a very real context.

As a fledgling entrepreneur, I have a ton of distribution choices and I have been struggling to find the optimal distribution set-up for my business. Mark said it’s OK to mix and match between direct and indirect channels and the choices therein, but he also advised to optimize a distribution channel before taking off in many directions. I found Mark’s framework particularly useful as it provided clear sign posts for the choice of distribution set-up based on specific factors such as market type, stage, complexity, price and customer preferences. (Please view lecture video for further explanations).

As Mark talked through those factors, I found myself quickly mapping where my business fell within that framework. I am happy to report that I walked out of that lecture with much less uncertainty than I had going in.

And the lecture got better. We covered the Nespresso case in detail and bits from other cases including Apple, Zappos, Threadless, Zara and even Dell. These cases really helped provide a realistic perspective. It added relevance, made that distribution framework practical and, even though it was a serious problem faced by Nestle, a global multi-million dollar corporation, I could totally see how someday I might be in Jean Paul Gaillard’s shoes facing a similar problem with my company!

My thanks to Mark Zimmerman for a fantastic lecture!

Kalpesh Patel
Co-Founder & President, Lifestrummer Inc.

On behalf of the ENT101 team, we thank you for your valuable insights and welcome other participants to blog on our lectures as well. Please contact

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Marielle Voksepp

Marielle works as part of the education team at MaRS. She helps entrepreneurs get access to business resources both online and in-person. See more…