Channels and Physical Distribution

Channels and Physical Distribution

Instructor: Dr. Randall S. Hansen
Office (LBC 414D) Phone: 822-7495
Office Hours: T/Th, 4:00-6:00; and by appointment


To survey, organize, and integrate the theories and practices relative to current problems of marketing channel management and its use as a key strategic marketing tool. Distribution is reviewed as a functional area within the firm and its interface with channel intermediaries is analyzed. Finally, we'll also be examining the impact of the Internet and Web-based e-tailors on channels of distribution.

Furthermore, because communications skills -- both oral and written -- are required of successful businesspeople, one of the purposes of this course is to sensitize you to the importance of developing good communications skills. As part of the course, therefore, you will do a variety of written oral communication exercises... My role in this process is to monitor your progress and to provide you with timely feedback. Your primary role is to participate conscientiously.



Required: Marketing Channels: A Management View, Bert Rosenbloom.

Required: Business Week, or other business-oriented publications -- either in print or online -- if approved by instructor.



Grading will be done on a numerical scale during the semester, with a final letter grade determined at the end of the course. Each graded item has been given a point value, and the percentage of points to total points will determine grade. Eg., 672 points (out of total 800) is an 84--a 'B.'

Plus/Minus grading will apply: 93-100 = A; 90-92 = A-; 87-89 = B+; 83-86 = B; 80-82 = B-; 77-79 = C+; 73-76 = C; 70-72 = C-; 67-69 = D+; 63-66 = D: 60-62 = D-; under 60 = F.

Points Distribution
Personal Mission Statement 50 points
Tests (2 scheduled @ 100 pts.) 200 points
Retail Channels Review 100 points
Retail Channel Term Project 300 points
Term Project Presentation 50 points
Attendance & Participation 100 points
Maximum Obtainable Points 800 points

Please refer to the Channels of Distribution Calendar for due dates and assignments.


Personal Mission Statement:

A mission statement is a declaration of an organization's purpose. A clear mission statement is said to act as an "invisible hand" that guides employees of an organization. Mission statements should be:

  1. realistic;
  2. specific;
  3. reflective of the current environment;
  4. based on distinctive core competencies;
  5. motivating.

For this assignment, you are required to develop a personal mission statement. The mission statement can be up to one page in length. Because the mission statement is obviously a personal document, grading will be based on the thoughtfulness, the seriousness with which you treated the assignment, and the absence of serious writing flaws (such as run-on sentences and misspellings/typos).

Read a great article on writing a mission statement. Then follow this link to read a few sample mission statements, including Dr. Hansen's mission statement.



There are two scheduled take-home tests planned for the semester -- a midterm and final. They will always be given out a week before they are due. Each will include one to three essay questions on the material covered previously. You are expected to do your own work. Answers will be typed.


Retail Channels Review:

Just about every Thursday of the term is designated as a "Marketing/Channels/Retail Trends Reports/Discussions Day." One these Thursdays, two to three students will be responsible for leading a discussion on a current issue in the channels/retail environment. Topics and articles for discussion are up to each student; you will be assigned a date for your discussion day.

Format: On the Tuesday before your scheduled discussion day, distribute copies of your information to the class so that we may have a chance to review it before the next class. On the Thursday you are assigned, you will be responsible for leading a discussion into the article, including the potential impact on the marketing channel.

Grading: You will be graded both on your abilities to lead the discussion as well as the quality of writing in a one-page executive summary you will submit on the day you present.


Retail Term Project:

Students will submit written comprehensive company analyses on a key player in one area of the retail channel. This project requires a complete strategic analysis of the company and should draw upon the entire set of readings and discussions of the course.

The format of the paper can be broken down into three sections, with two of these sections due during the semester -- check the calendar for due dates:

  • Company Overview
  • Industry Analysis
  • Critical Issues Facing the Company (and recommendations for addressing these critical issues)

Secondary information, including but not limited to the retailer's annual report, articles written about the retailer, and industry analyses should be gathered -- you can find many sources for this type of information at Quintessential Careers: Guide to Researching Companies.

There is no page limit on the written analysis, but you should try and limit papers to 10 pages, not including appendices.

Projects will be graded according to the following criteria: thoroughness of secondary research, appropriate use of analytical tools and techniques, quality of analysis, comprehensiveness of recommendations, writing clarity and form, presentation clarity and quality, and organization of written report.


Term Project Presentation:

Presentations are encouraged to be informative, lively, and complete with "bells and whistles." Presentations should last about 15-20 minutes (including set-up time), and be professionally presented. Attire can be business casual.

You will be graded on presentation style, including mannerisms, projection, bells and whistles, etc.


Attendance & Participation:

It is expected. You will not lose points for being absent from a class, however, no projects, quizzes, etc. can be made-up. Nothing can be made up unless arranged with the instructor prior to class.

When you are in class, you are expected to be an active participant in any classroom discussions. Be prepared to talk, argue, discuss.


Classroom Etiquette:

Please do not hold conversations with classmates whenever the professor or another student is speaking. Your undivided attention in class is a must. An atmosphere of mutual respect is in order. The professor reserves the right to request a student to leave if his or her behavior seems inappropriate and disrespectful.



Times and dates are subject to change -- check the Channels Calendar for the most current due dates. Be prepared.

It is expected that all work you do in this class be original and prepared for this class only.

I am always willing to see my students and will go out of my way to schedule meetings. Please make sure that if you make an appointment, that you keep it.

Finally, as will quickly become apparent, email is by far the easiest and most reliable method to reach me.

Go back to Dr. Randall Hansen's Courses Page.