How much technology can you put in a pair of pants? Sal can tell you. He is a young, optimistic artist who created the idea of modrobes. Modrobes are modern, casual loose fitting garments. He developed the pants himself and began trying to sell them. He encountered 2 related problems. Modrobes were completely new products, unlike anything anyone had ever seen before, so they had no credibility. Since modrobes had no credibility, many retailers would not consider selling them.
In order to solve his problems, Sal needed to increase the exposure of his new, interesting pants through the use of a marketing channel. This is a set of interdependent organizations that help make a product or service available for use or consumption by the consumer or business user. He originally used a direct marketing channel, meaning that he sold his pants straight to the consumer, without any intermediary actors. Sal had tried to sell his new product to retailers across the nation, but only 3 out of 60 liked his idea.
The mistake Sal made when presenting his idea was that he told the retailers that his pants would “reinvent clothing for the modern technology age.” He also said at one point that he wanted to use his pants to take over the world. Now, while Sal is very excited about his invention, some of the things he said sound ridiculous. Retailers need to be convinced that these pants will sell, not that they are completely different. Emphasizing that the pants will reinvent clothing implies to the retailers that no one has ever seen these pants before. Sal’s statements cause the retailers to think that these new pants may not sell because no one has ever heard of them.
Somewhat discouraged, Sal went to visit a friend at Brock University, where many of the students inquired about his exotic pants. His first smart decision came when he decided to stay at the school for a while and expose his pants to the student body. Sal then began traveling to different schools and setting up tables where he would sell his revolutionary new pants. He personally fitted around 10,000 people in a little over a year and a half.
When the popularity of modrobes began to grow, Sal realized he would need a set place where people could find him, so he stationed himself on Queen Street West in Toronto, Canada. As more and more people began to wear modrobes, the popularity of the pants continued to grow. Sal then took his modrobes idea and made a whole clothing line of flashy new pants, each with a bright, exotic color. Eventually, Sal opened a new “flagship” lounge area with a dj booth, where he would sell his modrobe clothing line. Soon, people began requesting modrobes at many different retail stores. Because of this, many retail stores decided to sell these modrobes.
The biggest thing that one can learn from Sal’s business is that designing and managing a marketing channel depends on the product or service idea. Products or services with a slight variation in the original idea may sell better with retailers. A completely new idea, like the modrobes, has to be proven to sell before retailers will consider carrying them at their stores. Retailers want to make a profit and will do everything in their power not to lose money. Therefore, retailers will not carry a product unless they can assure a profit will ensue.
In Sal’s case, he originally used a direct marketing channel by selling his modrobes straight to consumers. After testing out the market, he decided to use a multi-channel distribution system, by selling modrobes at his store and through retailers as well. Sal’s best idea was to use intensive distribution, or stocking his modrobes in as many outlets as possible. The popularity of his pants grew so quickly, that retailers saw the profit opportunity in the new product and then began to sell modrobes.