What Is Intensive Distribution?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Intensive distribution is a type of marketing strategy that involves placing the goods and services offered by a company into as many markets as possible. The idea is that by making the products readily available to as many consumers as possible, the chances of generating sales are increased. There are a number of situations in which this approach allows consumers to easily purchase products from any number of different outlets, ranging from supermarkets to drugstores to the local gas station.

Intensive distribution often involves selling products in venues well beyond shopping malls.
Intensive distribution often involves selling products in venues well beyond shopping malls.

With intensive distribution, the focus is not necessarily on targeting specific consumer demographics for the purpose of deciding where to distribute those products. While a company may in fact have a core or target consumer base in mind, the business will also make it a point to sell its products in venues that are frequented by consumers other than that target audience. For example, a soda manufacturer may currently be focusing on older teens and younger adults as its primary market thrust, but will continue to distribute the soda products to outlets that are not necessarily destinations of that targeted demographic. This means that in addition to selling sodas at convenience stores, malls, and supermarkets, there is a good chance those same sodas will be found at retirement resorts, golf courses, and other locations that are traditionally visited by consumers outside that key demographic.

A number of different products are sold using an intensive distribution approach. In addition to sodas, it is also possible to find candy bars at a wide range of outlets. The same is true with some of the more common over the counter medications. Rather than being found solely in drugstores, aspirin is also sold in supermarkets, convenience stores, discount retail stores, and a range of other retail outlets.

When successful, an intensive distribution approach can greatly enhance the sales of a given product. As part of the process, the manufacturer builds recognition of the brand with consumers, which in turn increases the chances that those consumers will reach for that particular brand over another, no matter where they happen to be shopping at the time. Intensive distribution does not interfere with other marketing and promotional approaches, but can often function as an ancillary approach that helps to raise awareness of the product and entice consumers to pay more attention to commercials, print media ads, and other types of advertising that tout the benefits of a product, simply because consumers see the product everywhere they go.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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A few years ago I started a business, which was quite competitive and it was nearly impossible to increase sales. So, after a bit of digging, I found out about intensive distribution and surprisingly, my sales increased by 12 percent. Though, after this successful event, I gave it another shot (with a different company), but, sadly, it didn't work out quite good. Consequently, intensive distribution isn't always effective and before implementing it to your marketing strategy, a thorough analysis is a must.


@amysamp - I am just learning about these tactics, but I have a few thoughts. What if her tried a different distribution strategy such as a selective distribution strategy? This is another type of strategy that can work for some types of products, but I would need to know more about your product.

Also a possibility, if he is a small company he may give a larger company or a company that knows the area better exclusive distribution rights to his product. This is always something done with much caution as it involves someone else having rights over your product.


My husband tried this tactic with his small business), not so much with actual units (he has a company that sells a product that literally weighs a ton) so it would have been difficult to litter the market with the actual product.

He instead practiced marketing distribution in a specific region with marketing materials. It was the type of campaign that tried to reach his selective region and potential customers at least once a week for a month or so.

He did not receive great success with this campaign. Did anyone experience the same thing when they tried to do this intensive distribution strategy with marketing materials?

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