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Route to Market (RTM) definition

Stockpics / (© Route to Market (RTM) )

Stockpics / (© Route to Market (RTM) )

Success online and in business generally is all about having the right information and the right knowledge. Here, knowledge really is power and knowing the right techniques and the right tips can help you to greatly increase your profits and your reputation. Knowing your route to market is about the most important knowledge there is. Route to market is a powerful business concept that can help you to save considerable time and act like a powerful growth hack for your website or business. Here we will look at what this term refers to, why it's so useful, and how to apply it to your own website.

What is the Route to Market?

Essentially a route to market is a route between you and the target demographic that you wish to sell to. For instance, if you have a website that sells wedding dresses, then your market is going to be women who are about to get married, and perhaps wedding planners and daydreamers. That is your target audience or your target demographic.

Your route to market in this case then would be anywhere that you know these people would go. For instance then, a great route to market here might be a website selling wedding rings. Getting an advertising spot on this site would be a fantastic boon for you, because you'd know that the visitors to that site would at least partially fall into your demographic, and because you and that site would not be competing with one another for customers. In fact, you could easily do a deal with a site like that in order to 'share' traffic and customers.

Generally, we don’t consider things like PPC to be routes to market. While they technically do fit the description, the term is more precisely used to describe single ‘locations’ or ‘opportunities’ where your target demographic are a captive audience.

More Routes to Market

Most business will have a great variety of routes to market though, and it's worth devoting some time here to thinking about who your site/product/service is aimed at, and where those people could be found. It's important to remember also that these routes to market don't all have to be online: there will be many places in the real world where you can find your audience and these are often great places to promote yourself.

openPR-Tip: For instance, a perfect example could be a wedding fair - which will of course have lots of people looking to get married, making it the perfect place to hand out business cards. Likewise, a flower shop could be a route to market, as could a bridal magazine.


Another concept to consider here though, is the 'receptivity' of your market when in that situation. Here it is all too easy to forget about the state of mind of the people you are promoting too, and to end up wasting your time.

This is one of the problems with a target mailing list. It might be a great route to market if you collected that mailing list in the right way, but if you e-mail someone in the morning before work, even if they are planning a wedding, then they aren't going to be likely to want to look at your site. Consider then who it is you are aiming for, where they are likely to go, and when they're going to be open to your message. Find the perfect route to market and it will be like shooting ducks in a barrel...

The Primary Route to Market Methods

There are several primary route to market methods that you’ll want to consider. But before you choose, you have to have some information. For example, you need to know where your customers shop and how they buy things.  You need to take your own budget into account. You also need to know what options are available to you. Let’s take a look at some of the primary route to market methods used.

The Wholesaler Route: If you sell as a wholesaler, you usually have to be the manufacturer of the product, because you are selling to retailers who will need to mark it up and make a profit. However, there are some businesses where you can be the wholesaler even if you are not the manufacturer yourself.

Remote Sales: Remote sales is when you sell to people that are far away from you. However, we are differentiating it here from online sales, since that is quite a different kettle of fish. Remote sales usually involves selling people items from a catalogue or brochure. However, you may use online communication such as email in order to communicate with these buyers, as well as other platforms like social media.

Various Online Sales Channels: There are a number of online sales channels that you can use to sell merchandise, both real world and digital. They include setting up an ecommerce website, selling books and other goods on Amazon and lots of other methods. There are also multiple ways that you can advertise your products and services online. Depending upon what sort of products or services you are selling, there are also multiple ways of delivering your products to the consumers.

Direct Sales: Direct sales is another method that you can use as your route to market. Direct sales usually involves you dealing directly with the consumer and handling everything in person – or possibly over the phone, although that sort of creeps into the territory of remote sales. A good example of direct sales is someone who sells a physical product – such as a vacuum cleaner – door to door, with the entire process happening during a single appointment.

Multiple Channels: Of course, you do not have to stick with a single route to market channel. While most people choose one channel at the beginning, since they are just starting out and may not have the budget for multiple channels, many businesses end up going with multiple channels instead. For example, brick-and-mortar businesses often expand into the online world.

Another Option: Building Your Business Around Routes to Market

In fact, a route to market can be so powerful, that it often makes sense to build your business around the routes to market that you know. Most people and most businesses will have a number of contacts and opportunities already available to them.

For instance, if you happen to be best friends with the editor of Gardener’s World, which has a circulation of 3,000,000 – then that is a fantastic route to market. If you were to build an app, then it would make sense to target that app at gardeners. Think about your contacts and your opportunities when building your empire!