Upstream and Downstream Marketing Defined

Lately, I have had some folks ask me about upstream and downstream marketing.  IMO the concept of downstream market is much better understood and utilized in the world than upstream […]

Lately, I have had some folks ask me about upstream and downstream marketing.  IMO the concept of downstream market is much better understood and utilized in the world than upstream marketing.  Each, on their own, are very important pieces to your overall marketing efforts.  Let’s define each:

Upstream marketing focuses on innovation.  It attempts to answer 2 very important questions,  where the market is moving and what customers will want next.  It analyzes how the end-users uses the product or service and what competitive advantage will be required to win the customer and at what price point. It is done very early in the product or service development cycle.  I like to think of it as product marketing for the next product, upstream.

Downstream marketing, by comparison, focus on short-term sales and supporting the overall selling efforts.  It involves the tactical components such as; advertising, promotion, brand-building and communicating with customers through public relations, trade shows and events. While these activities are important, they enhance the acceptance of a product or service that already exists, downstream.

Every successful company will leverage both upstream and downstream marketing to deliver the best product/service and maximize value.  Truly a key to business success.

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