Marketing Terms offers a detailed list of marketing terms.

Term Definition
Direct Distribution System

A distribution design where a marketer reaches the intended final customer by distributing the product directly to the customer and includes Direct Marketing Systems, Direct Retail Systems, Personal Selling Systems and Assisted Marketing Systems.

Direct Marketing Systems

A direct distribution system where customers place orders either through information gained from non-personal contact with the marketer (e.g., marketer’s website or print catalog) or through personal communication with a company representative who is not a salesperson (e.g., placing order by telephone).

Direct Retail Systems

A direct distribution system where a product marketer also operates their own retail outlets.


A distribution channel concept which suggests that the growth of the Internet as a communication and distribution channel will lead to a flattening of the layers of distribution resulting in fewer resellers (e.g., wholesalers) as manufacturers and final buyers learn to transact directly.


Key component of the marketer’s toolkit that represents decisions on the activities and strategies needed for the exchange and movement of products (goods or services) between the marketing company and the final customer.

Distribution Center

A type of warehouse where product storage is a temporary activity with products being received from many suppliers and then quickly shipped to many customers.

Distribution Packaging

Packaging generally offering a higher level of damage protection than the final customer package and used to transport the final customer package through the supply chain often within a multiple unit container.

Drop Shipper

Wholesale format represented by distributors that never take physical possession of products but instead act as shipping coordinators who receive product orders and arrange to have products shipped directly to their customers from product suppliers.

Dynamic Pricing

A form of promotional price adjustment where adjustments take place at the point-of-sale (i.e., at the time and place of purchase) for customers meeting certain criteria established by the seller (e.g., first time visitor to website).

e-tailers (also Electronic Retailers)

Retail format represented by retailers that confine most of their selling through Internet websites thus providing customers with the convenience of anytime shopping.

Early Adopters

The second category within the Diffusion of Innovation consisting of a sizeable though not large percentage of a market who are primarily characterized as being enthusiastic but practical about new products and often communicate their experiences with the next category (i.e., Early Majority) and in this way serve as Opinion Leaders.

Early Majority

The third category within the Diffusion of Innovation consisting of up to one-third of the overall market who represent the beginning of the mass market and who are primarily characterized as liking new products but prefer to wait until they have received positive opinions for other (e.g., Early Adopters) before purchasing.

Elastic Demand

Refers to market conditions where a certain percentage change (positive or negative) in the price of a product results in a larger and opposite percentage change in demand (i.e., purchases) for the product.

Elasticity of Demand

Refers to conditions that describe the effect a change in a product’s price may have on the target market’s demand for a product and includes conditions that are elastic, inelastic or unitary.

Emergency Products

A category of consumer products which customer purchase due to sudden events and which often involve little pre-purchase planning.