Trade marketing is an often misunderstood and misapplied marketing strategy.
There are many types of marketing, but few marketing disciplines are as misunderstood and misapplied as trade marketing.
Which is strange, since it’s incredibly important for a company to have a fully functional trade marketing strategy.
Let me explain why…
Reason 1: The customer is always right.
Trade marketing has a lot in common with shopper marketing.
Ultimately, people usually need an incentive to buy something. That may be in the form of a discount or a 2-for-1 offer, but it might be subtler than that.
Product packaging, branding and positioning can influence consumers, too.
These more psychological marketing ideas are more commonly associated with shopper marketing, but businesses are beginning to combine multiple concepts.
In other words, they won’t just instruct an employee to create marketing collateral for the trade. Instead, they’ll be asked to create something that works for the public too.
Trade marketing campaigns that convince retailers will most likely work on consumers too, so why not killer two birds with one stone?
Reason 2: Competition in product-based markets is insanely tough.
Creating a product is one thing; creating one that sells is quite another.
Competition is rife in almost every industry. To make matters worse, because of mergers, the number of retailers that manufacturers can approach is shrinking.
That puts huge pressure on the campaigns that do get delivered.
Small businesses must become good at marketing or they won’t stand a chance of succeeding in a retail environment.
Trade marketing covers the marketing essentials, such as market research, branding and collaboration. This can only be a good thing.
Reason 3: Relationships are key.
Whether we’re talking about B2B, B2C or B2P marketing, one thing remains the same:
People buy from people.
I think that sometimes gets forgotten. Businesses who execute trade marketing campaigns are often extremely good at establishing and maintaining relationships.
It’s born out of necessity. Manufacturers have to be on good terms with their clients. They need wholesalers and distributors to gobble up their offers, plus they require retailers to believe in one product over a rival’s.
I guess it’s a mindset thing. No matter what a company is selling, it needs to create a relationship with someone, either a distributer, wholesaler, retailer… or customer.
Reason 4: Knowledge is power.
Good trade marketers don’t just know their product well, but they also understand their market inside out.
The reality is, data plays a huge part in the success of any marketing plan. No matter what your niche, consider how market research would benefit the growth of your business.
Statistics can reveal who your target audience is and what they actually crave. Data helps marketers create laser-targeted messaging. It can also help shape products, of course.
Perhaps that USP isn’t quite as attractive as you thought. Could your product proposition do with refining?
Or maybe if you understood shopper behavior a little more accurately, you’d be able to come up with that killer tagline.
Regardless, trade marketing will fill in the blanks.
Reason 5: Trade marketing can be digital, too.
The idea that trade marketing is limited to promoting a product at a trade show is a popular misconception.
Yes, manufacturers should market their goods at trade shows, but that’s just one aspect of trade marketing.
There are many other ways to connect and engage with wholesalers, distributers and retailers… and these days, you can do it digitally, too.
Business have an army of marketing weapons at their disposal, such as email newsletters, social media, content marketing and SEO.
Marketing has never been so easy, regardless of what’s being marketing and why.
Embrace trade marketing and you could transform your marketing ROI.