9 December 2022 1048 words, 5 min. read

Trade marketing: advantages and strategic advice

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
Trade marketing aims to build a relationship of trust between manufacturers and distributors. This practice has many benefits for companies, but also the consumer. Indeed, it encourages brands to design a better offer and propose a better customer experience. How […]

Trade marketing aims to build a relationship of trust between manufacturers and distributors. This practice has many benefits for companies, but also the consumer. Indeed, it encourages brands to design a better offer and propose a better customer experience. How to set up a good trade marketing strategy? What are the best practices to adopt? We propose 2 examples of marketing operations to develop for good use of this trading tactic.

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What is trade marketing?

Trade marketing aims to improve the relationship between manufacturers and their various distributors. By optimizing their respective marketing strategies, these actors can better satisfy the end consumer’s needs (Arbache, F., 2015). Thus, this is a win-win process, during which the distribution channels are more efficient and lucrative!

A B2B approach based on “win-win”

Its success lies in the strategic exposure of products across sales channels. Although this is a B2B approach, it does not prevent its stakeholders from focusing on the end customer. Among other things, it gives your target audience a better view of the products at the sales outlet. However, it requires a lot of work to build the optimal customer experience.

win-win trade marketing

Thanks to trade marketing, both manufacturers and distributors benefit from their commercial relationship. (source: Shutterstock)

Trade marketing and its main objectives

Here, the line is clear: increase sales. Trade marketing strengthens the links between your marketing and sales teams. And doing so helps to increase your brand’s visibility. Fulfilling its objectives requires several human qualities to develop the perfect offer: creativity, relevance, and relational skills.

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Its 3 main advantages

We develop the basic notions of trade marketing; in this case, its 3 main advantages. Beyond being a lucrative and attractive approach, it is also an important tool for better understanding its customers’ needs.

It makes you more visible to your public

Trade marketing increases your chances of being recognized by your marketing target. This is due to the better exposure of the products or their more efficient circulation in the distribution channels. It is also possible to conclude agreements with sales outlet agents. Indeed, their relational experience will be able to present the qualities of your products!

Better exposure to your products increases your notoriety and strengthens your links with the consumer.

Trade marketing refines the understanding of needs

Like neuromarketing, it collects consumer data to detect consumer behavior patterns. Thus, this method allows you to discover new needs in your sector. As a result, the wealth of market knowledge inherent in trade marketing simplifies the search for new customers! Knowing your customers better helps you develop new marketing strategies and improve the customer experience.

It is a lucrative practice

Why is trade marketing so interesting? It is one of the few commercial techniques that is beneficial for everyone! Indeed, the arguments accumulate to justify such a propensity to increase sales:

  • Communication: products benefit from better promotion as consumer needs become clearer to companies
  • Distribution: better layout of goods at the sales outlet and smoother customer experience
  • Relational policy: the relationship becomes stronger between stakeholders, so sales agents know the final product better
trade marketing lucrative practice

Trade marketing’s success is based on its ability to improve business relationships and increase brand sales. (source: Shutterstock)

Which trade marketing strategy should I choose?

There are a few best practices when implementing a trade marketing strategy. Here we explain why you should:

  • Consider product design at its best
  • Send samples as soon as possible
  • Work hard to agree with the distributor

Above all, take care of the design

Product design and packaging are essential to catch the eye of the consumer. Both elements help to enhance the value proposition you would like to convey. The best in the business can even do without the language to entice consumers to buy. This underscores the importance of developing strong visual communication skills, and packaging is an important part of that argument.

The devil is in the details: an original design gives you a place among the competition. It can make a difference in converting a prospect.

Do not hesitate to give samples

The old recipes are sometimes the best: the distribution of samples is a formidable strategy. Proposing products at the sales outlet means getting closer to the consumer. Like the design, the sample arouses interest and is, therefore, a key concept in trade marketing!

The costs are marginal compared to the benefits you can get from such an operation. It is also a good instrument to increase the conversion rate and customer loyalty, especially if it is coupled with trigger marketing.

trade marketing collaboration

Find common ground with distributors

Finally, a good trade marketing strategy is only something with a good relationship with your distributors. It is necessary to take ownership of their needs to translate them into interesting commercial proposals. These efforts will not be in vain. They will allow both partners to understand the final customer better. Also, this healthy relationship inevitably leads to an increase in their competitiveness in their respective sectors.

2 examples of effective trade marketing

Let’s end this article by discussing examples of applying a good trade marketing strategy. Here is how 2 simple marketing operations will allow you to increase your sales and your visibility: merchandising, branding, and digital presence.

Opt for branding

When working with a distributor, take every opportunity to showcase your brand. For example, if your equipment is in a dealer’s sales outlet, print your logo on it. As a good use of trade marketing, both parties win. Indeed, one benefits from the other’s material, while the promotional aspect does not go by the wayside.

In short, use visual marketing to draw attention to yourself and increase brand notoriety.

Improve your digital presence

Trade marketing is originally designed for physical sales outlets. However, its principles are just as applicable on the Internet! The postulate remains the same: propose an optimal shopping experience. In other words, the customer experience must be agile, close to the consumer, and fluid. This significantly contributes to your added value and is an ideal argument for advocacy marketing.


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