Trade Marketing

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Trade Marketing is the style of marketing to retailers and distributors rather than marketing directly to consumers. The benefit of trade marketing is that it allows you to supply the middleman with your brand, your products, and your company image, by attempting to establish the need at the consumer end. It has been said that trade marketing is the most critical and crucial form of marketing, since it allows you the freedom to directly compete with your competitors without having to focus directly on the consumer. However, the ultimate goal of trade marketing, just as with any other form of marketing, is to meet and exceed the needs and wants of the end consumer. Therefore, trade marketing is directly related to the basic principles of all forms of marketing: supply, demand, promotion, price, product, and place.

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The Practice of Trade Marketing

Trade marketing seeks to align a market strategy with a brand strategy. The end goal of trade marketing is to persuade distributors, retailers, and wholesalers to purchase your brand of products over the competition. Trade marketing accomplishes this goal by explaining why your product and brand will be better recognized and demanded by consumers instead of the competition. Therefore, the essential method of practicing trade marketing is the same as all forms of marketing: establish the four p’s of marketing, the four m’s of marketing, and create a need at the consumer end that will convince sellers that your product will be a hit. Essentially, trade marketing is the major skill that must be mastered by an outside business to business salesperson. A seller must be convinced that your products and brand will actually sell to consumers, so it is essential that you can convince and prove to sellers that your product is the best value at the best price.

Current Trends in Trade Marketing

A popular method of trade marketing for driving higher profits and sales is by attending a trade show. A trade show is basically a way to use trade marketing amongst a variety of potential buyers all at once. Trade marketing is practiced widely, but trade shows are definitely one of the best and most current trends in trade marketing. You can display your product, ideas, brand, price, promotion, and methods to a variety of potential buyers, and get a leg up over the competition who does not attend the same trade show. It is said that 70% of all marketing decisions today are made at the trade level, and potentially 20-30% of all marketing decisions can also be made at trade show events. Therefore, attending and utilizing trade shows as one of your core methods of trade marketing will be an extremely valuable asset to drive profits and increase the bottom line. Trade shows are also popular with end consumers, who often attend the events, so they can also serve as a method of research and data for the viability of your current brand and product, and also drive decisions to make room for change.

Tips for Trade Marketing

  1. Remember your end goal in trade marketing: you are there to convince someone that your product is the best, and will be promoted properly, at the most efficient price, in a place where consumers will be willing to purchase the product. You may even want to establish a future demand for supplemental products and complimentary products. These are the four p’s of marketing (product, price, place, promotion), and essentially drive the focus of trade marketing efforts to the retailer who can later attempt to create a demand at the consumer level.
  2. Research the competition. Remember, just as in any other focus of marketing, trade marketing will give you the opportunity to get an insider voice of what your competition is up to. Retailers may refuse to buy your product because another brand is offering a higher quality product, a more recognized brand name, or a lower price. However, there is ALWAYS room to get a leg up on at least one of the four p’s of marketing over the competition. This is established through the four m’s of marketing (measurement, media, market, and message). Maybe you can provide better promotional resources for the retailer, lower your price, increase your own brand recognition, or offer some other incentive that cannot be refused by a smart buyer.
  3. The goal of trade marketing is to satisfy the would-be seller of your product. In trade marketing you need to reassure retailers and distributors that you will provide excellent customer service, promotional materials and resources, analytics, incentives, and future products at the same deal. While it is not necessary or even possible in trade marketing to always offer all of the features mentioned, it is crucial to try and provide as many as possible. Remember, no one can sell your product if it’s not any good or any better than the competition – but even if it’s a great product, no one will want to sell it without some kind of incentive and guarantee to do so. That’s what trade marketing is about: affiliation and promotional strategies that sellers can’t refuse.

Trade marketing is the most effective and popular source for driving major sales and increasing the bottom line of any major company. It is essential that you master the art of trade marketing if you intend to compete with an established brand or try and enter the market as a strong competitor. Study this plan and make trade marketing a major asset for yourself and your business.


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Trade Marketing, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.