The hallmark of a successful business is sales. The better the sales, the more the revenue, and the more profitable a company is. The first step to reach your consumers is to build trust and long-standing relationships with retailers or dealers or distributors. Your B2B customers are the ones who have the space, the shelves, and the consumer footfall for excellent offtake. As a brand, you must pay attention to these customers and give them a solid reason to buy from you and keep buying from you in the future.
This is where trade marketing comes in as a potent tool in your route-to-market arsenal. How does it all work? Read on!
What is Trade Marketing?
Trade marketing is a tactic or a series of tactics that sell your B2B customers such as retailers and dealers on your brand or products. You inspire them about your brand so that they are willing to buy and keep your products on their store shelves. Trade marketers are therefore specialised in educating and pushing your products to potential and existing channel partners instead of consumers as in conventional marketing.
Why Do You Need Trade Marketing?
For retailers or dealers to partner with you, you need to give them a strong enough reason to do so. They must be able to see their benefit in such an association and trade marketing does that. Your strategy will help you demonstrate your product features and explain their benefits; this will provide a clear idea to your B2B customers why your product(s) is sales-worthy.
Trade marketing offers your brand unparalleled visibility. It isn’t realistic to believe that you can maintain successful relationships with your current customers without making it worthwhile for them. Similarly, you couldn’t go up to a random store owner and expect them to blindly take your products either. With trade marketing, you get the renown you need to give yourself an edge over the competition. Additionally, your sales reps will find it easier to persuade retailers to buy from you if you already have fame. With such an arrangement, you will see bigger order baskets and sizes, along with upselling and cross-selling.
Trade marketing also involves the collection of data on customer behaviour and therefore prepares you for the needs of your industry. This also helps you come up with marketing strategies that boost experience for your channel partners.
Trade marketing is:
- One of the key factors in building relationships with your channel partners
- Super helpful to you as many of your competitors don’t have the insight or resources to do the same
- An avenue for new opportunities as your renown and trust increases among existing and potential B2B customers
Types Of Trade Marketing Activities
- Points and Schemes
Develop lucrative partnerships. This should be true for both your current as well as your prospective customers. For instance, the more your channel partner buys from you, the more redeemable points they can accumulate. You can also introduce them to schemes that reward them for making a certain amount of purchase. Ensure that the special perks your channel partners enjoy are better and bigger than your competitors’.
- Trade Shows
Trade shows are the perfect avenue to showcase what you have. Your product can be seen, touched, assessed, and even bought by retailers or dealers. Trade shows or fairs spoil retailers for choice but if you have a well-positioned product and the right people to speak for it, you could be looking at an excellent proposition. What’s more, being a part of trade shows also makes you more visible, helps in building relationships, and increases your renown.
- Digital Marketing
Leverage your market research and appeal to your target audience. As opposed to the usual but limiting face-to-face marketing, digital marketing opens up the world of social media platforms, online ads, content marketing, and even email marketing to incredibly enhance your reach. For example, you may not even know retailers from some regions of your country, but digital marketing provides you a way to reach them and create new business deals.
Nobody is inspired to buy from an unknown brand. As your potential channel partners have their own businesses on the line, they are very careful to allow products into their stores. In this case, having a well known and renowned brand can position you as reliable. Create your unique identity to differentiate your products from others’ in the market. Perception is half the battle where increased desirability for your offerings gains you an obvious edge on the competition.
For example, if you consider brands like Nestle or Dabur, they have, over time, continued promoting themselves via advertisements to become names synonymous with their product types. Such as when you think “chocolate”, you probably think Nestle or when you think “honey” or “hair oil”, you probably think Dabur. This is an excellent but implicit trade marketing tactic that after a certain point, affects your customer’s psyche.
Trade Marketing vs. Conventional Marketing
|Trade Marketing||Conventional Marketing|
|Target audience are existing or potential channel partners||Target audience are end users or consumers|
|Focus is on driving sales within the supply chain||Focus is on increasing consumer awareness about the product|
|Emphasis is on features and benefits, along with pricing||Emphasis is on appealing to consumer emotions and storytelling|
|Primarily uses exhibitions, trade fairs, and relationships with partners||Primarily depends on PR and mass media|
|Dedicated to building strong and meaningful B2B relationships||Dedicated to developing brand loyalty among consumers|
What Is A Successful Trade Marketing Strategy?
Sure, you have a product worthy of praise and ready to go up on store shelves or at the dealers’ but does everyone know that? You can’t just create something and pray that luck favours you in your trade marketing; instead, have some fundamental tactics in mind while building a successful strategy. We discuss these below.
- Do Market Research
Any strategy without sufficient research is doomed to fail because you won’t have a clear idea about customer issues and expectations. With accurate data, you will have the power to resolve existing roadblocks before you launch a new trade marketing campaign, while also factoring in potential future issues such as new competition or changes in country regulations.
- Plan Your Strategy
The next step is planning; define your goals, and then channel your resources per your knowledge of your audience. Once you know what your channel partners want, you will promote effective solutions through your trade marketing efforts that will enhance your sales and acquire or retain B2B customers.
- Work On Your Branding
As previously mentioned, your brand plays a huge part in getting potential channel partners interested in you. If you establish a reputation for quality products and reliable distribution, it means you are doing something right and are, therefore, an excellent business opportunity. The connection this builds between you and your channel partners will boost your sales significantly as they buy more from you! A prime example is when you find Kwality Walls (a proven and well-established brand) dominating the visi cooler space in most retail stores as opposed to other brands.
- Build Meaningful Relationships With Channel Partners
The future of trade marketing, like the past, depends on fostering excellent business relationships with your channel partners. The more you prove to them that your product is sought after in the market and that you are able to keep up that quality, the stronger the connection. Stronger connections cultivate trust that smoothens product transition from your warehouses to the stores, making for a very streamlined supply chain.
- Run Targeted Ads
Advertising is an age-old tactic to make everyone both aware and interested in your brand. In trade marketing, online advertising is a strategic aspect of great importance, as it can target a specific niche of the market for maximum effect. Remember, it’s not just “display ads” that draw eyeballs to your brand but any form of activity that attracts potential or existing channel partners to a new product or a relaunch. Newsletters and emails are examples of advertisements along with PPC advertising for more targeted focus on your customers. Combining these with social media ads (paid) such as pre-rolls on YouTube is an assured aspect of successful strategizing.
- Leverage Software
Human involvement is invaluable, but alone, it is inadequate and can even lead to failed opportunities. You need to combine it with software that facilitates the fulfilment of your goals. Apart from the usual ad tool, email marketing software, etc., you also need a platform that allows for stronger relationships with your B2B customers.
Where We Stand…
BeatRoute is a goal-driven, sales enablement platform and we use collaborative automation to ensure your route-to-market is as seamless as possible. This is because everyone works and contributes on a single platform, thereby eliminating miscommunication or delays and speeding up problem solving and inventory management.
As you can understand, this is much more than simple automation; while your sales teams ensure face time, introducing your products and developing connections, BeatRoute allows for a virtual connection where retailers have more visibility and control in terms of feedback, orders, and communication. This leads to trust that leads to bigger orders and ultimately leads to more of your products on store shelves.
Why don’t you have a go at our free demo? We are sure you will like it!