Trade Marketing includes all marketing activities of a brand and its retailers. It focuses on creating an efficient in-store experience for their consumers.
The retailer is the connecting link between the brands’ consumers and the brand itself. It goes without saying that a good relationship with the retailers is essential in order to achieve great (trade marketing) results.
During my most recent assignment at an international apparel brand, I was offered a management project within the Trade Marketing department.
My client’s request was to align the brand values and image across all stores in different countries to achieve effectiveness in lead generation and boost turnover. Hereby some key elements in my approach for efficient Trade Marketing:
It might not come as a surprise – as communication is mentioned in almost every business case as one of the most important elements in doing business –the absence of effective communication between people and businesses alike can seriously damage a brand.
Therefore I strongly believe that communication is a key aspects in efficient Trade Marketing.
The retailer, being the link between your brand and your customer, harbours valuable information on a brands’ customers and end-consumers. They are in direct contact with them and know exactly what their customers need and want.
As a brand you can be as good, as bright and as awesome as you want, if the retailer does not express your values in the right way, the customer will never experience them and will not receive the right message from your brand. That would be a missed opportunity, right?
The most ideal situation would be when the retailer pursues the same goals and expresses the same values as the brands available in-store. To obtain this, one of the things you can do is to communicate in a continuous and honest way.
So, do not withhold crucial information and inform the retailer timely on new subjects or upcoming events. This will make him feel more comfortable and involved which will result in a better relationship leading to better results.
Input & feedback
Communication is by default a 2-way stream. Therefore receiving relevant input form the retailers is crucial. It is essential to obtain the right input from the retailers in order to set up some relevant in-store activations.
As mentioned earlier, the retailer is the link between the brand and its’ customers and as the brand itself is not in direct contact with them, the retailer is in possession of all information (habits, needs, …) of the customers and in many cases even the end-consumers.
In order to obtain some in store marketing relevance, you should ask the retailer for input and feedback.
Besides, when a brand wants to please the key figure in the whole retail story: the customer, it is very important to have such information in order to improve and adjust on a strategic, marketing or product level.
Regular meetings with the retailers can become important sources of feedback and deliver new insights. The retailer will feel involved and heard again which will not only improve your relationship, but results as well.
Ofcourse the brand should take into account that if they ask for input and feedback. They should also do something with it.
There is nothing worse than a retailer who thinks that giving you input is a waste of time if nothing happens with it.
Keep your eyes and ears wide open and make sure you walk your talk!
Motivation & evaluation
And last but not least, we need to motivate and evaluate the partners as a motivated partner is worth two. If they are motivated, they are more likely to participate and – even more important – change things if necessary.
Motivating does not necessarily mean: ‘spending a lot of money’. No, you can easily motivate them by giving support for activities or to provide them with useful materials without spending big money.
Therefore, evaluation is key. If you evaluate the retailer/partner you know is doing a good job and you offer him that extra push, it can save you some costs on the long-term as you will spend your time and money more efficiently.
In my opinion Trade Marketing is no rocket science. Actually, it is all about becoming a good partner for the retailers instead of just seeing them as a part of your sales channels. The hardest part is to combine all things well and to finding the right balance.
Every brand that works with a retail channel needs to realise that the retailer is like a treasure, they are worth a lot and are our most important source of information, so take care of it!