29th Nov, 2021
, , Designation
- Intermittent lockdowns and industry-wide digital disruptions have reordered the basics of trade marketing
- Retailers and brand influencers are increasingly becoming digital native in their approach to interacting with vendors and customers alike
- Manual processes and siloed data collection and reporting are among the biggest barriers to executing trade marketing strategies hurting market reach and sinking sales
- Companies need AI-powered software solutions for 360-degree program view and accurate BI analytics to maximize retail registrations across markets
The last 18 months have reordered the levers of trade marketing with large scale disruption led by public health emergency, digital expansion, and stay-at-home decrees. The shift from in-person field marketing to virtual sales was quick and compulsory. Brands have had to shun retail events and sampling campaigns due to intermittent lockdowns leading to sales downturn across industries. Also, with outdated marketing tools and inefficient trade processes, attracting economically distraught retailers became an uphill task.
The biggest question surrounding the trade marketers today is how to increase the brand visibility in the market and promote their products effectively. Customers are already using multiple channels to buy products, allowing them substantial control over their path to purchase. Retailers and brand influencers are increasingly becoming digital native in their approach to interacting with vendors and customers alike. Businesses will have to leverage futuristic tools like automation, AI, and analytics to engineer meaningful brand engagement programs and stay relevant with customer-centric trends.
Battling the limitations of manual processes and pandemic induced market vulnerabilities, leading global brands have implemented technology tools to enhance the efficacy of their field sales and marketing plans. They have leveraged the potential of automated marketing tools, data analytics, and expert talent management services for wider brand reach and strong market pull.
Trade marketing bottlenecks faced by leading oil and gas brand
Big brands are facing a series of persistent challenges while executing their trade marketing plans. One of the biggest barriers to a successful field campaign is manual process of data reporting and program management. This leads to slow program execution and high overheads. Another fundamental roadblock that businesses encounter is lack of proper market research and consideration of the final buyer. After all, if the buyer doesn’t purchase the product, last-mile retailers won’t stock up the products.
Apart from the abovementioned challenges, brands lack trust amongst their trade partners which limits brand awareness among the end consumers. They face difficulties in building their own internal engine and often rely on third party field sales agency to expand reach in regional markets. Global petroleum companies encounter the following set of challenges while creating and executing their field sales and marketing campaigns:
- Limited brand awareness and affinity amongst trade partners
- Inconsistent trade marketing efforts resulting into limited market coverage
- Inadequate engagement with influencer communities
- Lack of market visibility and inadequate campaign execution leading to increased costs and inconsistent outcomes
- Absence of tech-integration and automation in the trade marketing processes
These challenges diminish the overall yield of the trade marketing campaigns and paralyze a company’s ability to expand their market share and revenue. Automated data reporting engines are now an existential need to effectively manage and monitor workforce productivity along the campaign execution timelines.
Get a thorough grounding on the fundamentals of trade marketing and learn the nitty-gritties of enabling a technology-enabled trade marketing strategy to create a strong market pull and maximize market coverage. Read “The Ultimate Guide to Trade Marketing” for deeper insights.
Tech-enabled trade marketing solutions and program execution
To counter the above set of challenges, strategic brands are now using AI-powered digital solutions for 360-degree program view and campaign management. Additionally, they are harnessing data analytics tools for accurate data collection and reporting to create customized activity planner and improve the decision making at campaign level.
A global oil and gas leader orchestrated a forward-looking trade marketing program using new age technology tools to meaningfully engage distributors and influencer communities. The company also leveraged human expertise to improve their talent acquisition processes and smoothen hiring, training, and management of field sales force.
With a unified mobile app and real-time data reporting, the global oil and gas giant championed a winning trade marketing strategy to increase their market coverage in 34 cities across 13 states of India. Through an intelligent mix of global best practices with regional market understanding, the company identified unique market challenges and accordingly designed their partner engagement program. They were able to increase new retailer registration and distributor productivity by adopting following trade marketing solutions:
- Trade marketing app to create and execute on-field campaigns with real-time web integration to accomplish closely knitted program management.
- An integrated dashboard with customized role-based view of business-critical data such as KPI adherence, target vs achievement, lead generation, and conversions.
- Holistic market insights, BI analytics, and predictive analytics answering ‘who, when, where and what’, to build proficient and customized trade influencers engagement strategy.
- ROI-driven automation engine to optimize trade marketing process.
- Industry-proven expertise in talent acquisition, field sales force deployment and field force management.
With end-to-end trade marketing solutions, the company was able to accomplish a 15-20% increase in brand visibility across key retail outlets. They also achieve 40% increase in new retailer registrations and 25% upsurge in key retailer output. Additionally, the global petroleum giant also witnessed a 20% increase in new mechanic registrations.
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With the revealing shift in market dynamics amidst intermittent lockdowns and health emergencies has forced brands to leverage technology tools to upgrade their trade marketing programs. Companies must do optimal market research, retailer behavioral analysis, influencer branding, and creating a value propositions to scale their brand reach and sales. Manufacturers must explore and leverage all possible outreach channels in concert with advanced data analytics tool. It will help capture real-time granular market data to derive actionable business intelligence for program optimization and improved execution. Also, with the help of an automated field force management tool, companies can track and monitor workforce productivity.