Trade Marketing: A Brief Guide to Trade Marketing

Sales | 5 minutes to read

31st Dec, 2021

Field sales strategies will be crucial for businesses to drive brand visibility, expand market coverage, and shore up sales in 2022. It will form an integral part of an organization’s demand generation strategies along with tele & digital marketing. Discover top benefits and methods to conduct trade marketing in the new year.


    • Field sales service will be crucial for companies to acquire more shelf space, forge new relationships with distribution partners, and bolster brand visibility in the new year

    • There are multiple trade marketing strategies that can help fulfill different business needs of enterprises

    • The future of field sales will hinge around the integration of AI/ML-led tools along with agile methodologies for better alignment with supply chain partners

    Trade marketing is crucial to the growth of a business, and knowing how to execute it best is a key component of sales. It is one of the most effective tools for consumer-facing industries to boost their market presence and drive brand visibility in different sectors. While the last two years have seen restricted field sales and marketing operations, businesses are now gradually resuming field operations. Traditional trade marketing strategies functioned around attracting, engaging, and selling to the supply chain partners. However, due to rising e-commerce competition and door-to-door supply chain connectivity, field sales operations have become more consumer-centric.

    Why is field sales service important?

    Enterprises today look for greater control over their distribution networks and on-shelf SKUs. Businesses need an agile marketing approach that directly caters to distributors’ requirements and indirectly fulfils changing customer demands. They must realize that a retailer has limited shelf space and multiple competing products to choose from. Hence, enterprises either need an internal field marketing engine or enlist the services of a field sales agency to forge long-lasting relationships with the partners and ultimately increase sales. An effective field sales service could prove to be the difference between a retailer choosing one product to sell over another. Apart from this, a field sales service campaign has other benefits too:

    Benefit #1

    A sound trade marketing campaign helps generate more purchases at the supply chain level and ensures that goods supply always meets the fluctuating customer demands.

    Benefit #2

    A responsive field sales service along with promoter incentivization gives retailers an impetus to promote the brand over a competitor’s providing longevity.

    Benefit #3

    Trade marketing is crucial to establishing and maintaining business relationships with key supply chain contacts.

    Benefit #4

    As markets are slowly opening up, this is a golden opportunity for CPG brands and manufacturers to expand their geo-coverage and boost sales in underperforming markets through data-driven feet on street engines.

    Benefit #5

    A good field sales campaign helps reduce the element of guesswork in marketing as it’s effective even if the sales reps have no prior relationships with the end consumers.

    Benefit #6

    Trade marketing is one of the most effective ways to upsell, cross-sell or remarket products to the existing customers.

    Best methods of trade marketing

    There are many different trade marketing methods in use today. For some brands, it is purely a shopper thing. It is about collecting on-ground customer data and using the information to design persuasive messages that will convince the supply chain partners to stock up the products. While for others, field marketing can be a tool for building relationships with key supply chain partners. Let’s take a look at some significant trade marketing strategies that can be leveraged in 2022 and beyond:

    #1 Trade shows

    Trade shows are an effective medium to showcase one’s lineup of products and create positive brand buzz around those products. Additionally, it is a perfect environment to build new distributor/wholesalers’ networks and forge good business relationships.

    #2 Trade promotions

    Promotions are a great way to build more persuasive brand identity from that of the competitors. Creative promotional campaigns and new offer incentives can motivate clients and boost repurchase rates. Promotional tactics like sales-based incentive schemes, reduced prices, free goodies, etc., prove effective in boosting conversions. It also helps increase partners’ motivation to choose a specific product over others.

    #3 On-field branding

    It is a well-established fact that marketing only really works if there’s a strong brand to back up the product. Supply chain partners are not looking to make quick money. They stock up products that consumers are looking to buy over the long term. That sort of customer loyalty can only be built through smart on-field branding where customers have the ability to try and buy a product.

    #4 Strategic partnerships

    The aim of field sales and marketing is to create a win-win situation by achieving shared revenue-earning objectives between brands and supply chain partners. In other words, brands want to sell their products to their supply chain partners, and those supply chain partners want to sell to end consumers.

    Companies must aim to collaborate with supply chain partners in different ways. That could mean aligning shipping and inventory management systems to maximize shared revenue and boost sales across quarters. They can swap business intelligence to better understand customer behavior. Furthermore, they could also partner on advertising campaigns and share marketing collateral.

    Additionally, read our latest blog Future of Field Sales Management: Understanding 3 Key Operational Areas” to understand how the traditional field sales strategies must be reengineered with data-driven platforms to achieve the best results.

    What does the future hold for field sales and marketing?

    The future of trade marketing is hard to predict, other than its function will be different across the board. For shortsighted business, it won’t play much of a strategic role. But for the companies looking to establish an ever-lasting presence, it will be extremely important to build data-driven feet on street engines.

    The success of modern demand generation strategies will hinge around a smart combination of telemarketing, digital marketing, and field sales services. The top rung leaders of the field sales department will play a huge part in determining which channels and market outlets represent the best business opportunities.

    Going forward in 2022 and ahead, enterprises will require greater insights and control of their on-shelf SKUs. There will be an increased emphasis on club traditional field sales strategies with AI/ML-led platforms for better field sales force management and program execution. Field sales reps will have to be more proactive and flexible in their approach. Field sales leaders must promote a sales-driven culture that revolves around problem-solving rather than a reactive approach. Trade marketing will be more critical for consumer products brands and manufacturers to scale in a covid-resilient marketplace.

    Wrapping up

    Trade marketing is a critical business need for businesses to survive and scale in an extremely competitive marketplace. It helps enterprises achieve greater control over their distribution networks and on-shelf SKUs. Going forward in the future, field marketing will have to be more adaptive. Marketers will have to be prepared to identify and embrace new trends much faster to keep up with evolving market dynamics. Nextgen field sales strategies will also hinge on enhancing partner engagement through different methods like incentive schemes or revenue sharing offers, and more.

    Contact us to get free advice on the best-fit trade marketing solutions and other demand generation services to meet your unique business requirements.

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