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How to develop a solid Trade Marketing organization?

Design a strong Trade Marketing organization
Design a strong Trade Marketing organization

A recurring question that we are asked in different forums, courses, and also by some of our clients, is what is the correct way to structure Trade Marketing.

After many years of diagnosing and designing organizations for companies of different sizes, industries, and markets, the truth is that I think that the structure is more or less irrelevant if other elements are not defined and developed, of equal or greater importance than an organizational chart, to achieve a world-class Trade Marketing organization. Let's see them one by one.

Define the Role of Trade Marketing in the Organization

A large number of diagnosed cases present very little clarity from top management about what the role of Trade Marketing is. That is, we obtain limited answers to some critical questions such as:

  • What do we want them to do?

  • How strategic and/or operational should the function be?

  • Do you manage your own budget or do you depend on the brands to be able to operate?

  • Do you lead the planning and implementation of commercial actions in the channels?

  • Are you responsible for Shopper Marketing? etc.

Clarifying these and other points helps from the beginning to define the role of the function and this, in turn, will help us define the appropriate structure and, above all, the required job profiles. Additionally, it will allow to design clear processes minimizing gray areas between Marketing, Sales, Trade Marketing, and other functions of the organization.

Focus the team on the Shopper, the Channels and on generating Insights

A deep understanding of what Shopper Marketing is and how it is implemented in the organization will be vital to ensure superior performance. Make sure the T.M. be focused on knowing the Shoppers, the Channels and generating relevant Insights to develop Trade Marketing Plans aligned with the Marketing and Sales Plans.

Trade Marketing should not be a machine conceived only to carry out activities that rotate stagnant products on customers' shelves.

Design work processes incorporating the best practices of the market

Perhaps the main difference we get between the companies considered to be the best performers and the average ones is that the former are extremely disciplined in the things they do.

They achieve this discipline first by designing and formalizing their processes (also in these cases, both strategic and operational), where best practices adapted to their businesses, markets, channels, etc. are incorporated. and the required management indicators.

Well-designed processes allow, in turn, feeding the Position Profiles, defining specific responsibilities for each position in the function.

They are then extremely disciplined in ensuring that those processes are carried out as designed. There is a very high adherence to the established tasks to carry out any commercial activity.

Define Charge Profiles in line with what is expected

Many Business Directors care a great deal about the structure and are continually adjusting it, achieving in many instances veritable patchwork quilts. I wish they cared more about developing strong job profiles. That is, define: roles, responsibilities, and profile of both technical and leadership skills.

The lack of clear, well-defined, and in line with the expected role of the job profiles function is one of the main barriers to achieving a strong Trade Marketing organization.

Recruit from within and without

The strongest and strongest Trade Marketing departments I know of are made up of mixed teams of internal and external resources. Integrating knowledge from other categories and channels with that of our own organization will generate synergies and possibilities that are difficult to achieve with only internal personnel.

Leverage in Trade Marketing to develop Commercial Managers

If the role of Trade Marketing lies in being a manager (both strategic and operational), between Marketing and Sales, a combination of knowledge and real experiences of Brand Management and the world of Retail, possibly produce the strongest alloy to achieve superior performance. . Giving Trade Marketing the importance it deserves and making the role aspirational for members of other business functions will be of paramount importance.

Career Plans in this sense, become processes of lateral rather than vertical movements, achieving at the end of the day Managers and Directors with extensive Commercial experience (Marketing, Sales and Trade Marketing).

One of our clients, which in my view has one of the strongest business organizations, has developed a tremendously successful Income and Career Planning model. Most of the new hires enter through Trade Marketing at the assistant level (some also in Key Accounts) and from there lateral movements are generated with Marketing and Sales. At the end of the day, we have a team that knows the realities (work methods, problems, opportunities, limitations, etc.) of all business functions, generating synergies and cross-functional support that we do not see in many other organizations.

They have made Trade Marketing the seedbed that feeds the other business functions.

Design a training and development plan

With the role and objectives of Trade Marketing established, the profiles and critical competencies by position that we have defined, and the new processes formalized, we can carry out the analysis of gaps between what we require from our team and what we have.

This will allow us to plan the necessary incorporations and training that will ensure that we enable the team with the required skills.

There are obviously other factors to achieve a solid Trade Marketing organization, but I believe that what has been stated, are the necessary foundations to achieve it.

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