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How to optimize Trade Marketing investment?

Updated: Apr 12

The success of any trade marketing campaign relies on understanding shopper needs and behaviors, client objectives and requirements, and commercial goals of the brand and category.

Many of the Executives or Commercial Directors with whom we talk about different projects have many doubts about the results they are obtaining in the different Trade Marketing initiatives.

In recent years, the money invested in these areas by most consumer companies has skyrocketed, putting enormous pressure on marketing budgets and obviously on the executives responsible for them.

In our evaluations of programs or activities carried out (both in consultancy cases and in training programs), we achieve a certain common denominator, in which those responsible for their development systematically ignore in the initial phases of analysis and design, one or more of the players involved:

Any activity carried out at the Point of Sales inevitably involves three interrelated players: The Brand, The Client and The Buyer. A kind of commercial ménage à trois.

Let's look at each one separately and then try to do the integration.

The brand

For the manufacturer, Brand considerations are often the starting point in the development of commercial programs or initiatives.

  • What are we trying to solve?

  • What is the opportunity or problem of the Brand?

  • If the situation is associated with the consumer, what do we want to happen? Who knows us; let us try; to buy us back or not leave us?

The answers to these questions begin to give us clarity and narrow the possible commercial actions focused on the stated objectives.

The Consumer Disposition Funnel (CDF) that we present below is a very good tool for this.

The Customer

The key to effective Trade Marketing is a deep understanding of the customer and the specific channel they participate in. It is important to note that each client and channel has its own characteristics, needs, objectives, and barriers that limit its performance.

The understanding of these factors allows us to develop activities that seek to somehow satisfy the client's situation.

Some questions that help us understand the client's situation:

  • What are you looking for; increase store traffic or increase the purchase receipt?

  • Need to improve cash flow or profitability?

  • Are you looking to set a certain role for the category? Which?

  • Do you need to strengthen the "shopping experience" of the category?

To the extent that our actions are in some way aligned with the client's requirements and expectations, to that same extent, the possibilities will increase, first of carrying them out and second of maximizing their success.

The shopper

Any in-store activity is or should be designed to change or reinforce buyer behavior in a given way. In other words, everything we do at the Point of Sale must be focused on the Shopper. Not considering it in the process of conceiving the initiative is almost insane (but believe me, very frequent).

Some questions to make sure we don't forget about the Shopper:

  • What are the main Shopper Insights related to the Category and/or Brand that we have?

  • What is the Target Shopper we want to reach?

  • How is your purchasing behavior in this Client and/or Channel?

  • What buying mission are we looking to fulfill?

  • What do we want the Target Shopper to do; buy us more, more frequently, or more expensive? This obviously must be aligned with the brand's relationship level (Consumer Disposition Funnel previously mentioned).

  • What is their behavior towards the category and our brand?

The Shopper Behavior Funnel (CDF) is an excellent tool for understanding the situation of the category or brand in the Client and/or Channel.


The Trade Marketing Investment Optimization goes through the conjunction of the three players that participate in the Point of Sales: Brand, Client, and Shopper. When we look at successful campaigns from different organizations and brands, the common denominator is a clear alignment between the needs and goals of the three key elements.

It should be noted that these same organizations tend to invest more resources both to better understand the particular situations of each of the players and to measure the results. Thanks to this, they maximize the possibilities of carrying out commercial initiatives of any kind, possibly less but more effective and profitable.

If you need any help calculating the historic effectiveness of your promotions or investment at retail, please let us know when is a good time to talk about it.

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