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What is Trade Marketing?

What is Trade Marketing

Trade Marketing is a branch of marketing that focuses on increasing demand for a product at the distributor, retailer or point of sale level, rather than at the end consumer level. This strategic approach is designed to improve collaboration between manufacturers and sales channels, optimizing how a product is presented and sold in the market.

At its core, Trade Marketing seeks to ensure that manufacturers and merchants work together to maximize sales and profitability. The main objective is to increase the rotation of products in the stores, building solid commercial relationships of trust with the sales channels, so that they are promoted preferentially to the Shoppers or Buyers of the stores. This, in turn, helps manufacturers ensure better market positioning, greater brand visibility, and increased sales.

Trade Marketing began to take shape in the 1960s when manufacturers sought more effective ways to collaborate with retailers to influence the presentation and sale of their products. At this time, mass production had increased competition on store shelves, and manufacturers needed to ensure their products stood out. Starting in the '80s, Trade Marketing was formalized as a "distinct" discipline within marketing departments. Manufacturers began to recognize the importance of adapting their strategies not only to consumers but also to retailers, and other distribution channel partners. Specific strategies were developed to manage the relationship with retailers, optimize product placement, and improve promotions and merchandising at the point of sale.

Relationship between Category Management and Trade Marketing

Yes, Category Management is a key function within Trade Marketing. It is a process that involves the management of product categories as strategic business units, to maximize sales and profitability. This practice is closely aligned with the objectives of Trade Marketing since both seek to optimize the product offering at points of sale and improve collaboration between manufacturers and retailers.

With the rise of information technology and electronic commerce, Trade Marketing began to use data and analysis to improve decision-making, and the concept of Category Management flourished in the early 2000s. Collecting and analyzing data on sales, consumer behavior, and promotional effectiveness allowed companies to adapt their strategies more effectively to meet the needs of retailers and consumers.

Specifically, 3 key areas in common justify classifying Category Management as an area of Trade Marketing specialization:

  • Point of Sale Focus: Both focus on improving the presentation and availability of products at the point of sale, ensuring that the right products are available at the right time and place to meet consumer demand.

  • Store Sell-Out Data Analysis: Category Management uses data analysis to understand consumer purchasing behavior and market trends, allowing Trade Marketing companies to develop more effective and personalized strategies.

  • Manufacturer-Retail Collaboration: At the heart of both functions is collaboration between manufacturers and retailers. Category Management often requires collaborative work to direct the definition of product assortment strategies, pricing, promotions, and in-store placements that will benefit both the retailer and the manufacturer. This joint planning process is known as a Joint Business Plan.

In today's digital environment, Trade Marketing has continued to evolve, integrating digital tools and advanced analytics to create more precise and personalized strategies. Collaboration between manufacturers and retailers has intensified with the development of e-commerce platforms, omnichannel marketing, and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. The objective is still to improve product visibility and increase sales, but with a much more integrated approach between physical and digital stores, which makes it necessary for commercial teams to develop skills in what we know as Digital Trade Marketing.

In summary, Trade Marketing has gone from being a sales tactic to a comprehensive strategy that encompasses market analysis, collaboration between channels, and optimization of the purchasing experience for the end consumer. Its evolution reflects changes in the market, technology, and consumer expectations, continually adapting to improve business performance and customer satisfaction.

If you also want to delve deeper into the differences between Trade Marketing and Shopper Marketing, I recommend you read our other post, available at this link.

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