Trade Marketing Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Sales

What is Trade Marketing?

Many people don’t realise the importance of trade marketing. More often than not, B2B (business to business) marketing is a branch that’s not as flashy as B2C marketing. You won’t find as many Mad Men-esque in the trade marketing world.

Nevertheless, this is still a part of marketing that requires intense creativity, working under pressure, and is sales-driven. With that in mind, we’ll examine the basics of trade marketing, as well as some of the most effective strategies in the industry.

Who is Trade Marketing For?

To put it simply, trade marketing is mostly done by manufacturers — companies, and individuals that produce some kind of goods or products. Trade marketing is not meant for the end-user and retail consumer, but for the distributor networks, wholesalers, and retail shops. We refer to these business entities as partners in the collective supply chain.

Many people don’t realise that retail shops buy products from manufacturers before marketing and selling them to the general public. So, the same sort of transaction happens twice in the lifespan of a single product. And just like consumers have a wide range of products to choose from, so do retailers when they decide which manufacturers to work with.

Additionally, retailers may purchase goods from other members of the distribution chain, like wholesalers. These are middlemen that don’t strive to produce anything. Instead, they resell the products from manufacturers to retailers in bulk.

Of course, the cheapest option would be for the manufacturer to interact with the retailers directly. This, however, isn’t always a possibility for logistical reasons.

Whatever the specifics of a supply chain for a particular product are, trade marketing is used by manufacturers to showcase their products and pitch them to downstream supply chain partners. Every retailer has limited shelf space, and countless brands to choose from. That’s why trade marketing is an essential part of the sale cycle of any product.

Trade Marketing

Trade Marketing Methods

We find plenty of different methods for successful trade marketing used in the 21st century. Contemporary methods rely on information and data metrics far more than before. Having the best possible information ensures that manufacturers can create a message that will be the most persuasive among many once it reaches downstream partners.

It’s important for manufacturers to maintain relations as well as establish new ones. For instance, the continued success of a soft drink line of products is a good statistic to communicate to retailers. After all, positive sales figures are something everyone likes to see.
This is true if you want to dazzle new retailers as well. Showing that your products are making tonnes of money for another retailer is always the best sales pitch. No-one likes to miss out on empirically certified profit.

Of course, trade marketing is famously reliant on personal relationships that materialise from trade shows. This kind of approach reduces the importance of the shopper in the trade marketing scheme; it’s not about the end-user, but about the relationship between the manufacturer and the retailer.

This is generally a more important marketing avenue for companies that aren’t as established in the industry as the bigger players. If they don’t have enough market data to be crucial in their sector, manufacturers use trade shows to get in touch with crucial policy and decision-makers.
Both of these outlooks on trade marketing have their advantages and disadvantages. Consequently, they’re used in different situations and for different purposes. The trade strategies we’ll outline below are generally used in both approaches.

Trade Shows

As we’ve already mentioned, there are few opportunities for networking as fruitful as trade shows. Obviously, in a business-to-business marketing environment, having the right contacts and relationships can mean a great deal. It’s also the perfect opportunity to raise brand awareness among other trade partners.

A coffee stall with people helping themselves at a trade show
Trade shows are great opportunities to raise awareness of your business

Trade Promotions

One of the best things for manufacturer promotion is providing the right incentives to retailers and similar partners. Giving them tangible incentives via creative promotions is bound to give a boost to your products’ repurchase rate. Retailers love feeling like they’re getting the proper treatment from manufacturing companies.

Trade Websites and Magazines

Many people wrongly believe that online marketing isn’t important when it comes to trade marketing. There are many niches where lead generation is just as important in a B2B world as it is for consumer-facing marketing strategies. That’s why the proper articles and online ads will give your product and brand the attention they need to become attractive to retailers.

Adverts are an up-front expense, but there’s bound to be some speculation if you want to accumulate wealth. Invest in professional PR as well, if you want your brand to seem relevant and trustworthy in the long term — a combination of all of that is how you become a household name.


No amount of marketing will trump the strength of an overall brand. Even if you have a great product, chances are that retailers will be less prone to order it if a stronger brand is competing for the same spot. That’s why investing in your brand means playing the long game, and that’s a necessity. Your partners in the supply chain don’t just want to make money through cheap products. They have their own brand to worry about, so they always try to invest in products that they’re certain their customers will appreciate.

Making Strategic Partners

As we’ve discussed before, trade marketing works best when both the retailer and the manufacturer stand to make a clear profit — there’s no need for a complex sales pitch when mutual success is the most likely outlook. Conversely, no sales strategy will fix a match that’s not financially sound. Pairing your company with the right retailers in the long term will mean huge dividends for everyone involved.

Market Research

As we’ve mentioned in less detail above, having a grasp of the right data metrics is one of the fundamental requirements for success in modern trade marketing. Knowledge means power, and precise data is a huge advantage in the 21st-century business world.

A screen showing market research graphs and reading
Having knowledge of the market and your audience is fundamental to success

Understanding the intricacies of your company’s product line, as well as the target audience and the current market conditions, will allow you to position yourself as the manufacturer of choice for many retail chains.

Digital Marketing

Naturally, trade marketing must also adapt to the world as a whole, just like any other industry. This means keeping up with the new technologies that sweep the globe. For instance,  any manufacturer disregarding the importance of digital marketing in trade advertisement would find themselves at a disadvantage compared to the competition.

Final Thoughts

And that slowly wraps this one up. We hope this guide was useful to you and that you now feel more confident about developing your ideal trade marketing strategy to increase sales. Make sure you’re staying safe in these times we’re going through and have a good one, guys!

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