23rd Jul, 2019
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1,287,877 retail stores.
7,261 new items launched annually.
Competition galore, tussle for space share & fight of availability.
Bellwethers are retailers, wholesalers & distributors – the channel partners.
This pretty sums up the Trade Marketing landscape centred around ‘means to achieve the final sale’.
Now therein lies the core of all the trade marketing strategies – how to rise above the compete for noise by efficiently engaging the channel partners.
Catalyst of change
There is an ever-growing number of audiences – and dispersed audience at the best. These are available across multi-channels of communication and helm the sale matrix – a position where jamboree of information exists. A well-devised communication strategy can cut across the clutter to some extent. However, the promoter in the retail set-up are more decisive in holding a captive audience.
Further, the advent of large format stores with focus on the product category, rather product per say has tilted the relationship equation between manufacturers and partners. Turnover of the complete category and differentiating the category vis-à-vis compete has brought brand marketing under the limelight.
Also, an increased focus on the channel partners – wholesalers and distributors beside retailers of course. In all, product differentiation and capturing an ever busy and elusive audience resulted in flourishing Trade marketing practice.
Change that makes the difference
India is among the highest in the world in terms of per capita retail store availability, states a November 2018 report. A very chaotic position to hold for sure. On the brighter side, this also means that the entire process of marketing right from the manufacturer to consumer alongside the ancillary units must mature at a faster pace than the rest of the world.
Towards this a strong technology push that takes a single view of the sales ecosystem of the product category and bridges the gap to overcome challenges of shelf space and product availability vis-à-vis compete. This is the juncture wherein the tunnel vision must break and encompass the marketing gamut beyond saying hello to channel partners. Two umbrella steps kickstart this idea:
Deep market research
Gathering structured and in-depth information about the market landscape replete with related government policies, technology leverage and adoption, compete mapping and target consumer arena amongst others are essentials. Insights from these also render parameters basis which your own product ought to be developed and updated.
Irrespective of the availability of shelf space and product visibility, it is the quality, relevance and complete fitment into the targeted need of the consumer that are dealmakers.
Befitting Marketing communications and branding
Digital marketing and omni-channel communications are the keywords for trade marketeers while setting up marketing channels. Do unto the channel partners just as you would unto your consumers!
Clarity of brand offerings and product values induces brand affinity while striking a rapport based on the idea of mutual success cements a trade marketeers’ relationship with the channel partners.
Do notice that one without the other step is incomplete. Channel partners relay the ground realities that only helps in bettering our business while researches without creating brand affinity amongst channel partners is half-baked cake.
True, the Trade marketing landscape is a tumultuous one with rapid digitization, information-overloaded and value-driven consumer, incessant innovation and consumerization and perpetual integration of real and technological worlds.
However, the key to this as mentioned earlier is the channel partners themselves.
Businesses must consider their challenges, satisfy their need of being acknowledged for brand success and undertake to skill for them as desired. Training sessions & certification programs, building a strong community via regular meetups and online presence and linking their success with brand loyalty programs are some of the tactical ways for a successful trade marketing campaign.
Wheels of change
To further the Trade marketing chariot, it is the technology leverage that becomes pertinent to the cause. New-age technologies have heralded the boom of next-gen tools providing impetus to the range of work that a trade marketeer accomplishes.
Device and platform agnostic, these tools primarily address business challenges encountered while planning and executing Trade marketing activities.
A 360-degree information capture and in-depth analysis, robust activity planner, last mile visibility towards activities and its impact towards Sales, performance evaluation platform, influencer management and tracking mechanism, real-time interactive dashboard, Smart Budget Management mechanism, Promotional Activities Tracking Mechanism are just a few of the activities that have capitalized the power of Automation!
There are holistic solutions in the market that help plan and execute Trade marketing activities. They facilitate in tracking & managing on-ground team performance and provide real-time visibility to relevant stakeholders ranging from Sales, Funds, Coverage and Brand advocacy from the channel ecosystem.
Businesses need to focus on trade marketing to strengthen the mid-level of demand-supply chain and percolate brand affinity till the end point – the consumers. A paramount necessity that is only going upwards from here.