What Is Trade Marketing? Your Guide To An Increased Market Presence

If you are a fan of the refreshing candy-like flavor and the tickling bubbles of Coca Cola, you likely know that you can find it in any shop, small or large, around the globe.

If you’ve ever wondered how it always seems to pops up in front of you, ready to quench your thirst, here’s the answer: Through trade marketing.

But what is trade marketing, exactly, and how can it help you position your product so that consumers see and buy it?

We’re here to answer this question and more. We’ll share trade marketing strategies, explain how to build one, and provide the top five advertising agencies that can help you achieve results with trade marketing.

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What is Trade Marketing?

Trade marketing, also known as business-to-business (B2B) marketing, is a marketing discipline that aims to boost demand for your products through supply chain partners.

These supply chain partners typically include:

  • Distributors
  • Wholesalers
  • Retailers

Unlike traditional marketing, trade marketing focuses on the means to achieve the final sale, rather than on the final sale itself.

Who Uses Trade Marketing?

Trade marketing is used by any business involved in a supply chain. The process typically includes the following stages:

A company manufactures consumer packaged goods (CPG) and dispatches them to a distributor at lower prices than the competition. The manufacturer offers additional benefits, such as discounts, bonuses or other incentives to make sure the distributor extensively promotes their products.

  • The distributor sells the products to selected wholesalers.
  • The wholesalers sell the goods to retailers.
  • The retailers advertise the product to end consumers through various means, such as more shelf space, prominent display or branded merchandise.
  • This process ensures availability and a consistent supply from the manufacturer to the end consumer.

Why is Trade Marketing Important?

So why is this process important for a brand? Let’s dig into the advantages trade marketing can bring to your business.

Trade marketing:

Builds Relationships

Trade marketing helps you build long-lasting relationships with supply chain partners. This in turn can lead to easy distribution, increased profits and constructive feedback on possible product improvements.

Provides A Competitive Advantage

Trade marketing helps ensure your products are presented over the products of the competition, by offering the sellers attractive margins.

Increases Your Market Presence

Trade marketing helps you increase your market presence by making your products accessible to customers who prefer shopping in retail and local shops, rather than shopping online.

Customers who prefer to shop in physical stores are more likely to trust the retailer from which they have purchased goods in the past, so they are likely to show interest in your product if the retailer recommends it.

Boosts Profitability

Trade marketing helps you sell your goods even if you don’t have enough knowledge about your end customers, by partnering with distributors, retailers and wholesalers who have more extensive knowledge about your target market.

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Trade Marketing Strategies

To achieve results with your trading partnership, you need to implement marketing strategies that support your business goals.

The most common types of trade marketing strategies include:


Branding allows you to communicate your unique value proposition and the benefits of your product, raise awareness about the products you offer, establish an emotional connection with your customers and make wholesalers, distributors and retailers more willing to present and promote your goods.

Trade Promotions

Trade promotions allow you to increase your market placement and generate sales by giving wholesalers and retailers good margins to promote your products.

Based on price reductions, coupons, bulk deals, incentives and bonuses, trade promotions are beneficial for both your consumers and trade marketing partners.

Trade Shows

Trade shows, also known as exhibitions or trade fairs, allow you to meet customers and promote your products. They also allow you to network with distributors, wholesalers and retailers who can become your trade marketing partners.

Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships with well-known brands allow you to benefit from their popularity and credibility, along with their data and insights, to raise awareness about your products, build trust and boost sales.


Advertising allows you to target either mass audiences or specific audiences and boost brand awareness. Advertising helps create desire for your products, which leads the consumer to shop in the retail store to find them.

On the other hand, when consumers show interest in a product their favorite retailer does not offer, the retailer is likely to contact other levels within the supply chain to make the product available.

Making customers aware of your product facilitates the work of distributors, wholesalers and retailers.

How to Develop a Trade Marketing Strategy

To develop a successful trade marketing strategy:

Conduct Market Research

  • Study the pain points, needs and expectations of your target audience
  • Research your competitors and the methods they use to sell their product(s)

Study The Current Market Trends

  • Research the current B2B marketing trends to come up with trade marketing initiatives that will work for you
  • Find opportunities you can use to your benefit, such as product price, added value for the customer or new solution to an existing problem

Design And Develop Your Product

  • Design your product in line with consumer demands to make it stand out as a preferred choice on the market
  • Use innovation to make it desirable for consumers
  • Decide attractive packaging options
  • Brand your product

Build Brand Awareness

  • Build a website that reflects your brand
  • Create marketing and advertising materials to promote your brand

Establish Your Product Proposition & Monitoring System

  • Prepare an offer for distributors, wholesalers and retailers
  • Identify and implement systems to monitor and manage simultaneous promotions at multiple retailers
  • Integrate a system, together with your supply chain partners, to supervise inventory movement within the supply chain

Create An Advertising Plan

  • Consider the types of ads and advertising channels you want to use to promote your product
  • Work with a professional advertising agency to establish a thorough plan with weekly and monthly initiatives

From market research of competitors and trends to branding and advertising, a trade marketing strategy will help you reach your target audiences and successfully promote your product.

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Top 5 Advertising Agencies To Help You Build A Trade Marketing Strategy

Working with an advertising agency with a proven track record can help you build one of the best brand awareness strategies to ensure your products reach your target market.

An agency can also support your direct response marketing efforts to evoke an immediate response from your target groups and encourage them to search for your product.

Here’s our roundup of the top five advertising agencies that can help you drive measurable results.

1. AXIS visual

Headquartered in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Axis visual combines creativity with extensive knowledge or business and production processes to promote your brand.

AXIS visual offers:

  • Branding
  • Advertising agency services
  • Logo design
  • Creative
  • Product design

Some of Axis visual’s well-known clients include United Incentives, Compass One, Acurian and Crothall.

2. LaSoft

Headquartered in Wroclaw, Poland, LaSoft specializes in building innovative applications to help startups raise awareness about their products.

LaSoft offers:

  • Mobile app development
  • Branding
  • Digital marketing
  • Product design
  • Web design

LaSoft’s notable clients include TheSpoke, Casadesk, Servant and SapientBot.

3. Identity Marketing Group

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Identity Marketing Group designs solutions and products for companies of any size.

Identity Marketing Group offers:

  • Video production
  • Advertising agency services
  • Branding
  • Digital marketing
  • Print design

Identity Marketing Group has partnered with brands such as MasterCard, Drake Williams Steel, Miller Electric and VISA.

4. Black Propeller

Headquartered in Bel Air, Maryland, Black Propeller manages over $100 million per year in ad spend across various paid search channels.

Black Propeller offers:

  • PPC
  • Digital advertising
  • Digital marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Social media marketing

Black Propeller’s notable clients include Optex, Fast Pace Health, Next day Floors and Valet Living.

5. KHJ

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, KHJ specializes in consumer brand marketing and business-to-business strategies.

KHJ offers:

  • Branding
  • Advertising agency services
  • Digital marketing
  • Video production
  • 360° Digital agency services

KHJ’s well-known clients include Quest Diagnostics, MassGaming, Abbott Molecular and Nordblom.

Trade Marketing Tips

Now that you know how to build a trade marketing strategy, here are some top tips from our experts, to help make your strategy a success!

  • Create a promotion schedule around specific themes, such as annual festivals and holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s
  • Organize cross promotions of your brand
  • Maintain consistent messaging across all marketing channels
  • Present your products to consumers by comparing them to your competitors, showcasing the benefits they can bring in terms of price, quality, niche, etc.
  • Plan well in advance to properly distribute resources and time
  • Use your promotions to both boost sales and grow your brand
  • Pay to retailers on scan, meaning reimburse them for what shoppers have purchased rather than paying huge amounts in advance

Set goals for your trade promotions and analyze the results, taking into account all costs, such as retailer fees, discounts or fixed costs

What is Trade Marketing? Key Takeaways

Trade marketing allows you to present your products through supply chain partners, such as distributors, wholesalers and retailers, to increase your reach and build credibility.

Using trade marketing:

  • Builds relationships
  • Provides a competitive advantage
  • Increases your market presence
  • Boosts profitability

Trade marketing strategies include:

  • Branding
  • Trade promotions
  • Trade shows
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Advertising

To build a trade marketing strategy:

  • Conduct market research
  • Study the current market trends
  • Design and develop your product
  • Build brand awareness
  • Create your product proposition
  • Create an advertising plan

To start your trade marketing strategy, contact a full-service advertising agency to help you plan and implement trade marketing for your brand.

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