What is Trade Marketing?

BY Basia Zaraczyńska

Effective marketing strategy is a key element of success for any company. One of its important components is trade marketing, which has gained significance in recent years.

Trade marketing is a strategic approach to promoting and selling products, focusing on collaboration between manufacturers and retailers, with the aim of increasing sales and profits for both parties. In this article, we will delve into the essence of trade marketing, its key elements, and strategies that can contribute to success in a dynamic and competitive market environment.

Definition of Trade Marketing

Trade marketing comprises activities aimed at improving the distribution and visibility of products by establishing effective relationships with intermediaries or distributors. It focuses on building strong cooperation between the manufacturer, sales points (stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, retail chains), and customers, aiming to support and promote the sale of products or services.

Goals of Trade Marketing

The main goal is to influence the behavior of trading partners in such a way as to increase the quantity of products sold, enhance their visibility in stores, gain a larger market share, strengthen the brand’s position on shelves, consistently improve sales results, efficiently manage the distribution channel, and stand out from the competition. Trade marketing activities focus on directing the attention of retailers to specific products, ensuring the availability of promotional materials, visual exposure, and promotions that convince consumers to purchase particular products.

A key element is to encourage store owners to cooperate, provide training, define cooperation terms precisely, and monitor the effects of trade marketing activities. Collaboration between the manufacturer and retail chains is crucial in retail trade, enabling coordinated and coherent promotional activities at different distribution stages, thereby increasing the sales efficiency of both parties within the industry.

Tools of trade marketing

Trade marketing involves placing products in promotional leaflets. However, first, one must consider how to get into such a promotional leaflet. The basic tool of trade marketing is research. Through thorough market research and understanding distributor preferences, you can propose appropriate products and cooperation terms that will persuade them to collaborate with your brand.

Trade marketing tools also include:

  • Leaflets – educating customers about the product.
  • Point of sale (POS) sales materials – Documents placed at the point of sale, serving a similar role to leaflets by educating customers and increasing the chances of product purchase.
  • Roll-ups – Otherwise known as advertising stands, visible from a distance and durable.
  • Contests and gamification – Elements of competition between distributors that engage and increase involvement, resulting in increased sales.
  • Courses and training – Contests and gamification, introducing competition between distributors, generate independent involvement, simultaneously promoting sales growth.
two men explaining theory of trade marketing

Elements of trade marketing

  1. Merchandising – a category management tool that influences the presentation of goods in stores, facilitating customer selection and navigation.

  2. Category management – a strategy for optimizing product categories that, through trade marketing, impacts customers’ shopping experiences, increasing business efficiency.

  3. Pricing management – the process of setting product prices, a key element of marketing strategy that affects a company’s financial results and customers’ perception of product value.

  4. Distribution – Choosing the right distribution channel, including online, traditional, and omnichannel stores, depends on various factors and affects product availability for customers.

  5. Promotional strategies – Based on tools to distinguish products at the point of sale and increase sales, tailored to customer expectations.

  6. Staff efficiency – Knowledge of the manufacturer’s representatives and retail staff is crucial for effective trade marketing activities.

  7. Process – Each action in trade marketing should be repeatable and part of a clear strategy. Category management is a process that requires constant monitoring and adjustment to changing market conditions.

Advantages and disadvantages of trade marketing

Gaining a competitive edge through effective promotional activities.Significant financial investment in preparing promotional materials and investing in new technologies.
Increasing the manufacturer’s market share and brand awareness among consumers.Need for coordination of multiple activities when collaborating with distributors, requiring special competencies.
Increase in sales and development of the company due to increased product visibility.Risk of campaign failure despite prior analysis and efforts.
Construction of an efficient distribution network, strengthening the company’s position in the market.Increased dependence on distributors, which may limit control over the distribution process.
Ability for strategic planning and implementation of promotional activities.Difficulties in accurately measuring return on investment in trade marketing.
Building a consistent brand image through cohesive promotional efforts.Challenges in maintaining a consistent brand image across different distribution channels and geographical areas.

Strategies for effective trade marketing

Effective trade marketing requires strategic planning and execution. What can be done to make it as effective as possible? Here are two strategies worth considering:

Partnership Work

  • Building relationships with retail sellers: developing strong relationships with retail sellers is key to ensuring product visibility and sales.
  • Joint business planning: collaboration with retail sellers to plan promotions, inventory levels, and product launches.

Data utilization

  • Market analysis: using market data to understand trends, consumer behavior, and retailer needs.
  • Performance tracking: using data analysis to track the effectiveness of trade marketing initiatives and adjust strategies accordingly.

Who can benefit from trade marketing?

Large companies have significant budgets and resources, enabling them to implement advanced trade marketing strategies. However, it has been proven that utilizing own products in collaboration with distributors is not reserved exclusively for large companies. Examples such as campaigns promoting world cuisines or vegan products demonstrate that local products can also be featured in promotional leaflets and displays.

Some innovative ideas do not require large financial outlays. Creating a loyalty program or identifying a market niche can be very effective, requiring only careful market observation, flexibility, and creativity.


Trade marketing is an integral part of a comprehensive marketing strategy, especially for companies heavily reliant on retailers and distributors for selling their products. Effective trade marketing strategies, such as partnership-based cooperation, in-store promotions, and digital platform utilization, can lead to increased brand visibility and better product placement.


What is the main goal of trade marketing?

Answer: The main goal is to increase demand for products at the distributor, wholesaler, or retail seller level.

How do digital platforms impact trade marketing?

Answer: Digital platforms offer new promotion and partnership opportunities, expanding the reach and effectiveness of trade marketing strategies.

Can trade marketing strategies be measured for effectiveness?

Answer: Yes, through various indicators such as sales volume, market share, and feedback from retail sellers.

What is the difference between trade marketing and consumer marketing?

Answer: Consumer marketing focuses on promoting products directly to end consumers, while trade marketing focuses on promoting products at point of sale and building relationships with retailers to increase sales.

Which industries most commonly utilize trade marketing?

Answer: Trade marketing is applicable in various industries, but it is particularly significant in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), pharmaceutical, electronic, and food sectors.

Basia Zaraczyńska
Marketing Specialist

Basia is a graduate of Image Communication at the University of Wrocław. At Neon Shake she is responsible for the agency’s marketing. She is interested in UX Design and branding.

Hi! Are you interested in this topic and would like to discuss similar activities in your company?

Fill out the form and schedule a free 30-minute strategy call!

    Dziękujemy za wypełnienie formularza!

    Wkrótce skontaktujemy się z Tobą, by umówić zakres i termin spotkania. Na tej podstawie dobierzemy eksperta, który poprowadzi konsultacje.

    Życzymy udanego dnia :) zespół Neon Shake