Trade Marketing has simplified


The rules and the opportunity in trade marketing have simplified. Objects are giving brands the leg-up in demand generation.

This is not another ‘the world is changing, get ready to do something’ article. This is just a summary of our observations from the last 14 years of our work and the market it lives in, historically, trade marketing. As with all markets, the way issues can be addressed have multiplied; there are new technologies, new cultural behaviours, social expectations and new players.

Historically, we’ve worked with brands looking to standout, increase trial and their rate of sale; by creating objects for their markets often in food, drink or leisure. These briefs have remained the same. Brands who talk to us are normally already thinking differently about their route to market and how they get listings or make the most of the listings they have.

What has changed is what brands need to do to get the permission to be in their market in the first place.

The days of developing a ‘Las Vegas’ influenced totem to ‘drive visibility’ and create some ‘throw-away’ eventually-landfill tat is thankfully reducing by the second. Put it another way, the period of the field of (brand) dreams ‘build it and they will come’ sales strategy is over.

The three stakeholders of trade marketing success are now all equal partners in demand generation; the outlet management, the service professional and the consumer. Design for all three and you are in the game.

1. The outlet management

Where bars and restaurants are increasingly looking to be more authentic, genuine and contemporary they have looked to the worlds of culture and design to provide the answer. Those who create display, service or point of sale materials that are relevant and complementary are welcomed.

2. The service professional

Increasing advocacy is often made complicated. It isn’t. It’s simple, know why they like you. People like people who make their lives better or solve a problem for them. Don’t give them lots of extra things to do, make them juggle like a circus act or introduce the unnecessary. The best education is experiential and admiration is earned when you do something of value.

3. The consumer

Sheena Iyengar (the art of choosing) has already demonstrated that getting attention and aiding consumer selection are different things. Separating out the different needs and behaviours on the journey means you can design solutions to aid each.

Relevancy has always been critical for brands going way back to Stephen Kings 1963-1985 articles. But the physical environment, where they stock you, where they serve your brand, where the choice of your sale is won and lost is a sequence of connected gates, marshalled by gatekeepers, the three stakeholders listed here.

The game has simplified. Solve their issue and you can move to the next gate, fail to solve their issue and you are out of the game.

Here’s the sales pitch. We have a proven, diagnostic process that identifies problems to fix for each of the stakeholders and a design process that ties them all together. We’ve love to help you open your sales gates.

Studio Make Believe extends brand engagement and consumer experience through product design and objects. 

Anthony Dickens