Why Trade Marketing & Trade Engagement is an important part of any brands marketing mix?
The 5 Ps of marketing are even more important today than ever before. Manufacturing is becoming easy and replication of ideas is rampant. So when your product innovation & relevance to short lived, what can you rely on in the medium to long term??
Trade & Channel Partners are a very important part of the company’s marketing mix. Without them – the “Place” P of marketing where would your product be?? Probably in the warehouse!!
Trade & Channel Partners help you get close to your end consumers. They act as your sales person, your advocate, your advertising channel, your partner in your business
While advertising & brand pull are very important, if Trade & Channel Partners decide to stock & promote your competitors’ products, your advertising efforts will go waste
Aligning your channel & retail distribution partners to your goals, plans, objectives, programs and promotions is very important
More often than not, they are forgotten on alignment of company brand & marketing initiatives, unless there is a specific consumer scheme that is to be made available at the retail outlet
Keeping your Trade & Channel partners engaged is not easy. It is not a short term promotional initiative. It is a long-term commitment. And needs sustained efforts and investments.
So how do you keep your Trade & Channel Partners engaged& loyal??
- Have a stable, loyal & dedicated trade sales team
- Speak their language
- Have realistic & easy to understand trade schemes
- Engage with trade partners across all levels
- Have your own senior management involved with trade partners
- Set up & implement a good effective trade engagement program
What is a trade engagement program and what could it look like?
Trade & Dealer engagement goes beyond going rewards for performance. Though Dealer Rewards & Incentives are the cornerstone of the commercial relationship and are often seen as part of the terms of trade, engagement with dealers& channel partners goes beyond and includes the following
- Regular communication. No matter how small or big, regular communication with dealer & retailers helps keep the relationship good. It can be in the form of a letter, an sms or whatsapp message or simply a phone call.
- Recognition. Rewards Yes. But recognition, even better. Recognize small and big achievements of your channel partners. Let the information flow back from your sales force to your senior management and set up systems for recognition to flow back to the partner. It may be a nice message from your CEO or your Sales Head. Recognition is not only for official work. Recognition can be for personal achievements too. By knowing your dealer well and having processes to have information available to your Trade CRM system, you can initiate a good ongoing communication program with your dealers and channel partners.
- Personal Touch. This is important as no machine can replace personal engagement. A regular visitation plan & opportunities created for dealer to meet with key personnelin your company is important.
- Lend your expertise. As a large company you may have certain expertise that you have or can afford to have and pass this to your channel partners. For example, your web marketing team could guide them on how to create a web presence for themselves. Or your finance team could guide them on better cash flow management. Or your design team could guide them about more effective store design. Or your procurement team could help get better deals on some of their asset purchases.
- Bring in the families. The silent supporters of your entrepreneurial trade partners can also be a part of your trade engagement programs. Scholarships,family talent recognition, career counseling, internships, contests, social networking all can be a part of your trade engagement programs.
To know more about how you can better manage your trade engagement programs write to email@example.com or call on 9820843513.
Relationships Are Important, But Do You Have The Time To Manage Them?
We all have relationships. Some more than others. Relationships are important to us in many ways.
Depending on the country and culture, relationships could be managed in many ways
In some cultures and organisations there are many different sets of relationships that are managed in parallel. Some sets may be more important than others. In some cultures and organisations , relationships are not in different sets but reside within one set, all clearly defined and with the inner circle being the most important.
As a business too, depending on the organisation culture, relationships can vary
For any leader , there is a dual role. On one side there are a host of personal relationships to manage. On the other side the responsibility to lead the relationships and engagement for the organisation
Having established the types of relationships we have and having ranked them (mentally or actually) , we have to spend enough time (and money) to manage these relationships
QUESTION : Do we really have the time to manage so many relationships and do justice to all of them?
ANSWER : NO
We do not have the time to manage so many relationships. And with the huge number of communication channels now available, it is even more difficult to manage these.
Every organization needs to spend time and money on relationships. Whether it is to celebrate an employees birthday or to spend time with a distributor or to engage with the public.
Relationships Matter. And every organisation needs to recognize this. As a business or HR leader you could draw up a relationship planner with the target audience, initiatives and investment into these initiatives. Create and implement a plan on a sustained basis. Results may be intangible or invisible but they will show up on charts like employee retention, sales, referral business and more.
To know more about the types of relationship management and engagement programs that you can run with your distributors, channel partners, employees, business influencers and key opinion leaders you can consult with Radii Rewards and get ideas. And Radii Rewards can help you implement many of these initiatives on an outsourced basis, thereby giving you the extra time to be able to focus on your core business
To know more please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.radiirewards.comArticle Authored by Ajay Miglani
Whatsapp: +86 188 1322 8742
Trade and Travel Agency Engagement Programs for Travel Related Companies
The primary trade partners for travel related companies are travel agents
Travel agents are the target of various travel service providers including
- Travel facilitation partners
- Ground transportation
- Excursion agents
- Technology providers
- Other service providers like travel insurance, foreign exchange and phone cards
- Tourism promotion bodies
Travel agency margins are thin and getting thinner. Costs of doing business are high. Competition from online portals is high. The entry of new businesses in this space has slowed down
So, what should be the focus of travel agent engagement to be done by a travel services company that falls in one of the categories above?
Wining and dining apart, the focus can be on helping the travel agent build their business. Get them new business using the marketing dollars that may otherwise be spent on giving rewards and incentives. This will help connect with the travel agency on an emotional front, leading to higher loyalty
There are many ways to help the business of travel agents and as a brand that wishes to engage with travel agents you may want to use one of these methods
- Build a travel agent engagement program that has clear communication objectives for each sales visit. And in between sales visits, get the sales team to be able to stay in touch with the travel agent
- Create a program that will drive business to the travel agent. This could be through brand alliances, marketing support and lead generation activities
- Give the travel agent tools to engage better with their customers to get repeat purchases
- Give the travel agent technology and capability to reduce their costs
- Create online digital assets that can drive traffic to the travel agent. For example an online resource guide for consumers that features the travel agencies in detail
To know more about how Radii Rewards can help you create a good travel agency engagement program write to email@example.com or call +91 98208 43513
Trade and Dealer Loyalty goes beyond rewards
Trade Partners and Dealers are part of the critical business path of several companies that use traditional distribution channel for sales
Keeping trade and retail partners engaged is essential for the brand to keep itself top of mind with its distribution partners
The key elements that build trade loyalty towards your brand are
- Good Product that has consumer demand
- Product Training and Knowledge about the product that makes the retailers engagement with the consumer easier
- Good Quality Customer Service and response to retailers and dealers’queries
- Quality of the Sales Team and the interaction that they have with the distribution partners
- Relationships with and engagement with senior management of the brand
- Financial Incentives for performance
- Recognition and feeling of being a part of the brand
As a trade marketing head, you can create an assessment matrix and do an assessment of your trade relationships. You can build a strategic trade engagement plan that covers the key elements highlighted above
Regularly assess your trade relationships using the following methods
- Face to face skip level engagement by senior management with trade and channel partners
- Third party surveys of dealers and retailers to get unbiased feedback in a structured way
- Analysis of historical data combined with insights from the front-line sales force
- Market share within each dealer and the growth or decline
While thinking about structuring your trade and distributor engagement and loyalty programs consider the above. Loyalty goes beyond financial incentives and rewards. And it’s your brands relationship score with the individual dealer that matters. And this score is a result of the various elements mentioned in this article. Regularly assess your relationships and work on targeted programs to improve your relationship score with your trade and channel partners
The author, Ajay Miglani, is a director and mentor at Radii Rewards (www.radiirewards.com), an established trade and channel loyalty and engagement program management company based in Mumbai, India