Trade Marketing Insights

Creative Trade Marketing Strategies To Make your Product Stand Out

Posted by Phil Wright on 10-Jul-2018 09:26:00
Phil Wright
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Why Read?

This post highlights how you can utilise creative trade marketing strategies to create:

  • Sales-driven, beautifully designed trade catalogues
  • Engaging product presentations to wow retailers and secure sell-in
  • Powerful, attention-grabbing POS displays consumers can't ignore
  • Fun and interactive trade show stands to entice prospects and gather contact information
  • Exciting engagement apps and platforms to turn retail sales teams into brand advocates

As a trade marketer, do you ever feel like trade marketing is seen as the poor relation to consumer marketing?

Let’s face it.

Trade marketing isn’t usually seen as the most ‘creative’ area of the marketing spectrum.

If consumer marketing turned up at a wedding party, it’d be dazzling everyone with witty anecdotes, flashy aesthetics and a big budget to buy everyone drinks.

It’s slick, cool and everyone knows it.

But consumer marketing’s strange distant cousin, trade marketing, arrives at the party unnoticed, sits in the corner by itself and is met with confusion whenever it tries to explain what it does.

You and I know this doesn’t have to be the case...



Trade marketing can be cool, creative and full of emotional hooks and witty messaging...

...because this is what brings in the deals.

In my years of experience working with creative agencies I’ve witnessed first-hand how amazingly powerful a creative trade marketing campaign can be.

From making a retailer jump up with excitement, right the way through to reducing someone to tears and eliciting every emotional response in-between.

Often, it’s possible to spot a stunning campaign, but struggle to put your finger on quite why it’s so successful.

It could be the brilliant copywriting, powerful imagery, the sentiment that’s being expressed, or a combination of all of three.

There’s just something about it that resonates. We remember it, and even take action because of it.

But putting your finger on the elusive 'X-factor' that can set alight a sell-in presentation, power up your product catalogue or add some emotional finesse to your messaging isn’t always easy. 

So how do you effectively inject creativity into your trade marketing efforts?

Read on to see how we’ve transformed trade marketing campaigns into exciting showstoppers, and find out how you can do the same.

Be Visual


Viridian 02

You may have noticed that over the past few years that the way we communicate is becoming increasingly dominated by visual information.
Just look at the proliferation of images within social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat
even mainstream websites have to compete visually to be taken seriously.
For millennia, humans have communicated visually – as far back as cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphics we’ve used images to tell stories and communicate our messages. 
In reality, communication via the written word has been a relatively recent occurrence, fuelled by the invention of the printing press in the 15thCentury. 
And while it's still crucial for our communications, visuals are beginning to reassert their importance.
It’s in our DNA: humans are literally hard-wired to decode the world visually.
A stat that has been bounded about in marketing circles over the past couple of years is that the brain processes an image up-to 60,000 times faster than text.

Apply It

Be as visual as possible in your trade marketing efforts.
If you’re creating a sell-in presentation, bring your product to life by creating a mock-up of a marketing campaign to significantly increase the chances of a retailer ranging your product.
Incorporate an opening video into your product presentation to silence the crowd and quickly communicate the features and benefits to get to the core of your product.

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Use creative and well-designed slides in your presentations to improve brand perception. Make it interesting and choose colours that reflect your product branding and the emotions you want to evoke.
Use professional photography for your images in your product catalogue design. Split your sections up with colour variations and set the scene to create an attractive proposition.
In your trade catalogue, paint a creative picture of what your product will look like in the consumer’s environment to increase sales.

 Click to Tweet 
For example, a trade catalogue showcasing luxury cutlery should feature creative imagery of the tableware, laid out for fine dining, to resonate with your target demographic. 
Remember, your imagery could also reflect the style of the catalogue.
Also, ensure your POS material is attention-grabbing and engaging.
Grabbing the consumer's attention within seconds can only be done by carefully crafted visuals.
Use visual theatre to make point of sale displays that reflect the brand and stand out from the crowd.
Viridian POS

The Power Of The SubConscious Mind

The renowned psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, introduces the concept of two systems of thinking in his seminal book Thinking Fast and Slow. 
System 1 is instinctive and intuitive, where the subconscious controls much of our decision making. 
System 2 is more considered and conscious, where decisions are rationalised or approved, which is ultimately slower and more energy draining.
What’s interesting is that the dominant language of the System 1 way of thinking is visual. 
Kahneman’s studies reveal that around 90 percent of the 11 million bits of information our auto-pilot processes every second is visual.
This revelation highlights the impact design can play over our decision-making process, even if we’re not consciously aware of it, casting doubt on the notion that we are indeed highly intelligent, rational beings.
Why else would we be so compelled to buy a TV after watching thousands of colourful bouncy balls hurl down a street in slow motion?

But we were.
But there's a little more to it than that... 
Not all visuals are equal. My experience has shown me that some are more equal than others.
There are a number of factors that combine into making a campaign memorable. 
It was Aristotle who identified the three different strands bound up in persuasion: Ethos, Pathos and Logos. 
Ethos meaning credibility, Pathos is eliciting an emotional response, whilst Logos is an appeal through logic: a reasoned argument. 
The same is true today, just as it was then, although science has now helped us to understand that ‘Pathos’ is dominant at influencing both a consumer’s  and retailer’s  decisions.

Apply It

Use emotive trade marketing strategies and you will increase your product sales.
Give your buyer persona a personality. Think of them as a real character when creating your sell-in presentations, to create an emotional connection with the retailer.

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Jawbone buyer persona
Utilise creative storytelling to excite and inspire the retailer to take action.
Share their goals, dreams and aspirations.
Answer their challenges and reveal how your product can meet their needs.

The Power Of Emotions


Advertisers have known since the heyday of Madison Avenue the power of harnessing emotions and creating an emotional connection. 
What they instinctively understood and tapped into was a gold mine, but no-one really knew how or why it worked so successfully.
In 1980 the Polish-born American social psychologist, Robert Boleslaw Zajonc, called on science to embrace a truth that poets take for granted: 
That feelings are primeval, that they are present before rational thinking takes place, and that they play a crucial role in driving behaviour.
This is a powerful statement and one that anyone wishing to communicate effectively should take note of — feelings (or emotions) are deep rooted, quick to recall and are fundamental to the way we act.
Get this:
Scientific research has shown that the emotional centres of the brain are activated first whilst a subject makes a decision or chooses between different stimuli. 
And these results are even more emphatic when a reward or punishment is the outcome of the decision. 
Dr Gemma Calvert, a neuroscientist and pioneer of neuromarketing, asserts that the same is also true of memories.
Attention and elaboration (actively reviewing/rehearsing the material) help to shift information into long-term memory.
Yet studies have shown that highly emotional events or images can sometimes by-pass the short-term rehearsal strategies and go straight into long-term storage from where they are easily recalled.
These are called “flashbulb” memories and such is the potency of the emotions they evoke, they leave a lasting impression in the brains storage systems.
Dr John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, backs this up asserting:
Emotionally arousing events tend to be better remembered than neutral events.

Apply It

Set your trade show display alight and grab attention with product videos.
Tech Data Mobile - MWC - trade exhibition
Incorporate fun and interactive games on your trade show stand to pique the interest of prospects.

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And to increase in-store sales of your product, implement a retailer engagement programme that encourages your retailers' sales teams to increase their product knowledge.
Use trade engagement apps that utilise gamification and prizes to motivate retail sales teams and ensure your brand is always front of mind.

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The Science Bit


The human brain is unbelievably complex, and understanding it has been hailed as the last frontier of human science, with a tremendous amount of research currently being undertaken to lift the veil on its secrets. 

It consists of many sections, each managing different processes.
While a number of parts of the brain are active when we're looking at a campaign, triggering the system responsible for our emotions can have dramatic results, even overriding rational thought. 
The Amygdala, sometimes known as 'the lizard brain', controlling our fight or flight instinctsis the oldest part of the human brain, playing a crucial role in keeping your ancestors alive.
Dr Medina explains what happens: 
The amygdala is chock-full of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and it uses dopamine the way an office assistant uses Post-It notes. When the brain detects an emotionally charged event, the amygdala releases dopamine into the system. 
Because dopamine greatly aids memory and information processing, you could say that the Post-It note reads Remember this! 
Getting the brain to put a chemical Post-It note on a given piece of information means that information is going to be more robustly processed. It is what every teacher, parent and ad executive wants.
Les Binet, Head of Effectiveness, adam&eve DDB, conducted research over the past 30 years looking at the effectiveness of award winning campaigns. 
What he found corroborates the science, that when looking at long-term success it’s not only about communicating messages, it’s about emotional priming. 
Associating brands with emotional states, feelings and instinctsthat’s what makes brands grow long-term. 

Apply It

For trade marketers, it’s not just about communicating facts and figures about your brand or your USPs and all that classical persuasion stuff.
It’s about igniting passion and excitement within your retailers and consumers.
Since we all have lizard brains, simplify your messaging to one key point, whenever possible, that taps into an emotion. 
Trade marketing naturally incorporates functional adjectives such as 'stackable', 'non-stick' and 'durable'.
Don't forget to use descriptive adjectives and verbs such as 'luxury', 'chic', 'classic', 'feel', ‘create’, ‘share’ and ‘celebrate’ that create an emotional connection with the consumer.

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Descriptive Adjectives

Final Words

So where does that leave us? 
Binet sums up his research by asserting that creativity has the ability to amplify the emotional equity that’s tied up in a campaign, and truly creative campaigns have been proven to deliver the biggest emotional response, which in turn deliver the greatest results.
My instinct was right – investing in creativity, taking the time to ensure the best creative response to a brief can have a dramatic effect on the long-term growth of a business.
It shouldn't be any different for a trade marketer.
Always think of the emotion you want to elicit and use creative trade marketing strategies when developing your product presentation, POS displays, trade catalogue or any other marketing material.
Thanks for reading and a big thanks to our trade marketing community for your continued engagement and support.
It’s been emotional.

Want More?

Creativity and inspiration permeates the whole product process, from proposition, to sell-in, right up to merchandising.

Download our Ultimate Guide To Trade Marketing and see how you can use cutting-edge creative techniques and technology to guide your trade marketing efforts.

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Topics: trade marketing, pos, trade catalogue, product catalogue, trade stand

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