Trade Marketing Insights

The Most Effective Trade Marketing Promotions To Drive Product Sales

Posted by Callum Hornigold on 27-Mar-2019 16:38:09
Callum Hornigold
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Trade marketing promotions increase a product’s visibility and drive brand awareness with customers.

In the brand battlegrounds of retail stores, brands must compete with one another to enlarge their product’s market penetration, or the product’s total sales in comparison to the category competition.

Brands can use a multitude of trade marketing promotion strategies to drive incremental sales.

Here are six of the most effective:

1. On-Pack Promotions

On-pack promotions are a tried and tested method of driving sales.

They can come in various forms and often involve a degree of creativity to engage consumers.

When formulating an on-pack promotion, its essential to think about your target consumers and how the promotion might benefit their lifestyle or appeal to their interests.

The main types of on-pack promotion are:



Offering holidays, match tickets, family days out and other experiences is a sure-fire method of enticing customers to buy your product.

Knowing your consumers is key. Think about what their lifestyle aspirations are. For example, Quaker Oats understands that its consumers are generally more health conscious than consumers who buy cereal.

The brand launched an instant-win on-pack promotion which gave consumers a chance to win a health & wellbeing package from Nuffield Health worth £1,000.

The promotion was well-timed, launching just before New Year’s at a time when everyone starts to think about getting in shape.

KitKat’s ‘January Blues’ is another example of a great, well-timed on-pack promotion.

The brand launched the instant-win promotion in January to help consumers “beat the January Blues”, offering them a chance to win holidays to places such as Miami, Cuba, Thailand and Barbados.


Coupons can be used by consumers to claim free gifts.

Consumers got a kick out of Budweiser’s sponsorship of The World Cup. The brand brought in Steven Gerrard to make a huge press announcement, boldly stating, “A free bud for the nation if England wins The World Cup.”

Unfortunately for fans didn’t win the biggest footy tournament. However, had they won, consumers could claim their free Budweiser by registering online (providing they were of legal drinking age) where they could download a coupon via secure print platform for their free bottle of Bud.


Scratch cards

Scratch cards are a popular promotion strategy due to the excitement and instant gratification the consumer experiences.

It also allows you to control your budget, through setting the number of winning and losing cards from the outset.

For its 250th anniversary celebration, Guinness offered a scratch card to anyone buying a pint of Guinness at participating bars. If the consumer scratched off three panels to receive three matching amounts of money, they won.



Cashback promotions are often aimed at increasing basket spend.

Delux offered consumers £10 cashback if they spent £30 or more in store. Customers were made aware via in-store leaflets and POS.

All customers had to do was mail in with their details, receipt and a promotional leaflet to claim.

The promotion was such a success Delux ran it for a second time.



Collector promotions encourage repeat purchases and drive brand loyalty.

For example, PG Tips ran an innovative collector promotion known as ‘The Cuppa Club’.

Consumers bought special packs of PG tips to collect ‘PG Points’ and redeem them to claim ‘Tea Treats’ – ranging from a teabag tidies to regency cakes.

rsz_pg_tips_cuppa_clubSource: Talking Retail

Free Gift

Who doesn’t love a gift?

Tia Maria capitalised on the free gift format to drive sales utilising a partnership with BaByliss.

Consumers who purchased a bottle of Tia Maria featuring a promotional neck collar were invited to go online and enter a URN to claim a free pair of BaByliss mini hair straighteners.


A big factor in the success of this promotion is partnerships, which leads us to…


A carefully considered partnership can really give your brand more exposure.

Nestle Waters partnered with Lego to celebrate the launch of The Lego Movie 2.

In a bid “get children drinking more water” (always a winner to have an altruistic angle), the brand temporarily redesigned its bottles into Lego characters.

The clever promotion was sure to get kids excited about drinking water from a bottle that looks like a Lego character.


Oreo also had an equally discerning promotional idea.

The brand understands a large portion of its consumers are Gen Z and largely use Snapchat.

Oreo launched an on-pack promotion partnering with Snapchat, where consumers used the social media app to scan a code on the pack. This took them to an online game they had to complete to be in with a chance of winning one of thousands of prizes.

When thinking about your trade marketing promotions, always consider your consumers — What do they do for fun? What social media do they use? Where do they spend their time? What companies can you partner with that will appeal to them?

Altruistic trade marketing promotions

Rather than driving short-term sales, your promotion may have different objectives such as increasing brand awareness and reputation.

For example, BabyBel donated 5p to Comic Relief for every limited-edition pack bought.

Each pack also encouraged consumers to “share a dare” e.g. roar like a dinosaur, walk like a crab, pretend to play air guitar etc. and share them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #BabybelDares.

Babybel then donated £1 for every social media post using the hashtag.

Not only did this promotion aim to increase brand exposure through clever hashtags, but also increased brand perception while raising valuable funds for a good cause.

Is there a good cause your brand is aligned with? Do you have a strong brand mission that your promotions can build upon?


Methods of engagement

You should aim to make it as easy as possible for consumers to engage with your promotion.

The more effort the consumer has to put in to win the less likely they will engage.

Some simple methods of engagement include:

  • simply purchasing your product and cutting out a free pass / coupon / ticket etc. on your packaging.
  • using social media apps to scan a barcode which takes them to a game.
  • finding a winning ticket inside (as pioneered by possibly the greatest trade marketer of all time, Willy Wonka).
  • posting on social media using a specific hashtag.
  • collecting points for prizes by uploading a picture of a receipt or product barcode onto your promotional microsite.
  • a URN found on pack or neck collar to be entered on a promotional microsite.
  • mailing in with their details, receipt and a promotional leaflet in order to claim cashback.
  • registering online where they could download a coupon via a secure print platform.

2. Point of Sale Displays


Point of sale (POS) displays, also known as point of purchase (POP) displays, are used by trade marketing professionals to increase product sales.

There are three goals for your point of sale marketing material:

The first is to attract attention.

The second is to remind the shopper of your brand or latest ATL marketing activities.

The third is to be persuasive enough to make the sale.

POS assets come in all shapes and sizes, why not utilise some of the following?

  • posters and banners
  • wobblers
  • totems
  • headers
  • shelf-edgers
  • gondola ends
  • fins
  • FSDUs (Free-standing display unit)
  • digital signage
  • floor vinyls
  • in-store videos

See our POS services


3. Experiential Campaigns


In contrast to other trade marketing promotions designed to solely drive short-term sales, experiential campaigns are designed to:

  • reinforce your brand and raise awareness.
  • amplify your key messages.
  • boost activation.

They enable you to get your product into the hands (or mouths) of consumers and let them spread the word of your brand through word of mouth and social media.

In-store experiential campaigns are usually conducted on a stand in your retailers during optimum times and in areas of high footfall, such as near the entrance to the store.

Consumers can sample your product or witness a demo. A good experiential campaign will often use social media to increase brand exposure. This could come in the form of:

  • opportunities to take a photo at the stand and share on social media.
  • specific hashtags linked to a competition.
  • AR built into the experimental stand.

See our Experiential services


4. Promotional Pricing

The marketing mix, AKA the ‘4 P’s’ (product, price, place and promotion) should be a foundation to any good trade marketing promotion.

Promotional pricing has long played a key role in driving incremental sales during peak periods.

There are three main types of promotional pricing:

Bundle Pricing

Bundle pricing means selling a number of products together as a bundle for a discounted rate.

This generates a higher perceived value for a lower cost and encourages consumers to buy more than just one item.

Bundling can come in various forms, such as ‘buy one, get one free’ (BOGOF) or ‘3 for the price of 2’.


This is when you reduce your price on a product based on its inability to sell at its original price.

For example, if sales are slow after a month on a £80 sweater, you may mark down the price to £60 in a bid to sell more.

Within trade marketing, ideally you want your price to be consistent from store to store.

Loss Leaders

This is when certain products are priced so low they do not make a profit, but may drive traffic to the brand’s website or generate brand awareness.

Loss leaders are common in retail, particularly with new brands trying to increase exposure.

For example, Boohoo controversially created dresses selling at just £5.00 in order to “drive sales to [its] website.”

Retailers will sometimes put pressure on brands to take part in a loss leader campaign as it can increase volume and brand exposure. However, it can also have serious impact on the brand’s cash flow.

promotional pricing

5. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are rewards schemes offered by brands to their customers to incentivise frequent purchases.

Loyalty programmes build brand loyalty and stop customers switching from your brand to another.

Brands utilise various systems to reward customers who frequently purchase their products, including:

Points per purchase

Customers are rewarded a certain amount of points for every pound / dollar they spend which can then be used to receive rewards.

Tier system

Loyal customers who purchase regularly get promoted through a tier system. The more they purchase, the higher they ascend through the tier system. The higher the tier, the more benefits and rewards they receive.


Some companies such as BrewDog offer equity in their business, owning a small share and receiving a whole host of benefits such as online and in-store discounts, VIP invites to private events a voice within company decisions.


Source: Shopify

6. Digital

In the UK, one in every five pounds spent in retail is now online. More and more brands are opting to get their products ranged on large online retailers.

However, this calls on trade marketing professionals to develop a better understanding of digital trade marketing promotions to better promote their brand over the competition.

Retailers such as Amazon and Walmart offer digital ad services for their suppliers, including:

  • sponsored products (shown at the top of the results page when the consumer performs a search)
  • display ads and retargeting (if your product is viewed by the consumer on Amazon but not purchased, your ad will appear on other sites the consumer visits to re-engage and increase conversions)
  • video ads
  • stores (your very own online store within your retailer’s online store to build brand awareness and increase conversions)

Amazon online trade marketing

Brands must work with their retailers to analyse data and optimise their digital ads and product pages to increase sales.

Trade marketing professionals can utilise a range of content to show off their products in their best light and increase conversions, through:

  • High-quality lifestyle images (product being used in its setting)
  • Various specific product images (front / back / sides / close-ups / three-quarter views / in use / features / details)
  • Video explaining features and benefits and showing product in use
  • Product description including features and benefits
  • Product and technical specs
  • How-to-use guide
  • Warranty / Guarantees
  • Awards
  • Product comparison tables
  • User reviews
  • Social media links

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Topics: trademarketing, trade marketing promotions

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