Working as a trade marketing manager

With global brands exploding into the market and infiltrating the lives of consumers through various channels and platforms, marketing has taken on greater significance and complexity.

Today’s consumer-driven market calls for marketers with specialist skills. Take for example, trade marketing. Compared to brand management, trade marketing is a discipline of marketing that strives to increase demand at the wholesaler, retailer, or distributor level as compared to the more commonly-known consumer level.

Trade marketers are usually very familiar with a particular field and have the vital contacts of retailers, wholesalers and distributors to market their product well.

The importance of trade marketing

To ensure that a retailer helps differentiate a company’s product against competitors in the market, a trade marketer must help market products to retailers.

Trade marketing managers are important in sectors such as FMCG, where there is a myriad of products; each competing against the other to gain prominence in the retail space.

Additionally, trade marketers are usually very familiar with a particular field and have the vital contacts of retailers, wholesalers and distributors to market their product well.

Job responsibilities of a trade marketing manager

A trade marketing manager is usually responsible for local market brand development within a channel. This is done across a variety of marketing strategies including product launches, public relations and communications efforts, setting up displays and designing loyalty programmes.

Trade marketers typically have two target groups: Distributor/dealers, or retailers.

Skills needed to be a trade marketer

To be a trade marketing manager, you usually need:

  • relevant industry experience
  • three to five years’ proven channel marketing experience
  • expertise in marketing programme development for retail outlets
  • showroom, trade marketing, or tiered distribution experience
  • proven project management skills

Your career path

A trade marketer typically starts as a trade marketing assistant to learn the ropes, before moving on to an executive role after two years and managerial role after three to five years. After which, a trade marketing manager may see one’s portfolio increase to cover a regional one, with an increasing range of products to manage. Experienced trade marketers are usually in high demand, especially if they have lots of experience managing a particular product line and have worked in an industry for long, for example, within FMCG which typically requires prior industry experience for potential job seekers.

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