Trade Communication – it just has to get personal

A FACS Report ©

Trade Communication – it just has to get personal

The simplicity of “yester year” has left the market:

Back in the day

“They all read trade magazines don’t they?, Just send out a press release with some images and place some adverts, JOB DONE!”   If that doesn’t work we have lots of reps on the road for a sales push”

I am afraid they don’t and sales resource has been cut to the bone and sales agencies used only tactically.


Because the number of stores have declined and the number of them controlled by multiples & franchise has massively increased! Meaning the number of independents has declined and along with it the recognition that the buying decision isn’t being made at store level anymore.

In the forecourt shop market it’s already 75% and in the wider convenience store market it’s approaching 50% who do not make purchase decisions at store level and have their range controlled by symbol or supply chain.

That amounts to a massive waste of marketing budget.

The market has dramatically changed yet the resources used by trade media and PR agencies .have not.

These old style measurements focusing on circulation figures via ABC or Cision (Gorkana) just don’t deliver in this changing market and fail to recognise the growth of the multiple and how many stores now have central buying so there is a real need to change the culture.


It’s not how many it’s who!

These resources are not able to tell you if a particular category buyer or the head of purchasing is going to receive a magazine or in fact if they going to read it, equally it won’t be able to tell you if they have visited a website or read your press release.

Buyer engagement needs to get as personal as a face to face meeting. Kick out trade communication, call it customer engagement be it a buyer with 1000 stores or just 1.  The difference is the method and likely return.

How do you stand out from the crowd in Convenience when there are over 220 trade magazines being sent every year in this sector and that’s without wholesale, Food service plus regional titles and symbol/wholesale own publications.

That’s virtually a magazine to read every working day of the year, what busy buyer is going to do that? PLUS:

  • Trade magazines are posted in plastic clear wraps (not exactly environmentally friendly) but also you can see what it is so no need to open it if you are pressed for time!
  • Have a count up of how many multiple copies of the same magazine arrive at your company, for people who have left or duplicates, well they all count towards circulation I guess! Don’t you think this also happens at retail outlets?
  • How are these circulation lists updated, investigate as you might be surprised!

Consider this:

  • Time in front of a buyer is limited, suppliers need to find additional methods of standing out from the crowd
  • Brand owners should know who they need to talk to and join up the sales & marketing resource for more personal customer engagement.
  • Revisit trade communication strategies recognising that the majority of decisions are not made at store level anymore.
  • Separate consumer & trade marketing strategies and agencies (they do a different job!)
  • Regularly update all key personnel with an accurate picture of the market and trends.
  • It’s clear that there is not a great grasp of the true numbers of outlets in our sector and even more so is the lack of knowledge of who is actually making the purchasing decisions for how many outlets

Need to take a fresh approach to your trade marketing (Customer engagement)?

Just email: or call 01604 660698 mobile 07768 465569 to begin a no obligation initial discussion.

  • FACS Marketing Services will even help you select or review your external PR & media agencies.

Author: kimbarnard

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