Leading Data-Driven Promotional Marketing

Data-Led Promotional Marketing | The Case for Trade Marketing Management Software for Campaign and Channel Optimisation

Promotional trade marketing allows brands to influence consumers at point-of-sale where intent to purchase is greatest. But the store universe is diverse and volatile. To maximise return on investment in this channel demands data-led activity. Real-time, instore actionable insight can be leveraged to optimise campaigns, and beyond that – to inform holistic, integrated brand strategies that maximise product performance. PromoForce tracks real-time consumer engagements at store level to enable agile campaign optimisation and actionable market insight.


Promotional marketing was once the very definition of below-the-line. It allowed for targeted one-to-one direct engagement, during a time when the only real alternatives were television, radio and print.


With the advent of digital marketing and e-commerce, the definition of Below-the-Line expanded to include targeted search engine and social campaigns. Being able to segment and hyper-target, and track impressions, clicks, conversions – and more – meant marketers could cost effectively test assumptions about audiences and messages, and use data to optimise campaigns in real time. This rapidly became the gold standard and comparatively cumbersome trade marketing – subject to human error, and difficult to measure – was resigned to the bottom of the marketing barrel. That it continues to feature at all in the face of digital alternatives, is testament to the power of in-person promotions to influence buyers at the point-of-purchase.


Indeed, in our digital fervour, neglecting this channel risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For tactile consumer goods, where the proof is very often literally in the tasting, failure to show up in-trade with opportunities for trial and connection leaves too much to chance (and choice).


It also neglects the fact that the same consumer seeing targeted digital ads from the comfort of their home may behave very differently when pushing a trolley through the supermarket. It’s there – at the last mile, where intent to purchase is highest – that the rubber hits the linoleum. This is where your opportunity to influence is greatest. And when it comes to influence, very little beats human-to-human connection.


The challenge isn’t how we gear digital to replace trade marketing, but how trade marketing evolves to be more agile and data-driven so that brands get the benefit of physical consumer connection PLUS accurate consumer and channel data. Trade marketing must justify its existence not in opposition to digital, but through measurable and repeatable results and actionable insights that inform integrated marketing strategies, holistically.


To get this right, your in-trade promotional and shopper marketing activities must borrow from digital. They must be enabled and underpinned by technology such that you can geolocate brand ambassadors and view interactions and transactions across the store universe, in real-time. They must produce accurate views of when and where brands perform in trade, and actionable insights that can be leveraged to optimise the channel – from stock, to value formats, to the impact of pricing, packaging, and promotions strategies. If your promotional marketing partner gets this right, trade marketing activities become invaluable strategic levers in your omnichannel consumer marketing strategy.

Enter PromoForce


To answer this need, Tradeway has spent the last decade and over R20M developing its own proprietary Trade Marketing Management software platform, PromoForce.


“PromoForce is the technology underpinning the 100k+ activations Tradeway executes per annum”, says Paul Sainsbury, Chief Technical Officer at Tradeway. “We developed PromoForce to unlock operational efficiencies. As a data repository for over 49,000 prequalified brand ambassadors and over 57,000 segmented venues across South African, PromoForce means we’re able to scale operations without compromising quality”.


“It also means we can optimise campaigns in real time for the best possible results, making it an industry game-changer”, continues Paul.

The Status Quo: A Hit and a Miss.

Historically, big corporates had little choice but to take a blanket approach to in-store marketing. Typically, brand managers share store lists with agencies with generic instructions to activate, promote or engage. When, where, and how this takes place is based on what are often naturally and responsibly assumed to be busiest times across the store universe. 


But, as we’ve seen from the data, no two stores are truly alike. Optimum time to activate can vary significantly by region, retailer, day of the week or month, time, and even occasion. As a result, applying a homogenous approach to activating multiple channels and stores means very few activations are optimised for prime performance. The positive results of activations in stores where these assumptions prove true carry campaigns and are testament to the efficacy of the channel, but leave a litany of missed opportunities in stores that deviate from the assumed ‘norm’.


To maximise return on investment across the store universe requires personalisation at scale – real-time, data-led agile campaign optimisation at store-level.

Personalisation at Scale.

By tracking in-field engagements, PromoForce provides a view of footfall, engagement, conversion, as well as consumer feedback, in real-time. This provides actionable insights into when, where and how long activations should run and enables data-led decision making to optimise activations at store-level. 

And the results of data-led campaign optimisation, made possible by PromoForce, speak for themselves. 

“Recently, we saw a premium chocolate brand increase sales in promoted stores by 200% as compared to stores with no promoters”, notes Business Development Executive, Andreas Smit. “And in the tobacco industry, we’ve seen significant sales uplift of up to 40% in promoted versus non-promoted stores over a 3-month period following, not weekly, but daily, campaign optimisations”, he continues. 

Andreas attributes this to unprecedented access to trade intelligence: “Through PromoForce we’re able to action rapid, granular campaign adaptations in response to South Africa’s diverse and often volatile market”. 

“PromoForce provides a deeper lens for national trade marketers, marketing managers and anyone interested in the sales performance of their product. It can also be leveraged to manage, monitor, and optimise accessibility to and visibility of products in-trade. We know that where products are placed relative to competing, substitute and complimentary products, as well as stock levels, packing, pricing and display, all impact performance. With PromoForce, we have a reliable way to test, measure and scale successful strategies across multiple retailers and regions”.

“If your promotions agency doesn’t have a platform that provides this type of data by managing on-the-ground promotor inputs across the store universe, how do you know what’s going on – what’s working and what’s not?”, Andreas challenges. “In order to optimise sales and product performance, we must have the brilliant basics in place”. 

If your promotions agency doesn’t have a platform that provides this type of data by managing on-the-ground promotor inputs across the store universe, how do you know what’s going on - what’s working and what’s not?

In Summary...

With PromoForce, your trade and brand marketing spend is primed for performance. Enabling data-led campaign optimisation sets a new benchmark for promotional marketing. It means real-time insight into consumer sentiment and brand performance across the store universe that can be leveraged to maximum effect through personalisation at scale. Greater insight into consumer behaviour at the last mile of your sales and marketing funnel can also be leveraged to enhance performance at awareness and considerations phases for a more effective integrated, omnichannel approach.


Contact us to learn more, or request a demo. 


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