Part 2: Talk Trade Marketing To Me

Mindful Monk Good to Grow Trade Show

In Part 1: Talk Trade Marketing To Me, we shared how trade marketing sets a food and beverage business up for success and why a trade marketing budget is crucial. In brief, we covered the who, what, why of trade marketing, and left you waiting on the how. Wait no more! We’re here to tell businesses how to build a trade marketing budget. 

First, a quick reminder of why trade spend (marketing you do with the buyer) is important:

  • Builds brand recognition
  • Drives sales
  • Increases understanding of target audience
  • Strengthens buyer relationships
  • Raises competitive edge

How To Build a Trade Marketing Budget

The key is in the budget breakdown. We recommend allocating your budget into the 3 core buckets listed below. Let’s use a 12% trade marketing budget as an example:

  • Promotions (8%)
    Promotions increase foot traffic, build greater basket sizes, and improve volume for both you and the retailer. Make sure to have a promotional calendar for the year and understand the pros and cons of OI vs MCB.
  • Advertising (2%)
    Advertising with a retailer is most effective when you have an established brand that consumers recognize. For early stage brands, we recommend moving your advertising dollars to demos.
  • Demos (2%)
    Allocate a portion of your budget to in-store demonstrations and sampling. Demos are expected by many retailers, so make sure you know how much you can afford to do.

Trade Show Spend
We note in Part 1 that trade shows are a 4th bucket in the trade marketing budget. However, since they are not a direct marketing spend with a buyer they would fall outside of the 12% mentioned above. It is still a trade spend because you are interfacing with buyers; however, the amount you allocate should be based on your business development goals. Trade events are key to strengthening buyer, distributor, and industry relationships. If trade shows are part of your business development plan, it’s important that you budget for them. 

Remember to Review Your Sales and Spend

  • Review your forecasted vs. actual sales quarterly and adjust your budget accordingly. 
  • Track your spend quarterly. If you track the spend, you’ll likely spend less than budgeted. If you don’t track the spend, you’ll likely spend more than budgeted.


Phew, we know that’s a lot of info to take in one blog post. Ready to build your marketing budget but need to clarify any of the above tips? 

Join us at our upcoming FREE webinar How To Create a Successful Food & Beverage Brand on July 24, 2024 to learn about our new Foundations food and beverage business education program. As always, feel free to connect with us at with questions.

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