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The brand-retailer relationship is complicated. Retailers are overwhelmed, busy, and reluctant to participate in marketing campaigns that end up having little benefit to them. So, to save themselves the trouble, brands bypass the local retailer in their marketing efforts, and go straight to the consumer. The result? Retailers feel neglected and ignored, brands lose touch of what matters to their retailers, and the gap between them widens even further.

Though it may be a strained relationship, both brands and retailers realize that they sell better together than they do apart. Now, more than ever, retailers are asking for more and more marketing help from the brands they sell.

Brands Ask: What’s in it for me?

Good question. For starters, retailers that receive frequent attention from their brands are happier and willing to sell more of the brand’s products. When brands make an effort to engage their retailers by involving those retailers in national brand marketing efforts, the retailers begin to develop a preference for that brand over other competitors. With the brand front of mind, when consumers reach out for product advice, the retailer is more likely to promote that brand as the best choice. It’s that simple.

Brands that co-market with their retailers have an ongoing, relevant reason to communicate promotional content with their retailers. As brands continue to help retailers market for them more effectively, the local retailer becomes better and better equipped to sell.

Retailers Ask: What’s in it for me?

The benefits of brand-to-retailer marketing extend in both directions. When retailers participate in a brand sponsored co-marketing campaigns, they’re getting free promotional content to use on their online marketing channels. (Think Amex Small Biz Saturday.) Brand-to-retailer co-marketing campaigns allow the retailer to promote the brand easily, and without exhausting their own time and resources.

Getting retailers involved in frequent collaborative marketing campaigns that honor their local store’s branding shows them their worth something to the brand. Retailers feel supported and appreciated, which makes them more likely to work cooperatively with the brand in the future. When done well, retailers don’t just accept brand-driven marketing efforts, they ask for them.

Tips on Engaging Retailers in Brand Marketing Efforts

Because of the complicated nature of the brand/retailer relationship, it’s important to maximize the likelihood of retailer involvement in a brand’s co-marketing efforts. So, keep the retailer at the forefront of your thoughts when you develop new campaigns. Retailers are already busy. If campaigns are overly complicated or time-consuming, they may be hesitant to participate.

Similarly, retailers won’t want to participate in brand co-marketing campaigns if there is nothing in it for them. Far too often, brands try to implement local marketing campaigns that benefit the brand, but ignore the local retailer. Make sure that you structure campaigns with the retailer’s needs in mind.

Finally, take some time to “woo” retailers. If retailers only hear from you when you need them to do something, they won’t want to participate in your campaigns. Even though brands are busy with their own hectic schedules, they need to make the effort. I guarantee that brands will be surprised at what a little extra attention can do.

Brands, How are your co-marketing efforts going?

// Sonciary