Despite corporate trade (or corporate barter as it’s often
referred to) being a well established and growing industry,
not enough organisations make the most of the opportunity
to generate extra value from their surplus stock. As a result,
companies are often left having to ‘cut their losses’ with their
surplus stock, which they could use to boost their ad spend
to support their brands.
For those people who have not heard of corporate trade or
know little about it, companies like Active International allow
advertisers to maximise value from their underperforming
assets, such as surplus stock. Active buys this with a “Trade
Credit” for a greater amount than can be achieved for cash
on the open market by the advertiser.
The advertiser then spends the Trade Credits on a range of
services from media campaigns and printing to conference
events and corporate hospitality.
To provide an example of how much value can be unlocked
from surplus stock, Active International released over £91
million in value globally via trade credits last year.
The key factors advertisers should bear in mind when
thinking about how to maximise value from their
underperforming assets, include:
Only deal with the largest, established corporate trade
operators in the marketplace. It’s these that have the
financial stability that ensures they will be around in the long
term. For advertisers it means they can safely spend their
trade credits without worrying that the corporate trade partner
might not exist in the future.
The corporate trade company should have a worldwide
presence. It’s highly likely that your agency has various
clients who want you to implement cross-border campaigns.
A corporate trade company with operations around the world
can help generate extra value for media spend within the
countries they operate in. It’s this reach that also provides
added flexibility and value.
If you are considering using the services of a corporate trade
company, ask which media agencies and brands the
business currently works with. If they don’t work closely with
the top media agencies, across the likes of Omnicom, Havas,
WPP, for example, or blue-chip brand names, they are
probably not well thought of or experienced enough, so it’s
worth giving them a miss.
These corporate trade organisations are also unlikely to have
strong relationships across a broad range of media owners,
which they can leverage to ensure advertisers generate the
best value from their trade credits
It’s vital that brands only sell their stock via approved
re-sellers. Not doing so can seriously damage their brand. To
this end it’s the larger and more established corporate trade
businesses such as Active International have the contacts to
sell a brand’s excess stock onto approved re-sellers.
Smaller ones are often going to lack the contacts
with the appropriate re-sellers.
Ensure the corporate trade business is open and honest. To
find this out meet up with them, before making an
appointment, to see what they can offer all parties. If they
can’t deliver a deal which includes and benefits everyone
involved, move on.
In this day and age technology has progressed sufficiently
for corporate trade organisations to offer 24/7 reporting on
how trade credits are being spent. This knowledge can be
used to easily tweak trade credit spend in real time to ensure
the brand constantly generates the best results from their
campaigns. Generally it’s the larger companies that have this
technology. Always ask what procedures are in place before
undertaking any appointment.
Corporate trade is here to stay and set to continue its strong
growth. After all, it delivers extra value to brands and allows
media agencies to generate increased value for their clients
at no hindrance to their operation. As a rule of thumb, both
media agencies and brands should always look to partner
with the biggest and most experienced corporate trade
business in the marketplace. Being an industry where
experience, size, volume of contacts and the provision of
the latest reporting technology is key to delivering value, it’s
these corporate trade businesses that need to be identified
Dean Wilson, UK Managing Director at Active