Marketers can make the most of surplus stock

Dean Wilson 15 Nov 2010

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.

Dean Wilson


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