Dooley Noted

A Look At Consumer Versus Trade Audiences


Headshot of Nicole Sherwood

Every audience is different. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another. 

Consumer versus trade media is an example of this. Consumer media tends to describe mass market audiences while trade media is targeted to specific industries. 

You may think that these are similar because your product reaches both of these audiences. But the approach to them and the information provided need to be different.

Consumers want to know what makes the product special and why they should consider purchasing it rather than a similar product on the market. They may not know all the ins and outs of the product or the category and why it’s relevant.

Trade knows the industry. They have a background in the category. Retailers and wholesalers want to know why they should be carrying the product. What makes it stand out, and why would consumers be looking for it? What are the statistics behind it that make it relevant? And your competitors may be interested in learning how others in their industry are approaching things. 

These characteristics are true for any industry - whether it’s grocery, hospitality, manufacturing or retail.

Years ago, I noticed that there wasn’t much of a selection when it came to gluten-free products at my favourite grocery store. I knew there was a need for it. But at the time, it was just a small section with a couple of shelves and a few products. At the time, I was editing a Canadian grocery trade magazine. We ran an article that covered the importance and need of these products for consumers. The article conveyed the statistics for the number of consumers that are eating gluten-free and why. This was something that any grocer would understand. We mentioned products they could carry and how they could grow this section into something that would benefit both the store and the consumer. This was the information that the trade audience needed to know to decide for their store. If it had been written for a consumer magazine, the tone would have been different. It would be more product-focused. Or discuss why they should consider eating gluten-free. Their need is different than that of the trade.

The same approach was taken when covering this topic in our restaurant magazine at the time. We explained the why and the how of why restaurants should include gluten-free options on their menus. We explained the importance of avoiding cross-contamination. From the consumer side, they would be interested in who was carrying gluten-free items on their menu. And whether the menu items were gluten-free or gluten friendly. Restaurants wanted to know the reasons for carrying those items and the mechanics of offering them profitably. 

As a writer and editor for multiple trade publications, I learned this quickly when I first started my position. My mind automatically wrote for the consumer. I was thinking of what I would want to know, not about the industry. But once this was explained to me and what my angle should be, it became easier to write for the correct audience.

We practice those lessons at Dooley PR. When we’re pitching our clients’ stories, we frequently adjust pitches so they fit trade publications.

While you may not know the exact message or tone to convey to your audience, we can help you find your voice and ensure that the right message is hitting the right audience.

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