Media Barter and Brand Marketing

Leslie Stubin
Argent Trading LLC

There is little doubt that the word “barter” makes some brand marketers' heads spin. For some people, corporate barter remains a bit mysterious. It need not be. The barter process is simpler than ever and has proven to be a valuable tool for corporations. In particular, trading merchandise for media is an important marketing tool for many companies. Barter was, after all, the original form of trade, pre-dating currency and serving as the building block for what evolved into today's economic system.

Nonetheless, marketers often have many questions about barter. The most notable among these are: How do you know if barter is right for your company? How does the process work? How do you choose the right corporate trading partner?

Let's start with some background on the barter industry. It's been around more than 50 years in various forms, and available industry evidence indicates that approximately 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies have used corporate trading at one time or another. In total, the corporate trading industry generates more than $7.5 billion in sales annually, according to the International Reciprocal Trade Association, with annual growth of approximately eight percent. It is estimated that more than 300,000 businesses will use the services of commercial corporate trading companies this year.