A survey of 150 convenience store and symbol group managers found three in four thought brand owners didn't understand the needs of their channel.
Only one in five said they were sent appropriate promotional materials and just two in five had been offered a non-price promotion they found effective.
Brands needed to learn to treat the convenience channel separately from the multiples, said marketing promotional agency Pulse, which produced the Promotions in the Convenience and Impulse Channel report.
"The convenience and impulse channels are very different from the multiples and a lot of brands don't understand this," said Rachelle Headland, head of business development at Pulse. "It's actually a very fast-growing channel and a lot of c-stores and symbol groups want the same support that the multiples get. The convenience channel is a big opportunity for brands to grow and some of them need to get their act together."
There were some brands that knew how to promote themselves in the convenience channel, such as Mars, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Walkers, she added.
But there were big opportunities for brands to grow their convenience sales, particularly in alcohol, household goods and ambient grocery.