What is Field Marketing?
What is Field Marketing – This is probably one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself when you start working in the industry. What strikes us is that when you ask five people, they’ll give you five different answers. Why?
Because it’s one of the hardest questions you can ask about the subject.
Although everybody has a sense of its meaning, no one will be able to give you a clear and concise answer because Field Marketing (FM) is a catch-all term for a large number of sub(fields). It literally means something different to everybody.
In this article, we’ll be sharing our take on the answer to this question and highlight some of the basics of the industry to give you a feel of what Field Marketing is.
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The basics of Field Marketing
Since you’re reading this article, we’re assuming you are fairly new to the subject of FM or looking for a good discussion. So, we’ll try to take you by the hand here and explain the basics.
Do you know those salespeople knocking on your door offering you anything from insurance, solar panels, charity donations, or new types of refreshments? That’s Field Marketing.
Pretty straightforward so far, so why is creating a definition for the industry hard?
This is where it gets tricky: field marketing also includes loads of other ways in which salespeople represent a brand. At events, in public locations, at retail locations, you name it. Also, the goals of the activities differ widely from just getting people to know and try a brand (via free giveaways for example) to selling products directly.
It’s this variety of locations and goals that create definitions like a series of activities that contribute to the brand building, customer relationship management, and lead generation efforts of a client/company. (source)
This definition doesn’t really give you an understanding of what kind of work FM consists of. It just mentions some common goals.
Definition of Field Marketing
This is the highest-ranking definition of field marketing on Google in the Netherlands (Briggs and Walker is based in Haarlem):
Field marketing is a branch of marketing in which brands get their products in front of consumers “out in the field” at retail locations, events, college campuses, or in public locations. Field marketing initiatives include promotions, demos, and direct sales. The objectives of Field Marketing vary by company and campaign, but some common goals include brand awareness, increased sales at targeted locations, and increased engagement with local buying communities (source).
We feel this is a pretty accurate description as it scopes the locations and often-used types of FM. In all likelihood though, it will require the door-to-door sales reference we made earlier for you to understand this definition.In any case, you probably have an idea of what field marketing is now. If not, feel free to get in touch! Time to move on to question two in the list of most basic questions on any subject: why does it matter?
Why Field Marketing matters
We see a lot of articles stating that FM is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies. In our experience, this is true in some cases, but FM is not for everyone. Still, like all marketing and sales activities, field marketing derives its raison d’etre from its results.
Create sales spikes
In most cases the channel is leveraged during campaigns as a highly rewarding part of the full marketing mix. Many brands use FM to bring about a temporary spike in sales.
Good Field Marketing agencies provide their clients with tools (such as Briggs+Walker software) that allow direct tracking and assessment of the current results. The results of FM are easily traced back to the individual performances of sales representatives.
Introduce new brands
Field marketing is an exceptionally great instrument to introduce new brands. Consumers enjoy their first experience with a brand in a human-to-human fashion. This allows for them to ask questions which in turn allows for the brand to learn more about consumers’ first responses. Their first engagement with the product is way richer than any online experience. Ultra-fast delivery services such as Gorillas and Getir thank part of their marketing successes to brand introductions via field marketing activities.
Learn and improve
With the right software in place it’s easy to adjust the brand or sales story. This way, FM becomes a two-way advertising channel. Brands offer their goods one-on-one. Consumers can give direct feedback to field marketers who adjust their pitch accordingly. This traceability allows brands to adjust the campaign instantly if the potential for improvement has been identified.
Fuel human connections
Customers are intelligent, savvy, and more informed than ever. For a customer to buy your product or service multiples variables decide the purchase. In an online environment, we can not even come close to the experience and depth of a real human conversation. FM is best suited to deal with customers because field marketers can answer real-time during product demonstrations, onboarding, fundraising, events, and POS interactions.
A big challenge in Field Marketing
Field marketing has a long history and shows some symptoms of what is called ‘saturated’ marketing channel. About a decade ago the first social media platforms started to offer opportunities to advertisers. Back then, most Facebook ads brought about amazing results. Social media users saw the ads for the first time and were eager to interact (i.e. click on the ads and buy the products on offer).
Over time, people grew weary by looking at the same type of ads over and over. After having seen thousands of ads over the years, people are now less willing to engage with them. It’s the same story with any new type of commercial (poster, magazine, radio, tv, online search, you name it).
Despite the occurrence of saturation in the FM market the history of Field Marketing shows that it still produces direct and desired results for many advertisers.
What makes Field Marketing truly unique
What makes FM truly unique in our view, is that nothing trumps the human connection when it comes to establishing new and strengthening existing customer relationships.
In our online world, instant gratification and short termism is the rule in the game of advertising. But brands that succeed in the long term are those brands that build long term relationships.
At Briggs+Walker we help sales representatives to make this connection with as little friction as possible.
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