When it comes to field marketing, the owners of medium sized businesses may feel that it is a resource available solely to large companies or multi-national brands and, whilst the it is true that most mid-to-large size businesses outsource field marketing campaigns to professional agencies, it is possible for smaller businesses to carry out similar tactics as the big boys. Read on to find out more.
The Advantages of Field Marketing
Field marketing can benefit businesses by building long-lasting relationships with customers, putting a friendly but professional face to a brand. This can have the effect of not only raising brand and product awareness, but also help consumers to feel more 'connected' to a brand, and so increase customer loyalty.
Some field marketing tactics, such as mystery shopping and auditing, can also help to ensure that in-store sales are as high as possible, by ensuring retailers conform to display and advertising agreements.
Additionally, the data gathered by field sales and marketing teams can provide valuable, actionable insights into consumer's thoughts and opinions of a brand and it's products.
Let's take a look at some common field marketing tactics that medium-sized businesses can implement to boost consumer awareness of their products or services:
Elements of Field Marketing
Direct sales involves using well train brand ambassadors to sell a product directly to consumers, for example; by engaging with the public in a shopping centre, talking to them about their energy usage, and selling them on a companies energy tariff, or a team of highly motivated brand ambassadors selling telephony solutions to local businesses by going door-to-door.
Recruiting a team of brand ambassadors to carry out a direct sales campaign can be time consuming and costly, but done right, can yield amazing dividends. As mentioned previously most mid to large companies pay professional field marketing agencies to carry out field marketing campaigns for them, who would then hire and train expert staff. However smaller businesses needn't lose heart, as a more compact, localised campaign could be instigated by the business themselves, however this will mean either using the companies existing staff, or hiring temporary staff to carry out the work, being sure to give them a high level of training on how to represent your brand.
Product Range Auditing
Creating planograms (detailed plans of where products and promotional materials will be most effective in a store) to issue vendors with can assist with regulating the performance of a display by ensuring your product is in the ideal location on fixture. Combining these planograms with regular audits can help identify under-performing venues, meaning that lost sales can be quickly and effectively rectified.
Product range auditing can be used to check the availability and visibility of a product or promotional campaign, as well as those of competing brands and businesses. Auditing is commonly used in stores, encompassing many aspects of data collection. Some of the most common aspects of auditing include: checks on the product range displayed and the availability of those products, the placement of products in store, and compliance with agreed pricing and promotional offers.
Regular product range auditing can assist a business of any size in determining which product displays in which venues are most profitable, as well as identifying areas that need improvement, saving money and giving clear insights into the buying habits of consumers.
In Store Merchandising
A major issue for any size of business that supplies retailers, is ensuring that once distribution is agreed and finalised- its products are displayed prominently at fixture and are continually re-stocked.
Providing vendors with merchandise that helps to ensure that your products are accessible and effectively presented in stores, such as A-cards, pop-up display stands and 'pods', is a tried-and-tested field marketing technique that gets results. It is common for consumers to make purchasing decisions while in-store, which makes clear and accessible presentation of products in retail fixtures imperative for brands and companies that produce items for sale in retail venues.
Field marketing teams can ensure that all retail vendors a company stocks are issued with a planogram detailing where products should be placed in store, assist with arranging items in accordance with said planogram and support products with suitable pricing and branded point-of-sale materials. They can also increase the store staff's understanding of products, and advocacy for a brand, meaning they are more likely to re-stock the fixture
and merchandise product as per the supplied planogram.
When a company launches a marketing initiative, having 'in the field' representatives in stores or in public areas with high footfall rates can really help give a campaign an extra push.
It is important to have every facet of a marketing campaign planned out long before it is implemented. Consumers can quickly become frustrated with a company or brand if promotions they have seen on one media platform are not readily available, or supported, in store
A proficient field marketer will ensure that when a company's promotional campaign is launched, any merchandise to support it- including complimentary displays and promotional literature are all readily available from every retailer that is taking part, making sure that every aspect of the campaign ties in and is supported from head office, to the shop floor.
Sampling and Active Demonstration
This practice is used by field marketers to raise awareness of the key unique selling points of products by demonstrating them all to consumers.
The aim of sampling and demonstrations is to entice consumers to step outside of their regular shopping habits and buy new products. Many field marketers will advise clients that sampling 'at the point of purchase' is a tested and highly effective way to promote a new or existing product, a point that medium-sized business owners should capitalise on wherever possible.
Competitions can be used to attract further interest; when carrying out a sampling campaign, a company that manufactures a new high security lock ask consumers to guess how long it will take a professional locksmith to pick the lock, and to post their guess on one of the company's social media platforms, with the closest guess receiving a free set of locks for their home.
It would be hard to know how successful a field marketing campaign has been without data. Therefore, upon completion of a campaign, it's vitally important to analyse the impact it has had on the consumers it reached. An efficient, professionally managed field marketing campaign will generate sufficient data to identify everything from the best retail outlets for a company's products and where in the store they should be placed for maximum effect, to the best time of day to reach a business or brand's target audience.
This data can give a business or brand valuable insights into their industry and even identify key market areas that are undervalued and underexploited. The occasional leaflet drop or company newsletter is not enough to keep consumers interested in a product. The days of 'one-way' marketing communication are numbered. Businesses that engage with and embrace responsive marketing tactics, analysing the actionable data gather during a marketing campaign, will usually reap the rewards several times over.
Which of the above field marketing tactics do you feel your business could implement? Perhaps you have used some in a recent marketing campaign without realising it.
We'd love to hear about your experiences with field marketing- drop a comment in the box below to share your thoughts.
Guest Post by Jacqui Sheldon, Cosine.
This guest post was written by Jacqui Sheldon, Chief Commercial Officer for Cosine field marketing, a leading agency based in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, who have several multinational brands in their client base.