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Field Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

“You have to spend money to make money” is a piece of colloquial wisdom that grows increasingly relevant and poignant in the current market. One of the most important expenses in business is marketing, yet it is often treated as optional.

Short term marketing tactics have the benefit of generating quick boosts in sales after each campaign. However, more often than not, sales volumes drop right back to where they were before the campaign was executed. This is because sales boosts are a welcome side effect of an effective marketing campaign but should not be the primary or sole focus of the strategy.

While immediate financial returns on any marketing investment are always a good thing, effective marketing should be primarily focused on building brand awareness and developing relationships with consumers.

Field marketing in particular is very useful for both generating massive sales boosts in the short term and creating a strong upward sales trajectory in the long run. Field marketing campaigns have a lasting emotional impact on consumers, which translates to a lasting brand impression that can influence opinions and purchasing decisions in the long run. However, field marketing is not a sprint, it is a marathon.

In this article we discuss why brands should not treat marketing in general, and field marketing in particular, as a silver bullet for ailing sales. For any sustainable growth in market share, brands need to invest in long term marketing plans that allow multiple successive field marketing campaigns to build on each other’s momentum.

How Much Is A Customer Worth to You?

One of the metrics marketers track is the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), a measure of how much revenue a brand can expect to generate from one customer over the duration of their relationship. This number gives a good indication of what marketing efforts are likely to yield.

Different product categories will have very different CLVs. Customers may buy a refrigerator once every 5 to 10 years, so the lifetime value of that customer is reduced to that one transaction. On the other hand, a grocery retailer may expect to serve a consumer at least once a week for as long as the consumer has proximity to the retail outlet, and that customer’s lifetime value is a function of their average basket size.

In addition to the calculable value of a customer to a brand, customers also offer intangible value in the form of social proof and brand evangelism. As humans, we are more likely to agree with the opinions of people we know and trust, and we’re also more likely to mimic their behaviour. As a result, customers who love your brand are a marketing channel of incalculable value.

Understanding that the value of a customer is determined over the course of a long-term relationship and not a single transaction helps put into perspective the sustainability of prioritizing short term marketing goals. Establishing a relationship with customers and building their loyalty in your brand is a fundamental part of sustainable long-term growth.

How Much Does It Cost to Get and Keep A Customer?

The lifetime value of a customer is directly related to two other metrics, the cost of acquiring a customer, known as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and the often-neglected cost of keeping a customer, known as Customer Retention Cost (CRC).

Customer acquisition costs refer to the investment a company makes to acquire new customers, including advertising, special offers, marketing staff salaries, sales commissions and advertising expenses, to mention a few. Customer retention costs include most of the same efforts as acquisition costs, but also factor in support and service after purchase among other expenses.

Any business that needs to grow and continue to be profitable needs to pay attention to both establishing new relationships and nurturing existing ones. The amount of competition in the current marketplace is incredibly stiff and grows increasingly so every day.

Short term marketing techniques are great for acquiring new customers in the moment but do very little to keep them longer than the first or second purchase. More often than not, the persuasion is to purchase a product because of a discount or a useful attribute of the product. Should any competitor approach them with a similar campaign, they have no loyalty to your brand and will choose your competitor for their financial incentives or utility.

Focusing exclusively on the immediate gains of short-term goals without taking into account the need for sustained relationship building leads to marketing plans and campaigns that neglect existing customers. Nurturing existing relationships costs much less than establishing new ones but yields far higher returns.

Focusing on long term brand growth alongside short term sales boosts may be costly upfront, but the gains are worth it. Field marketing campaigns in particular can deliver immediate sales boosts, but their true potential is realized when they are executed in succession over a long period of time. Field marketing is a powerful channel for brands to build customer loyalty and reap the fruits of customer retention, but this takes time and money.

Reasons to Increase Focus on Long Term Marketing

While short term marketing tactics certainly have their place in a marketing plan, brands still need to invest in more long-term strategies. There are innumerable reasons to place an emphasis on long term marketing, especially when incorporating field marketing and here we will take a brief look at just three:

It Builds Customer Loyalty: There is extensive research that strongly suggests our preferences to brands can be moulded by repeated exposure to that brand. Coupled with field marketing’s innate capacity for creating strong emotional connections, long term marketing plans are one of the best ways to develop strong relationships with customers who will be loyal to your brand.

It Increases Brand Awareness and Recognition: L0ng term marketing plans and campaigns make your brand easy to recognize. The more often consumers see your brand, the more likely they are to remember your brand. Considering how familiarity affects purchasing choices, sustained marketing campaigns are invaluable for influencing consumer purchasing decisions.

It Helps Position Your Brand: Depending on the market niche, certain brands are viewed as the superior choice by consumers. This trend persists even where competitors have products of equal or superior quality and lower price. Short term campaigns are great for quick sales boosts but long-term marketing campaigns, particularly those implementing field marketing, create a lasting impression of your brand and can ultimately help your brand redefine the entire market niche


Short term marketing plans and campaigns have a very important role in marketing strategies, but the backbone of any sustainable marketing strategy is long term marketing. Field marketing in particular yields excellent results when implemented over a long period with multiple successive campaigns. It is imperative that brands invest appropriately in their marketing if they intend to survive, let alone grow.

Do you need a team of expert field marketers to help you grow your business? Get in touch with us today, we would love to have a chat with you.

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