Updated: Jun 19
Field marketing is a deeply involved but also highly rewarding industry for both the practitioners and the clients. It offers the rare opportunity to see the effect of one’s work in the real world and in real time, and it brings tangible benefits to the clients’ businesses. A field marketing company needs a few key players in order to function optimally. In this article, we will look at the structure of a field marketing organization as well as four of the most important roles in a field marketing team and explain the responsibilities and roles of each one.
What Is a Field Marketing Team?
A dedicated field marketing team is an essential component of any successful field marketing campaign and depending on the size of the business, brands may choose to build one internally or seek the assistance of an external agency that specializes in field marketing.
The role of this internal team or external agency is to develop and execute field marketing campaigns, either as the central marketing pillar or in tandem with the brand’s marketing manager.
The operations of field marketing teams and agencies are often divided into geographical territories. Depending on the size of the brand and the area of influence, each territory could have a regional manager overseeing a complex team structure, or a team leader with a small team to help manage the territory. Territory management is more relevant to brands with at least a national distribution network but brands that operate in smaller areas (for example, a single province) still need to organize and manage their campaigns by location.
Who is in a field marketing team?
The actual composition of a field marketing team can vary greatly depending on the scale of field marketing activities the team pursues, size of the brand or agency, and whether it is an internal team or independent agency. Here is an overview of some of the key roles:
Field Marketing Manager
Field marketing managers are largely responsible for running the whole operation, at least on a tactical and operational level. They make key team decisions such as hiring, training and directing the field teams. They are also responsible for making sure the campaigns executed by the team achieve their intended goals.
The primary responsibility of field marketing managers is to define and execute a field marketing plan in line with the brand’s broader marketing objectives. This also entails planning, organizing and executing field campaigns using relevant and innovative channels, which may include events and road shows. Where necessary, the field marketing manager will also be responsible for mobilizing merchandisers, assigning them to retail outlets and coordinating their activities.
They often work with senior marketing executives to determine the objectives of the marketing strategy. While the senior marketing executives are responsible for most of the big-picture strategic planning, field marketing managers are responsible for the tactical planning and execution of campaigns that directly contribute to the larger objectives in the marketing strategy as well as offering valuable insights from campaign executions which may affect the larger strategic plan.
Field marketing managers are also responsible for ensuring the efficient execution of the marketing campaigns, accurate collection of data and insights from the campaigns and reporting the results of their initiatives to the senior executives.
Skills, Qualifications and Experience
A typical field marketing manager will be the holder of at least a Bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related discipline although it is not uncommon for them to have a Master’s degree or extensive professional certification. They are generally expected to have a minimum of five years’ experience in field marketing or sales, with a proven track record of carrying out marketing efforts, including planning and implementing strategy.
Field marketing is an industry that requires strong people skills and that is particularly true for field marketing managers. They need to have stellar communication skills, both written and verbal because their role requires that they function as a bridge between the strategic and the operational aspects of a brand’s marketing efforts.
A brand can have multiple projects, each with its own set of campaigns so a field marketing manager needs to be exceptionally organized with the ability to manage all those projects simultaneously. Further to that, they need to have strong leadership skills, which includes being able to keep a team motivated and enthusiastic about their work, being able to discipline a team member fairly when necessary and most importantly, they should be capable of delegating tasks.
A good field marketing manager should also have strong analytical skills. They should be able to recognize the importance of data gathered from the field, implement data collection strategies and be able to glean business insights from that data.
Field Marketing Representative:
Field marketing representatives are generalists – their activities may range from conducting product demonstrations and retail audits, to running direct sales of products to customers at shows and events.
Their core responsibility is to drive brand awareness through on-site, face-to-face interaction with consumers.
Field marketers also act as liaisons between buyers and sellers, providing valuable information about products and services to consumers.
Field marketing representatives work closely with field marketing managers to plan, implement and execute field marketing campaigns. They form the interface between the sales and marketing teams in order to generate leads, create sales opportunities and increase brand awareness.
Skills, Qualifications and Experience
Usually, field marketing representatives are required to be the holders of a Bachelor’s degree in either marketing, communications, business management or a related field. Additional industry certification is not absolutely necessary, but quite useful especially if one wishes to pursue a long-term career in field marketing. Prior experience in any field marketing or sales roles is usually preferred although not absolutely necessary.
As with field marketing managers, representatives are also required to have excellent communication skills. Being able to utilize effective written and oral communication is vital to the work conducted by field marketing representatives.
They are also required to have a strong aptitude for interpersonal relationship-building and negotiating, skills which tend to be called upon frequently when the representative is communicating with prospective consumers. It is also necessary for field marketing representatives to be self-motivated. They need to take the initiative and provide solutions to problems they encounter in the field, while also being able to remain accountable and responsible for their actions.
Brand Ambassador/Brand Representative:
Brand ambassadors (sometimes referred to as brand representatives) are focused on the promotion, endorsement or other forms of representation of the brand and its products. Brand ambassadors can be considered the face of the brand and their role is to humanize the brand and in so doing, build a relationship with the consumer on the behalf of the brand. Their work entails making the consumer feel something positive, and associate that positive emotion with the brand.
Large brands regularly enlist the services of celebrities and other public figures to function as brand ambassadors. The adoration these figures receive from the public is extended to the brand by association. Smaller brands for which it is not fiscally viable to enlist celebrities and brands that want to maintain an “indie” image tend to run grassroots campaigns with their brand ambassadors. These brand ambassadors are employees of the agency or brand on whose field marketing team they serve.
Brand ambassadors have an intimate knowledge of the brand’s core values, mission, vision and value proposition. They understand how the various products and services offered by the brand work and how they can improve a consumer’s life. This thorough understanding of the brand allows them to speak with authority when a consumer has a question about the product or doubts about its utility.
Skills, Qualifications and Experience
Brand ambassadors should hold at least a diploma in marketing or a related field, but that is not a hard requirement. Typically they have at least a year’s experience in a customer-facing service role.
A brand ambassador should have excellent communication skills both verbal and written, but particularly the verbal. Their role relates directly to consumer emotions so they should have a friendly, approachable and outgoing personality. They also need to be patient as they will constantly need to attend to customers who may have a number of questions or extensive doubts about the product or service.
Brand ambassadors need to have strong problem solving skills. They should be able to easily engage with customers and quickly establish rapport by identifying what the consumer’s needs and desires are. In addition they should be persuasive, but without being aggressive about it.
They need to have the ability to quickly learn and understand all the major features and benefits of the brand’s products and services. They should also have the ability to quickly research and understand any competing offers. Most importantly, they need to be very empathetic and contextualize the product information to each consumer’s individual use case.
Merchandisers constitute the persistent presence of a field marketing team’s presence in retail outlets. They are responsible for a product from the moment it is delivered to the outlet until a shopper picks it up for purchase. More often than not, they serve multiple outlets over a sizable geographic area.
Their roles are very varied and may involve negotiating for prime shelf space, organizing the products on the shelf, setting up Point of Sale displays, installing signage and interacting with consumers. Merchandisers also perform the important task of gathering data about a brand, its products and the customer perception thereof. Their proximity to consumers makes them crucial for gathering qualitative data, either informally as they assist customers, or formally through interviews and questionnaires.
Skills, Qualifications and Experience
Merchandisers should have either a diploma or a Bachelor’s degree in retail management, marketing, business administration or any related field, although most employers do not explicitly require it.
Most of their work days are spent at the retail outlets in which they serve and they generally interact with the field marketing team’s office remotely, so they need to have excellent communication skills. They also need to be self-starters and problem solvers who can identify potential problems in a retail environment before they affect the brand’s image or worse, sales.
They need to have good negotiation and relationship-building skills so they can work effectively with the managers and employees of the retail outlet. This is particularly important because they cannot be at a single retail outlet all the time, so they may need to request assistance from the retail outlet’s staff.
The typical field marketing team consists of a number of very diverse roles and responsibilities. Successful campaigns are planned, executed and monitored by well-trained, highly motivated individuals who not only understand the brand and its respective products and services, but also care about making the consumer happy.
If you are interested in building lasting relationships with your customers through an effective field marketing campaign, please get in touch with us. We would love to help you bring your vision to life.