Field marketing is a branch of marketing in which brands get the customer to directly interact with their products or services at retail locations or in public locations. Field marketing activities are widely varied and can achieve a variety of results. The objectives of field marketing differ depending on the company running the campaign and the campaign being run, but often they include brand awareness, increased sales at targeted locations, and increased engagement with local buying communities.
Field marketers go out into the field and function as avatars of the brand, enabling the prospective customer to have a real human interaction with the brand. Field marketers make the experience much more intimate, deepen customers’ connections with the brand and can potentially foster positive feelings such as trust and loyalty.
Ordinarily, customers will walk through a store and see the product on a shelf, often surrounded by competitors. Not only will the customer need to choose which brand to pick, but they may also wonder about the utility of the product itself. Field marketing allows the customer to interact with the product, learn how it is used or prepared and understand the full extent of value it can bring to their lives. The customer can give all their attention to one brand without being distracted by competing brands and alternative solutions.
Examples of Field Marketing Activities
Field marketing activities vary widely, and numerous techniques can be employed to carry out a campaign. The following is a non-exhaustive list:
Product Sampling: Product sampling refers to giving free samples of your product to customers that visit the store. This allows them to test the product for themselves and ask any questions they may have about its use and/or preparation while they get a feel of its utility and value. It’s a great field marketing initiative that allows prospective customers to purchase the product if they like it immediately. They leave with a positive association with your brand, having enjoyed something of value at no cost.
Merchandising: Merchandising involves securing optimal retail space and positioning in the store and on the shelf, ensuring the product is displayed attractively, and coordinating with retailers to maintain stock. While retailers will generally work to keep an attractive aesthetic instore and keep adequate stock, they have no obligation to prioritize any particular supplier. A marketer can negotiate prime shelf space and unique displays for their product.
In-Store Promotion: In-store promotion refers to any promotional activities done on location in a store. They are an excellent way to build brand or product awareness and bring customers to a store. Customers can be reached through traditional (print, TV, radio) or online (email, social media, ad placement) media to advertise in-store only deals and discounts. Alternatively, in-store promotion can be achieved with point-of-sale marketing to take advantage of customers’ impulse buying tendencies. In-promotions are a powerful tool for driving sales.
Benefits of Field Marketing
A capable field marketing team has members that are highly trained to interact with prospective customers effectively and have in-depth knowledge of the brand and its products. Such a team could benefit the brand in these ways:
Boosts Sales: Field marketing is a direct line to customers, often when they are in a position to decide on a purchase. Presenting the product attractively, exposing them to the product’s utility and value as well as creating a bond with the customer can either influence an immediate purchase. It can also keep the product at the top of the customer’s mind, which may affect a future sale.
Improves Brand Perception: Giving a brand a human face and voice on location turns it from a nebulous corporate entity to a trusted companion. When customers interact with a person representing the brand, they feel heard. That feeling of being acknowledged allows them to form positive emotional associations with the brand, associations which can last for years on end.
Dispels Doubt and Allays Fears: Customers may be unwilling to purchase a product because of misinformation or biases against the brand. They may doubt the product’s reliability or quality, assume a competing brand is vastly superior, or have negative notions about how the product may impact their lives. Having on-site personnel to address these doubts and fears can sway them and begin to build a more positive image of the brand.
Structure of a Field Marketing Team
To effectively conduct a field marketing campaign, businesses will usually require a field marketing organization. These organizations are often responsible for the development and execution of marketing campaigns. Depending on the size of the organization and the types of activities they carry out, a typical field marketing team can have the following roles:
Field Marketing Representative: These are generalists who may conduct product demonstrations and retail audits or sell directly to customers at events. They serve to drive brand awareness through personal interaction with prospective customers, acting as the voice and face of the brand. They also provide consumers with valuable information about the products and services offered by their brand.
Field Marketing Manager: They are responsible for recruitment, training, and direction of field teams. They also ensure that campaigns achieve their intended goals. They often work with marketing executives to identify and outline the objectives of a campaign and optimize the execution of the campaign to make sure the drive is carried out effectively and efficiently. When a campaign is complete, field marketing managers are also responsible for giving senior management a report of the campaign.
Brand Ambassador/Representative: Their core function is to promote and endorse a product and are often not a part of the team but strategic individuals who are contracted by the company. They can be celebrities, community leaders, or even social media personalities.
Street Team Representative: These are the vanguard of the field marketing team, serving as on-the-ground voices that champion the brand during events. They often hand out flyers, stickers, product samples, or merchandise to prospective customers in the crowds.
Field marketing offers brands the opportunity to build a strong following of believers. By involving the customer, the brand gives the customer a chance to experience the brand in unique ways that they may not otherwise have in conventional retail experiences. It also affords marketers the ability to gather information about the customers’ perception of the brand and potentially improve that perception.