How to Plan an Effective Field Marketing Strategy
Field Marketing: How to create a field marketing strategy that leads to more effective campaigns
The retail industry is more competitive now than it has ever been. The accelerated growth of online shopping and sales programs like email and content marketing have brought today’s customers new options to browse and buy, many of which have upped the game in terms of shopping ease and convenience.
We find ourselves in an instant-gratification world, and retail marketers find themselves catering to a new breed of customer who is making it quite clear that it’s no longer enough just to offer a quality product that fulfills a need. Today, your marketing and sales strategy better include omnichannel purchase and delivery mechanisms; it better eliminate excess time and effort to buy a product; and it better allow for the customer to call the shots in terms of when, how and why he or she decides to finally buy.
Retail has always been a customer-centric business. But never more so than it is right now. Oddly enough, in this mad rush to meet a new age of consumerism, marketers may have inadvertently created somewhat of a disconnect between brands and customers.
What was once a face-to-face relationship between brand and buyer, is now, in many instances, all too transactional. But the needle is shifting. More and more customers are seeking that genuine product connection once again, and that’s where a great field marketing strategy can have a big impact. The right team in the field just may help you reach those ambitious sales goals by connecting with customers on a human level that social media posts and online content marketing just can’t deliver.
Interested in forging stronger connections with your customers? Here’s a good start – use data and insights to understand what they’re looking for and what’s important to them. Perhaps, it’s time to explore the advantages of a strong digital marketing strategy?
Field Marketing: Taking Your Brand To Customers
Field marketing is the science of taking your brand to the market. In other words, going “out in the field” and engaging with customers on their turf – whether at a retail store or at a concert, festival, college campus, community park, anywhere potential customers happen to congregate.
A field marketing strategy is a method of outreach. It’s about meeting your customers more than half way by taking your brand directly to where they are and touting its merits with expertise and personal engagement delivered by trained field marketers. The world of retail may be changing. Online content and e-commerce may continue to drive the industry forward. As they do, however, field campaigns will continue to be an important way to get that much-needed facetime with your target market.
Goals, Expectations, And Lessons Of A Sound Field Marketing Strategy
Why do marketers invest the time, money and staffing to venture out into the field? The same reason they conduct any marketing program – it yields results. It might be in the form of increased immediate sales. Or it might be that the goals are entirely different than generating on-the-spot sales. One thing is certain, understanding your marketing goals is critical to building a field marketing strategy that works. Here are a few goals a brand might hope to achieve through a field program that can help you guide your own field marketing strategy.
• Drive immediate sales at the point of purchase
• Explore new target markets in a cost-effective way
• Build brand awareness through customer interaction
• Assess current brand image and/or product satisfaction levels
• Help introduce a new product offering
• Boost sales at very specific targeted locations or markets
• Gain a better understanding of how customers use a product
• Tout product attributes versus the competition
• Visit current locations in the field to capture and analyze data in order to measure current marketing and merchandising programs
What Kind Of Field Marketing Should You Perform?
It really depends on what answers you expect to get out of your field program. What follows are a few examples of common field marketing campaigns that marketers use to achieve various goals, including elevating brand image and driving sales.
Onsite Product Demos
Say you’re a wireless technology brand and you’ve just introduced the latest and greatest mobile tablet the industry has ever seen. Of course, you’ll launch it with a magnificent marketing effort that spans various media. But how do you drill it down to a personal experience? You offer product demonstrations!
Demos, whether in a brick and mortar store or at a special event, are an ideal way for a brand to invite customers to test drive its products. Make sure your field marketing team is well trained to answer questions and show off product highlights. It’s also a great opportunity to collect customer information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, to continue building a relationship down the road in case the buying decision isn’t made on the spot.
For impulse purchases, like a new ice cream flavor being promoted by a field team at a grocery store, on-the-spot conversions are certainly at the top of the marketing goals. However, for higher-ticket items like our mobile device, brand awareness might be more important that an immediate sale, as people tend to take more time to think about those expensive purchases. Keeping your product top-of-mind just might lead to that conversion down the road.
Guerilla Marketing Campaigns
Think of it as field marketing that thinks outside the box. A guerilla field marketing strategy is usually a quick-hit and often somewhat irreverent marketing execution that is entirely unexpected by customers. It’s designed to build awareness in the field and also (if compelling enough) to get some free press exposure. It might be chalking a compelling message on a well-traveled stretch of city sidewalk. It might be setting up an interactive display in the heart of New York’s Times Square or another iconic city location. It might be a field team showing up outside a big concert or event with their own special show, starring, of course, the brand and its products. Particularly for reaching younger audiences, guerilla field campaigns have proven highly successful.
Pop-Up Retail Marketing
The trend toward pop-up shops is proof that field marketing helps brands reach their goals. These temporary locations can “pop up” virtually anywhere customers happen to find themselves. For instance, a skateboard brand might set up a pop-up shop near a park hosting a major competition. A cosmetic brand might set up a pop-up counter near a bustling downtown business district. A technology brand might create a pop-up experience at a major exposition or other event. Pop-ups are fast, easy ways to take your products to a group of pre-qualified customers, which can generate both immediate sales and heighten brand awareness.
Does your business incorporate any of these field marketing campaigns as part of your overall marketing strategy? Perhaps, you’re not quite sure how to gauge which ones would work best? Data insights can help you gain a better understanding.
Use Field Marketing To Measure Your Overall Marketing
Sometimes field marketing isn’t about reaching the customer. Instead, it’s about understanding your own business. In this case, field teams are tasked with visiting retail stores and venues to capture vital intelligence, including store appearance, store cleanliness, product displays, merchandising, signage, promotional marketing, and other factors impacting the shopping experience.
Thanks to the emergence of advanced smart forms and other digital technologies, this kind of field data is now easier to capture, and the insights gleaned from it far more accurate than in the past.
“Our digital platform enables field teams to go into a location and, using a standard tablet or smart device, capture all the critical factors impacting the sale. They can log everything about that location, from product inventory to shelf space to how the store and displays are set up,” says Eduardo Santaella, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Mobile Insight®, a leading digital retail solutions company.
“Plus, they can back it all up with real-time photos. So essentially, a brand or retailer will see exactly how each store appears to its customers. Everything is presented in a custom report that drills the data down however the customer likes. With our help, they’re able to analyze this data to reveal real field insights that can help them make more informed and impactful decisions to drive sales, marketing content, customer engagement and other important business areas. Our customers love Mobile Insight® because it not only gives their field teams a tool that makes their jobs easier, it also tracks field team performance and holds each person accountable for capturing the relevant data our customers need to keep their locations optimized,” concludes Santaella.
Digital tools like the platform offered by Mobile Insight® are dramatically changing the way brands and retailers examine their businesses and their field marketing campaigns. What’s more, the solutions go well beyond smart forms. In fact, Mobile Insight® also incorporates intelligence drawn from AI, robots, in-store sensors, geographic data, weather data, and other independent sources.
The point is this new wave of digital technology enhances the level of visibility across retail operations. The deeper a brand or retailer can look into its own operations, the more effective they’ll handle issue resolution, marketing strategy and campaigns, store design and layout, product selection and pricing, and other factors impacting sales.
Some of the advantages of a good digital data capture solution include:
- Examine store and venue performance at a location level
- Identify top selling products versus struggling products
- Identify peak selling days and times
- Identify locations that are underperforming and why it’s happening
- Examine customer service and engagement programs
- Gauge product pricing and make necessary adjustments
- Gain a clear understanding of the customer experience in every location
- Improve field marketing strategy based on actionable data and insights
- Streamline operations based on reliable data
- Faster issue resolution and stronger strategic planning
Field marketing is an effective and efficient way to reach beyond traditional methods to connect with your target audience. It’s also a great way to examine your marketing programs and you retail operations from the inside. To find more information on digital data capture solutions and how advanced technologies are changing field operations and retail marketing, visit www.mobileinsight.com.
Mobile Insight® is the only retail and merchandise management solution designed to meet the brick and mortar sales challenges of high-value brands and retailers. Unlike hardware and software providers that focus on fast-moving goods, the Mobile Insight® platform delivers assisted sales solutions for more complex, interactive, and customer-centric environments. Combining data from in-store systems, 3PLs, employee and partner activity, Mobile Insight® enables informed, smarter decisions that drive sales and operations excellence. For more information, visit www.mobileinsight.com.
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