Field Marketing: How field campaigns can help a brand connect with customers and drive sales.
Let’s start with the definition. What is field marketing? Field marketing is the means by which a brand takes its marketing message and product offerings directly to the customer. Essentially, field marketing is about fostering a deeply individual, if not face-to-face, interaction with the customer.
Why is field marketing so important? A big reason is the world we live in today. As convenient as online shopping and interacting via the internet and through our social media channels have become, the technological renaissance has also left a gaping hole when it comes to personal connection.
In many ways, the behavior of today’s customer has come full circle. While the dawn of the internet craze and the years to follow saw customers move away from retail stores and venues, more recently these same customers find themselves longing for the human interaction that only brick-and-mortar retail experiences can deliver.
Thus, a good field marketing strategy and quality teams to implement them have become critical for any brand or retailer looking to improve customer engagement and drive sales.
A few tips on deploying an effective field marketing strategy.
The success of virtually all marketing campaigns rests in the details. Field marketing is no different. It is critical to have everything mapped out both in terms of how you want to interact with the customer and what you expect to gain in return. After all, because field marketing is a methodology with the intention of interacting directly with customers, the flow of information is a two-way street. You’ll have opportunities to learn about your customers as much as you’ll have opportunities to showcase your brand and product or products. With this in mind, here are a few things to consider when implementing marketing campaigns out in the field.
- Think education over sales. Trying too hard to move product on the spot is a critical and all-too-common field strategy mistake. In most cases, your field team should be focused on being a product and brand educator – providing the customer with valuable information and answering any questions he or she might have. Field marketing isn’t an aggressive tactic. It’s one that seeks to build lasting relationships between customers and the brand.
- Make sure you hire effective field marketers. There’s an art to conducting field marketing campaigns and a big part of it is employing the right field team. Good field marketers are detail-oriented and highly trained experts who make it a point to understand customer behavior and the sales environments where the brand is featured. They do more than communicate persuasively. They are great listeners who are there to help a brand better understand its customers and build strong, long-term relationships. Merchandising, store appearance, promotional displays, price evaluation, promotional marketing – these are all areas that good field marketers will help you improve.
- Use field marketers to gather customer insights. What is field marketing if not a great chance to hear about the pros and cons of your brand or product from customers first-hand? Engagement in the field is a great way for a company to learn how well or poorly it’s doing in the eyes of its customers. Do they have any suggestions on ways to improve the product? Do they think it’s priced fairly? Are they loyal to the brand and, if so, why? Sometimes these questions can be asked in person. Other times a survey might be more convenient. The point is to use field marketing to gather intelligence about your customers so that you can better serve them, and, thus, increase sales.
- Leverage the latest Retail 4.0 technology. One of the best ways to improve field marketing performance is to integrate the latest in digital data and analytics technology. Recent years have seen brick-and-mortar brands and retailers shift toward software solutions that use real-time data to deliver incredible insights into field operations, marketing, merchandising, customer behavior and a whole lot more.
Eduardo Santaella, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Mobile Insight®, a digital retail platform that specializes in helping brands and retailers improve the performance of field marketing had this to say.
“The reality is, no brand or retailer has much of a choice these days. It’s either move to a digital field strategy or get left behind by companies that are already doing it. For example, field teams who use Mobile Insight® are able to capture relevant data in performance areas like merchandising compliance, inventory, store appearance, and product sales in real time. This includes supporting the data with real-time photos for a level of visibility into field marketing and operations that just wasn’t possible before. Everything is done using a standard smartphone or tablet,” said Santaella. “Our software then drills the data down into digestible reports that reveal actionable insights brand leaders leverage to make more informed and confident decisions to drive performance, customer engagement and, of course, sales.”
Does your field marketing strategy use digital solutions? Are your marketers and field teams optimizing performance and delivering actionable reporting? Maybe it’s time to get some help from the Retail 4.0 field marketing leaders?
Field marketing campaigns in action.
There are many different field marketing tactics to consider and none of them are reserved for any one type of brand or product. What follows are a few ways to use field marketing teams effectively. Remember, the focus of field marketing is to gain a better understanding of the customer by making an effort to share your brand and product (or products) on a personal level.
Events are one of the most common field marketing tools because they present an immediate opportunity to get your team in front of customers. Sometimes events are intimate gatherings reserved for a select group of prospects. Other events include things like surprise pop-up stores, street fairs, music and art festivals, and guerilla marketing programs. The one thing all successful events have in common is a marketing team on hand that’s built for customer engagement. Events are rarely focused on generating immediate new sales. Many are marketing strategies focused on winning new brand enthusiasts which will, hopefully, lead to sales and loyal repeat business down the road.
Product demonstrations are among the most effective field marketing tactics. After all, what better way to interact with customers than by allowing them to taste, try or test your latest offering? Many times, demonstrations are held in concert with special events, however, they can be just as effective when hosted in stores and other traditional sales venues. They can also be brought directly to the places where customers use the brand. For instance, golf club makers often host demonstration events at local golf courses, offering players the chance to swing their clubs on the driving range or even go out and use them on a round. These free demos are hosted by marketers who know the products and love the game. They answer customer questions. They offer up swing tips. They relate to the audience as golf enthusiasts as well as product experts. One more reason a well-oiled marketing team is such a crucial aspect of field success.
There are different types of in-store promotional campaigns. Sometimes, a program relies primarily on implementing effective promotional signage in each location. It might be a hanging banner, shelf talkers, or an elaborate merchandising display. Regardless, field marketers are tasked with making sure every aspect of the signage is compliant with brand and marketing standards. Here, a digital field marketing solution can be a great tool, allowing teams to capture real-time data and photos to ensure the promotion’s proper execution. If things are not in order, a digital solution allows the brand and its marketers to identify the problems immediately and act just as fast to remedy the situation.
Other in-store promotions require far greater customer engagement on the part of the marketing team. For instance, say a wireless company or cable provider is offering an exciting new plan. To promote it, they might deploy teams of field marketers throughout their locations to explain the plan to customers and answer any questions they might have. Again, it’s not about being pushy or aggressive. It’s about being a brand ambassador and providing valuable information to the customer. Here, as well, a digital field marketing solution can help provide teams with instant access to plan details, FAQs, pricing and other important information.
Merchandising and reporting
Merchandising is a daily and difficult challenge for almost every brand. If displays don’t look right; if signage is dated or missing; if products aren’t on the shelves; if inventory shipments don’t arrive on time; if pricing isn’t correctly established, how can a brand expect customers to respond favorably?
One of the biggest tasks field marketing teams face is accurately reporting in-store merchandising conditions as they appear across various locations, regions, and day parts. Once again, a digital field solution can be a tremendous advantage. When implemented properly, a digital solution allows field personnel to accurately capture and report merchandising data in real time. A good solution will drill all the data down into clear and concise reports that allow decision makers to make adjustments and improvements before any merchandising issue grows into a major problem.
Interested in learning more about how digital solutions can help drive field performance for your brand or retail business? Talk to the experts.
Key Brand Advantages Of Strong Field Marketing
- Engage With Brand Customers On A Personal Level
- Gain Valuable Insight Into Customer Needs, Wants, Perceptions
- Guide More Effective In-Store Merchandising & Marketing Programs
- Effectively Launch New Products & Promotions
- Capture Reliable and Actionable Market & Customer Data
Common Industries That Rely on Field Marketing
- Food & Beverage
- Grocery and Department Stores
- Wireless Communications
- Personal Electronics
- Home Goods, Appliances
- Health & Beauty Brands
If you’d like to learn more about field marketing, why it matters, and how breakthroughs in digital data and analytics are driving it forward, we invite you to speak with the experts at Mobile Insight®.
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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