Hand Your Business Directly to Your Customers with Field Marketing
Free samples always draw a crowd.
Of course, big sales and unique events also draw plenty of people, if orchestrated correctly. Admit it, an intriguing flyer can catch your eye and sometimes even have you rearranging your plans so that you can attend. This and other initiatives are all examples of field marketing.
This is a dynamic branch of marketing that gets your brand (sometimes literally) in the hands of potential customers. This comprehensive guide will explain what field marketing is, the different types of field marketing, along with the advantages and disadvantages, as well as examples of successful campaigns.
What is Field Marketing?
Field Marketing is also referred to as field selling, but don’t worry, you don’t have to always be selling for field marketing to be effective. Simply put, field Marketing is a hands-on approach to marketing that effectively showcases your brand to the world. Instead of sending out mailers, or posting on social media, you are in the field, interacting with potential customers and usually giving them an incentive to try your product.
This fieldwork can range from physically handing out samples to having a sale. These two Field Marketing tactics also work well together, but more on that later.
Field Marketing encompasses a wide variety of both traditional and unique marketing tactics that are mainly focused on meeting face to face with the customer. The following are the different types of Field Marketing and how businesses use these types of marketing to gain a competitive edge.
Types of Field Marketing
Field Marketing is often fun and even if you don’t realize it, this type of marketing is used throughout a wide variety of different campaigns. Every business, small and large, can utilize Field Marketing to boost their sales and get their brand out to their consumers. However, Field Marketing tactics are not a one-size-fits-all strategy. There are different types of Field Marketing that can be better for specific businesses and industries:
Guerilla Marketing is unconventional inbound marketing that raises brand awareness to a large public group without disrupting their activities. Ultimately, Guerilla Marketing is successful because it depends on the element of surprise. This type of Field Marketing takes an abundance of creativity and incorporates different tactics such as:
Adding picture-worthy elements to populated areas
Pushing your message through creatively inserting your brand into everyday objects
Avon, Lululemon, The Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Amway, and many other well-known companies are a direct result of Direct Selling. Any purse-party, essential oils get together, makeup tutorial, or sign party you have ever been to is also an example of Direct Selling. The reason that Direct Selling is also a Field Marketing tactic is that the seller’s main objective is to promote their brand.
Product Demonstrations are usually where the public receives samples. The idea is that by giving the potential customer a little bit of the product, they will recognize the quality and want to make a full-size purchase. Plus, they are hoping that you feel a sense of loyalty to the product since you did receive something for free. Therefore, the next time you choose to buy a product in their industry, you will think about them first, because they gave you something.
However, product demonstrations are not always related to free samples. Sometimes, they are genuinely a demonstration of how the product works. When this is done, the company hopes that by making you a more informed customer, you will trust their product and find ways that it could fit into the needs of your life.
Retail Audits are conducted by brand representatives and their purpose is to collect data and information about the brand’s products. These audits take into account a brand’s sales volume, stock levels, promotional materials, competitor activity, price points, and reputation to decipher the health of the brand.
*Note: Retail Audits are different from secret shoppers, as Retail Audits are done internally and for the brand’s benefit. Secret shoppers, while they can be a benefit to the company, are an external audit and the findings generally benefit the general public before they benefit the brand.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Field Marketing
Since Field Marketing is such an expansive form of marketing, encompassing many different types, it makes sense that there would be a lot of advantages and even a few disadvantages when compared to other marketing tactics.
Cost-Effective: Many Field Marketing campaigns are highly cost-effective. Since creativity is at the core of all Field Marketing techniques it can often cost more time and creativity than money. That means that you are gaining a larger profit margin and you are putting out far less money to start reaping the benefits of your campaign. It also allows you to test different strategies at a relatively low cost to figure out what works best for your brand.
You Get the Truth from Your Target Market: Being in the field gives you direct access to what your target market thinks about your brand. Of course, this might not all be good news but it is still an advantage because it gives you the chance to make it better. When you are in the field, whether a campaign works as expected or not, you learn the unbridled truth about your brand’s public image. That is invaluable information.
Risking the Public Not Sharing Your Vision: The great thing about creativity is that it allows everyone to see the world differently. However, when it comes to Field Marketing, you want to ensure that your vision portrays your intention clearly and does not conjure any negative associations.
One of the most infamous examples of this mistake is the 2002 Starbucks “Collapse into Cool” campaign. To be fair, Starbucks was already negatively associated with the September 11, 2001 tragedy due to the retail outlet charging EMTs $130 for three cases of water immediately following the 9/11 attacks. However, that was only the precursor, which probably made the actual incident a lot worse than it would have been. In April of 2002 (only seven months after the 9/11 tragedy), Starbucks came out with their “Collapse into Cool” campaign. What was intended to be an ad evoking feelings of a lazy summer day with a cold drink ended up representing 9/11. Not only was the word “Collapse” a little too on the nose, the angle of the two drinks and the fly buzzing toward it instead cultivated some very raw and unpleasant imagery.
One Mistake and Its a Waste of Money: Field Marketing is often extremely cost-effective. However, it can also be a gamble; as if one thing goes wrong or doesn’t compute appropriately, all the money that was put into the campaign is wasted.
These advantages and disadvantages are usually universal. However, you must always remember that every industry and every business within each industry is different. It has different needs and goals. Therefore, it is important to decide for yourself exactly what you want to view as a disadvantage and advantage, as they could be subjective
Examples of Successful Campaigns
There are plenty of interesting Field Marketing examples but here are three of the most creative in recent years:
National Geographic- Astronaut Reality: The idea of seeing the Earth from space, for most people is exhilarating. Yet, there are still not many people who would really dawn a spaceship and sail away to see it with their own eyes; and the number of people who have actually done it is far, far smaller. However, to promote the series, ‘One Strange Rock’ National Geographic created VR astronaut helmets to give individuals the opportunity to see the world from space without ever leaving the safety of Earth’s atmosphere. That is something that the participants will likely never forget.
Europe: It’s Next Door: This unique take on travel came from France’s international railway system. Through two-way video streaming, the railway system created literal doors on streetcorners in France to show what was going on (in real-time) in other parts of Europe. The flawless execution of this plan used technology to its benefit and resulted in a brilliant campaign.
Spotify: Cosmic Playlists: Studies show a crazy number of Millenials (specifically 58%) believe astrology signs to be “scientifically accurate”. So, in 2019, Spotify took advantage of that, by creating their Cosmic Playlists campaign. This campaign featured a playlist for each astrological sign, that changed every month, to align with the current horoscope for that sign.
To close, Filed Marketing is an expansive, yet exciting option with many avenues of success, depending on your business’ current goals and aspirations. There are many creative paths to take through Field Marketing that can bring you closer to your customers and help you connect on a deeper level with your own industry. It is always fun to experiment and Field Marketing gives you a wide spectrum of opportunities and proven marketing tools to work with.