Field Marketing

The rise of technology and social media may make you think that face-to-face selling has become obsolete. This couldn't be further from the truth. While digital media is a game changer, face-to-face interaction remains the number one strategy for creating a personal touch with customers and driving brand awareness. The only thing that changes is that it has become more flexible through the power of the Internet. Let's explore a form of face-to-face interaction in business: field marketing. 

Field Marketing Field Marketing

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Table of contents

    Field Marketing Definition

    Field marketing is a marketing technique where highly trained marketers are put in the field to interact, educate, and persuade customers to make a purchase decision. The "field" can be anywhere as long as an audience is present.

    Field marketing is a marketing technique that puts marketers in the field to introduce the company's product and persuade customers to purchase.

    For example, you might have run into a field marketing campaign in the form of:

    • A trade show,

    • A press conference,

    • A pop-up on the street,

    • A product demo in retail stores, shopping malls, gyms, etc.

    Field marketing differs from other marketing techniques as it shows rather than tells customers why they should purchase the product.

    Suppose a firm has just released a new type of beverage. It can conduct field marketing by setting up a pop-up in a grocery store and letting the customers try the beverage for free. If customers enjoy the drink, they can buy the product directly from the seller.

    Another aspect that sets field marketing apart is that it is interactive. Rather than passively conveying a message, the field marketer creates a wow moment and takes advantage of the audience's real-time interest to close the deal.

    Field marketing is often found in consumer goods markets such as beverages, food, appliances, smartphones, etc. In addition to selling, marketers can use it for feedback collection and brand building.

    Types of Field Marketing

    There are many types of field marketing, but product sampling, product demonstrations, merchandising, and leaflets are the most common.

    Field marketing: product sampling

    Did you know that over 70 million product samples reach households every quarter? Well, that's how vital samples are! In fact, 61 percent of surveyed customers believe sampling is the most effective way to get them to try a brand.3

    Product samples are freebies given to customers to let them try the product before buying.

    You may associate product samples with consumer goods like food or drink, but they can take place in both digital and physical forms. For example, you can set up a stall in a retail store and give out samples to customers. This activity is known as direct or face-to-face sampling.

    Another way of sampling is indirect sampling, where you provide a free gift alongside a purchase. It can be a physical gift like a shower gel sample or a digital gift like a voucher for their next-time purchase.4

    Field marketing: product demonstrations

    If you ever wonder what good a product demonstration (product demo) can do to your business, here are some figures to check out:

    • A successful product demo can increase sales by 475%.

    • Other products in the same product line experience a 177% sales boost after the product demo.3

    A product demonstration is a presentation of a product or service's value to the customer.

    A product demo can cast away any customer doubt about a product and improve their perceptions of your business. In some cases, it may even make customers change their minds and convince them to buy your products instead of competitors'.

    Field marketing: merchandising

    A retail store is cluttered with products from multiple brands. You product display has to be unique and easy to navigate to stand out and grab customers' attention. This idea is the main function of merchandising.

    Merchandising is any activity that leads to the sale of a product. In a retail store, it refers to how the products are displayed to capture customers' attention and entice them to make a purchase.

    Effective merchandising, which includes displaying and labeling your products correctly, can significantly impact customers' purchasing decisions. It also makes your brand more appealing and memorable.

    Field marketing: leafleting

    We are no strangers to leafleting. It is everywhere; sometimes, you barely glance at them before binning them.

    A leaflet is a sheet of paper containing information and promotional messages about a business.

    Leafleting is not always effective; though, when brands can successfully capture the customers' attention through catchy phrases and stunning visuals, the results can be astounding. It allows customers to learn more about the brand in a short space of time. They can share the leaflet with friends and help spread the product or service. Another good thing is leaflets let you access a wide audience in a specific place and time.

    Field Marketing Examples

    We have briefly discussed field marketing examples early on, but let's look at a few more in this section.

    Field marketing example: roadshows

    A popular example of field marketing is a roadshow. It is similar to a product demo, but instead of ending within a day, a roadshow can last for months.

    A roadshow is a series of marketing events to reach the target audience nationally or internationally. During a period (up to six months), the performers will relocate to different locations and give a unique show to introduce their business.1

    Locations for roadshows can be anywhere an audience is present. For example, you can spot a roadshow in the open air, in a city center, or on a uni campus. The success of a roadshow depends significantly on developing a strong, creative concept matching the brand identity. The props should also be easy to set up and dismantle.

    Some examples of events that might use roadshows:

    • Product launches,

    • Exhibitions.

    Field marketing example: product demos

    In an Inc. article, author Geoffrey James wrote:

    "There is almost nothing more powerful than a great product demonstration. When done correctly, a demo allows the customer to see and feel how things will be better if they buy (and worse if they don't)." 2

    A product demo can make a huge difference in how prospective customers view your product. As the saying goes, seeing is better than hearing. Demonstrating a product live helps cast away any doubt customers have about the products and nudge them towards an action.

    A product demo is also part of the sales process. It takes place after the salesperson has identified qualified leads and approached them to make an introduction. A product demonstration is a chance for the sales representative to convert prospects into customers.

    Nowadays, many product demos take place online, thanks to the wonders of modern technologies such as Zoom and Google Meet. Instead of knocking door to door to give a product demo in person, the sales representative can set up a video call to discuss product features and functionality at length with the customers.

    Field Marketing Benefits

    Field marketing is more than just giving product demos and closing deals. There are many other benefits that field marketing can bring to a company, for example:

    Raise brand awareness - Nowadays, with so many ads on display, people tend to pay little attention to or ignore them altogether. An effective way of recapturing the audience's attention is to show the product in action. Whether in a retail store, a shopping center, or on the street, a unique live demonstration can capture customers' undivided attention and set you apart from other faceless competitors.

    Back up your claims - Many companies call themselves leaders in the industry or being the best, fastest, or the most innovative. People are losing interest in these generic claims. A better way to prove your authenticity to consumers is to show them exactly how your product can benefit their life through field marketing activities, such as live product demos.

    Obtain customer data - Field marketing is also helpful for feedback collection. Companies can develop more appealing messages to the target group by collecting customer feedback. They can also update or develop new product functions to match customer expectations.

    Test new ideas - If you're about to launch a product but are unsure how it will be received, a field marketing campaign will provide a good test. You can collect feedback from small sample sizes and see if the product is ready for large-scale adoption.

    Bring in more sales - Field marketing can lead to more sales for the business. One reason is that direct selling often accompanies field marketing activities to take advantage of customers' in-the-moment interest to close a deal.

    Field Marketing vs. Product Marketing

    Along with field marketing, product marketing is another popular technique for companies to improve sales. While both methods involve having customers try out the product before making a purchasing decision, there are some significant differences.

    In product marketing, the product is the main driver for sale. The producer can adopt a free trial or freemium model to let the customers have the first taste of the product or service. If the experience is positive, the customer can continue the subscription or upgrade to a paid plan.

    A freemium model is where a company offers a basic plan (free) with limited features of a product or service and charges a fee for an upgrade.

    An example of product marketing is the movie streaming platform Netflix. Netflix gives you a 30-day trial where you can enjoy all its features for free. After 30 days, you can decide whether to stay or opt out of the subscription.

    On the other hand, field marketing tries to close the sale in real time. The marketer/seller wows the customers on the spot and nudges them towards a buying decision. There is no period for trial or free plan offer as in product marketing.

    In addition, product marketing focuses on the entire customer journey, from activation to adoption, retention, and referrals. Its primary purpose is to convert free or trial subscribers into paid subscribers that will continue using the service for a long time. Field marketing is more about raising brand awareness and closing the deal quickly.

    Field Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

    Another distinction to make is between field marketing and digital marketing. Let's observe their differences in a comparison table:

    Field MarketingDigital Marketing
    Main featureShow the products in front of the customers; requires face-to-face interaction. Can be carried out faceless.
    Where to implementPopular in consumer goods industries such as food, beverages, electronics, smartphones, etc.; Limited to the point of sales. Can be used for all kinds of industries, anywhere, at any time.
    Popular typesinclude live demos, roadshows, direct selling, etc.Digital marketing techniques: SEO, social media, email marketing, etc.
    ChannelsMostly offline, sometimes online. Only take place online.
    CostsCan be expensive (e.g., roadshows)More cost-efficient
    StaffHighly trained marketersDigital marketers

    Table 1. Field marketing vs. digital marketing

    As you can see, field marketing differs from digital marketing in many ways. Overall, if your goal is to increase brand authenticity and make real-time sales in a short period, you should adopt a field marketing campaign. However, digital marketing is more suitable if the goal is to reach a broad audience despite geographical barriers.

    Field Marketing - Key takeaways

    • Field marketing is a marketing technique that puts marketers in the field to introduce the company's product and persuade customers to purchase.
    • The four common types of field marketing are product demonstrations, product sampling, leaflets, and merchandising.

    • Field marketing helps companies raise brand awareness, back up their claims, obtain customer data, test new ideas, and improve sales.

    • Field marketing aims to close the deal on the spot, while product marketing uses free trials or a freemium business model.

    • Field marketing shows customers exactly how the product benefits them and builds their trust, while digital marketing allows companies to access a wider customer base.


    References

    1. Movico, Marketing roadshows for a unique brand experience, https://www.movico.co.uk/roadshows-marketing/
    2. Geoffrey James, Give a Great Product Demo: 5 RulesHow to give a demonstration that helps convince a customer to actually buy the product, https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/give-a-great-product-demo-5-rules.html.
    3. GottaBe, The Power Of Field Marketing – Infographic, 2015, https://gottabemarketing.co.uk/field-marketing/the-power-of-field-marketing-infographic/
    4. Mailchimp, Product sampling, 2022, https://mailchimp.com/courier/article/product-sampling-guide/
    Frequently Asked Questions about Field Marketing

    What is the purpose of field marketing?

    Field marketing aims to close the deal on the spot. It also helps companies to raise brand awareness, back up their claims, obtain customer data, test new ideas, and improve sales. 

    What are examples of field marketing?

    A popular example of field marketing is a roadshow. A roadshow is a series of marketing events to reach the target audience nationally or internationally. Unlike a normal product demo that can end within a day, a roadshow can take up to 6 months.

    What's the difference between field marketing and customer marketing?

    Customer marketing is any marketing that appeals to existing customers rather than new prospects. Field marketing targets the general public with product demos, exhibitions, or direct selling. 

    How do you create a field marketing strategy?

    A field marketing strategy can involve setting a live product demo, a roadshow, a guerrilla marketing campaign, etc., that accompanies direct selling. 

    What is the difference between field and channel marketing?

    Channel marketing means selling your product through a partner, e.g., a retail store, whereas field marketing uses the company's own marketers to demonstrate product features and functionality to consumers. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Live product demo is an example of field marketing. 

    Field marketing activites are often __________

    What is not a field marketing activity?

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