Field Marketing Agency: Everything You Need to Know
Field Marketing Agency: Proven expertise to get your brand out, about and in front of customers.
Let’s delve into the art of field marketing and why a field marketing agency just might be a great sales engine for brands and retailers.
In a retail universe that often seems dominated by the latest news regarding online sales or the new technology that’s out there wowing customers, field marketing continues to hold an important place in the hearts and minds of brands and their customers. Perhaps, this is because, though we are a hyper-connected community, these connections often feel somewhat impersonal. Field sales and marketing allow a brand to reach out to customers with a human component that even traditional in-store sales reps are hard-pressed to deliver.
What is field marketing?
In terms of retail sales, field marketing, also referred to as field sales, is a direct form of customer engagement by which a brand reaches out to its prospective customers through personal representatives or “brand ambassadors” that essentially serve as the face of the brand. Unlike traditional sales reps, such as those you might find in retail stores, these individuals are focused on a specific brand and its attributes. They are avid users of the brand. They know all of its ins and outs. They have been trained to provide in-depth knowledge and sales support to customers.
The other key difference between field marketing and traditional store-based sales is that field campaigns can take place virtually anywhere, whether that’s at a special event, a food or music festival, road shows, a mall parking lot, or in stores with a special display or product demonstration. The primary focus of a field marketing campaign and the agency behind it is to give customers an up-close look at a brand and the product or products being featured. Field marketing is a face-to-face interaction aimed at growing sales by winning the trust of customers. This is achieved by having a brand authority on hand who can answer questions and provide product insight in order to break down any barriers to the sales conversion.
What is a field marketing agency?
In the simplest terms, a field marketing agency is a third-party company that facilitates the field campaigns of brands and retailers. Putting together a field marketing program is a lot of work. It’s a highly ambitious endeavor and the reality is that most brands simply don’t have the people or resources available in-house to get the job done properly.
Partnering with an agency that specializes in field sales and campaigns is often the ideal solution. A field marketing agency will have the strategic consulting services, ambassadors, training, logistical capabilities, and branding and marketing experience and expertise already in place and poised to design and work a successful program. This is what agencies do and the economies of scale they bring to the table in terms of producing field marketing campaigns can accelerate the ROI brands and retailers experience. Look at it this way, an ineffective sales and marketing campaign isn’t going to move the needle. A field marketing agency will not only deliver more effective retail sales and marketing services, if it’s a reputable agency it will also provide robust reporting that accurately demonstrates the ROI being delivered.
You’ll know if your events and field sales campaigns are generating consumer interest and delivering sales because that’s exactly how every field marketing agency is judged. The proof is in the performance and you should see numbers that reflect immediate sales, a boost in brand awareness in the marketplace, and an increase in brand interest among consumers.
Types of field marketing campaigns
Demos are probably the most popular form of field marketing. Whether it’s providing samples of a brand new barbecue sauce at local supermarkets; showcasing the latest breakthrough in impossibly-strong adhesives at a hardware superstore; allowing golfers to tee it up with distance-crushing drivers at a local range; or allowing customers to play with the next generation of smart phones or tablets at your favorite wireless and electronics retail store, demos are arguably the best way to prove a products worth to customers. Field marketing demos can take place in stores, at events, or anywhere else customers happen to frequent. Nothing sells a great product better than giving customers the chance to experience it first-hand.
This encompasses a pretty broad spectrum of marketing and branding installations and, in fact, often incorporates product demos. Direct selling refers to creating a situation or joining one in which trained sales ambassadors are able to directly interact with customers. It might be setting up your own tent at a music or culinary festival that you know a lot of potential customers will attend. It might be creating a pop-up store in a high-traffic area downtown. It might be setting up a promotional table at a business-to-business trade show. The key to direct selling is creating that one-on-one opportunity for a discussion between your trained expert and the end user.
Guerilla marketing is used to describe innovative and often grass-roots efforts at generating brand awareness. Typically guerilla marketing is a low-cost but highly creative campaign that relies heavily on being unexpected and having a great team in place to pull it off. There are few, if any, hard-and-fast rules to guerilla marketing. Everything from a choreographed bit of theater performed out in the streets to sponsoring an impromptu free concert would qualify as guerilla marketing.
Not all field marketing services are designed to generate immediate sales and awareness. Field teams are also used by brands and retailers to audit the merchandising, displays, shelf appearance and inventory inside the stores and other sales venues where the brand is being sold. These field agents are responsible for conducting regular store visits and usually work with intelligent data capture software to measure brand compliance and track sales with real-time efficiency. The purpose of a field marketing audit is to make sure stores and other sales venues are representing a brand and its products properly and living up to brand standards in terms of merchandising, product placement, pricing, marketing signage, and overall store appearance.
This is a rather new vehicle in the world of field sales and marketing. It also happens to be one of the most exciting developments on the retail horizon. More and more brands are leveraging new customer engagement solutions to provide the one-on-one engagements field marketing delivers – anywhere, anytime and anyplace their customers happen to shop or congregate.
One of the most innovative is a customer experience solution called VIBA, which is short for Virtual Interactive Brand Ambassador, developed by The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC) and a group of select technology partners.
“VIBA truly is the first technology solution to make personalized, face-to-face service available anywhere and anytime customers want it,” says Eddie Maza, Vice President of Marketing at T-ROC. “It’s a remarkable technology that incorporates virtual reality, augmented reality, live video chats, streaming content, product demos and so much more into a single omnichannel engagement solution that enables brands to connect with customers online, on their phones, at events, out on the street, in stores, you name it. VIBA brings field sales and marketing really anywhere a brand or retailer wants to take it.”
You can learn more about VIBA here.
What makes a field marketing agency stand out?
Not all agencies are created equal and the differences extend well beyond the logistics of developing a field marketing strategy and implementing a campaign. The real difference makers for an agency are the people they bring to the front lines; the team of individuals who are delivering that one-on-one customer experience and becoming the face of the brand. Remember the strength of field marketing lies in the opportunity to directly engage customers, but it’s only an advantage if the sales ambassadors on your team are well-trained and well-versed in your brand and products. For a field program to work, the individuals engaging customers have to be seen as trusted brand experts and enthusiasts. Here are five qualities every member of your field team should possess:
1. Brand Know-how
Your sales ambassadors must be trained in your brand and its products. Every field rep must be able to answer customer questions and provide a breadth of insight into the products being featured. Customers can tell whether someone is just another typical salesperson or a genuine brand enthusiast. Knowledge is power when it comes to field marketing. If you don’t have a properly trained and educated team running your sales and marketing installations, you just can’t expect to see any level of real success.
2. Enthusiastic engagement
Customers don’t want to be sold products. Customers want to be educated and informed by someone who makes an effort to understand their needs and can show why a brand or product might be a great fit for them. Sales in the field requires someone who understands the value of building this kind of personal connection with customers. A good sales ambassador is someone who knows the product, but also makes an effort to get to know the customer.
3. Not afraid to hear, “no thanks.”
Field marketing is grueling work and there are going to be more walkaways than there will be converted sales – and that’s perfectly okay. Field sales isn’t just about closing deals. It’s also about presenting your brand and products in the best possible light to customers, which just might lead to future sales down the road. As the face of your brand, a field ambassador must always represent the brand with professionalism and positivity. Even those customers who walk away, should do so with a good feeling about the brand.
4. Customer-centric and never pushy
It’s important to remember that satisfying the customer’s needs is what really matters in field marketing. Does a product make life easier or better? Does it solve a particular problem? How does it work better or do more for the customer than the competition? A seasoned sales ambassador allows the product to shine by making it relatable to the customer’s life. The sales approach should be benefit driven, not product or feature driven.
5. Closing the right way
After engaging with a sales expert, if a customer is ready to purchase at a field marketing event or installation that customer should feel extremely happy and confident about that decision. A good sales ambassador makes sure that every question is answered and every concern is met before trying to close the deal. This might take a little extra time and effort, but it will be rewarded in the form of satisfied customers who leave feeling as though they’ve been assisted by a trusted advisor rather than rung up by a salesperson.
If you found this post interesting and informative, we invite you to learn more about field marketing, outsourced field sales, and other retail management services, including staffing, Retail 4.0 technology, merchandising, inventory management, and retail best practices at www.trocglobal.com.
We also invite you to see some of the Fortune 100 brands and retailers we’ve assisted with field operations and other retail services, as well as review detailed case studies that demonstrate the level of ROI our clients have come to expect. Be sure to read our other retail-focused blogs at https://trocglobal.com/company/#blog.
TROC is the leading provider of premier staffing outsource, software, managed technology services, and consumer insights for the top global brands, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and distributors. The company’s distinctive solutions address the entire lifecycle of brick and mortar brand and retail operations by combining retail expertise, best practices, and technology to help its customers achieve sales and operational excellence as well as a sustainable competitive advantage. As a Retail 4.0 thought leader, T-ROC enables companies with high-value products in the physical world to thrive through the digitalization of the physical shopping experience. To learn more about T-ROC, visit www.trocglobal.com.