It's true, your buyers are online – but they're also at the grocery store, that conference your company is attending, and just living their everyday lives.
The rise of online shopping has pushed digital marketing strategies to the forefront of many campaigns. After all, is there a cheaper or faster way to reach a large audience? Maybe not. But that doesn't mean digital marketing will always be your best bet.
The online marketing space is crowded with promos, messages, and online ads. Every day, consumers have become pros at tuning out the noise unless something really catches their attention. In some cases, an in-person approach might be just the thing you need to stand out.
There's still something to be said about the personal touch field marketing allows sales reps to have with potential customers. Physical selling can come off as an outdated attempt at selling, but as long as in-person events continue to attract an audience, there will always be a need for field marketing.
What is field marketing?
Field marketing is a branch of marketing in which companies put their products in front of potential customers out in the field in public locations, retail locations, events, college campuses, etc. Field marketers carry out initiatives that can include product demos, direct sales, giveaways, and other promotional marketing materials.
Field marketing, sometimes referred to as field selling or merchandising, is a demand generation tactic that involves personally connecting with target prospects in order to best market and sell your offering.
These initiatives may include promotions, sales demonstrations, direct sales, and more. Many B2B businesses use field marketing as part of their marketing campaigns and find success when they’re able to demonstrate the use of their product or service right in front of the customer’s eyes.
Field marketing vs. digital marketing
Although it may seem like the entire world has converted to focus on digital marketing, the vast majority of companies around the world typically implement some type of field marketing into their campaigns. It's used to build a more personal connection with their audience when promoting a specific product or service, or even to promote an entire brand.
Field marketing and digital marketing can be used together as part of a larger overall marketing strategy. Here’s how each differs:
Field marketing takes place at point of sale. These marketing activities are designed to take place in person during events like trade shows, conferences, and other activities at physical locations. The most important part of successful field marketing is the face-to-face interactions sales reps can have with customers.
Digital marketing focuses on delivering its messaging through online channels such as social media, paid ads, SEO, and more. Digital marketers often partner with other teams like content marketing, PPC managers, and others to deliver a cohesive digital experience for the consumer.
Both of these strategies are effective lead generation tools that can help brands generate buzz and interest around their products. The goal of any marketing effort is to generate qualified leads for a product or service. Field marketing gives you the added benefit of communicating directly with your customers in real time.
Tracking all of these in-person marketing initiatives are just as important as tracking digital analytics. Many marketers employ the use of event marketing software, which helps them manage things like event registrations, managing customer lists, and many even include a payment processing portal.
Types of field marketing campaigns
What makes field marketing so popular is the variety of strategies you can use to get your product in front of the customer. While some field marketing tactics require little effort to get off the ground, others can take months of planning to pull off.
You’ll need to choose the right field marketing campaign to achieve your desired outcome. Here’s a look at some of the most widely recognized field marketing strategies:
This marketing method is one of the most commonly used campaigns by companies and brands. It entails brand representatives making sales to customers at the point of interaction in-store.
This method is often matched with product demonstrations and relies heavily on ceasing the opportunity to push the product directly after the customer has tried it. Direct selling can also appear in promotional stands at events or at pop-up shops.
Guerilla marketing is an experiential marketing tactic that targets a company's target audience in an unexpected way. Guerilla marketing is a highly creative marketing strategy that focuses on creating a big splash in a businesses target market. This is down by creating highly visible marketing campaigns in populated locations.
This gives companies the chance to reach a large number of people for a minimal marketing budget. Newer companies may utilize this tactic because it’s typically low budget but full of creativity, imagination, and energy.
Guerilla marketing often comes in the form of small but mighty street teams, promoting a new product, service, or event while out on the street. The team may hand out free tickets, coupons, or other marketing materials to entice potential customers to buy a product or attend a show.
Although we’ve stressed that field marketing relies on face-to-face interaction, not all campaigns are customer-facing. Some companies may organize a team to travel to retailers and audit the way their products are presented or displayed in store. When a team conducts a retail audit, the field team takes note of how their products, promotional materials, and signage are presented on the shelves or throughout various retail locations.
Conducting a retail audit has two major benefits to a marketing team. First, they provide marketing managers with insight into how effective their display is in different stores. Second, after assessing the retail audit, brands have the opportunity to fix whatever they deem unacceptable and increase the effectiveness of their in-store marketing efforts.
What is the role of a field marketing manager?
If you’re planning on attending multiple in-person events a year, it would be wise to build out your field marketing team. Most companies start building their field marketing teams by hiring a field marketing manager.
A field marketing manager will work closely with your sales and sales enablement teams to spearhead field marketing initiatives, as well as manage and coordinate day-to-day projects and other marketing employees. They play a major role in executing and measuring results of various marketing campaigns. This individual will likely work closely with your sales and sales enablement teams.
They know their prospects best, so the field marketing professional will often collaborate with them to determine what strategies have the highest success rates. Often, their goal is to source qualified MQLs for the sales team.
The field marketing manager will typically work as a part of your demand generation team. This team’s primary objective is to encourage prospects and customers to engage on a deeper level with your organization. A field marketing manager may also be in charge of managing other professionals, such as field marketing specialists, brand ambassadors, street team representatives, and more.
Field marketing manager job description
When it comes time for your team to seek out your field marketing manager, the following job description can be a helpful starting point. Feel free to use this description as a template to adapt to your own organization's needs and requirements.
Title: Field Marketing Manager Location: Chicago
ACME Corporation is looking to hire a field marketing manager to be responsible for the demand generation plan for his or her assigned sales territory, through a number of marketing channels including but not limited to: field marketing events (CxO events), sales collateral, account-based efforts, prospect targeting, and more. This individual should have a successful track record of fostering valuable partnerships with sales and helping them hit their quotas through custom and personalized field marketing strategies and tactics.
Define a region-specific field marketing plan that supports the regional sales strategy.
Plan and host online and offline events to create net-new sales opportunities, accelerate existing sales opportunities and deepen our existing customer relationships
Strategize, build and execute integrated field campaigns that involve email marketing, direct mail marketing, and other channels as you see fit
Assist regional sales team as needed, including increasing brand awareness locally/regionally, and driving leads and MQLs for your sales region
Use our content management tool to build landing pages (for events, webinars, eBooks, etc.), and send automated and personalized behavioral emails
Support various other marketing projects as needed
Bachelor’s degree in marketing or related discipline
3+ years of related marketing experience, ideally in field marketing or sales enablement
Proven experience carrying out B2B field marketing efforts, including planning, prioritizing, and implementing strategy
Experience partnering with an enterprise sales team
Experience with software like Salesforce, HubSpot, or other CRM platforms
Highly organized and proficient at managing multiple projects at a time
You are metric driven and have the ability to draw insight from complex marketing data
Time to play the field
Field marketing allows companies to see their customers in person and make a connection with them that online marketing simply doesn’t achieve. When a field marketing campaign is executed well, it’s memorable to the customer and allows companies to collect data about their campaigns instantly instead of waiting for the results and analytics of a social campaign.
Never sold in the field before? No sweat, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about field sales engagement.
Lauren Pope is a Content Marketing Manager at Oracle and a former content marketer at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, the G2 Learning Hub, and other sites. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and singing karaoke. (she/her/hers)
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