Back to Basics: What is Field Marketing? A Strategic Sales & Marketing Introduction

What is Field Marketing

It can be argued that many different definitions exist, but for the sake of clarity, we humbly put forward the following. Field marketing puts brands and their products directly in front of consumers, at the point of purchase (often traditional retail locations) or other places and events where consumers can uniquely experience them. Each field marketing campaign has its own set of goals and activities (see next section), primarily for the purpose of driving sales, awareness & learning, as well as experience-test- & trial, and the services include: direct selling, merchandising, training and product demonstration. Brands measure the success of campaigns in a variety of ways, including sales and revenue lift, awareness, rate or share of recommendation and marketing ROI.



Why Brands Use Field Marketing

Program types come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed to deliver against specific objectives, requirements and of course budgetary considerations. Generally speaking, the programs are either short-term, seasonal or surge campaigns designed for specific promotional or time-bound outcome and set of events, or longer-term in nature (what we often refer to as “continuity”), to provide sustained brand support, awareness and sales performance. Some of these include:

  • Complete In-store Brand Management

  • Capture real-time data and in-store insights, conduct market research

  • Engage retail sales associates to create awareness and advocacy; deliver learning & incentives

  • Audit retail execution & compliance; check pricing, inventory, OSA (on-shelf availability), displays, plan-o-gram, and field teams


Types of Field Marketing Programs/Campaigns

These campaigns, projects and programs generally are defined in the following categories:

  • Assisted Sales (“ASD” – Assisted Selling Days): a series of events where brand representatives partner with store associates to assist with customers; typically Friday-Sunday, 4-8 hour events that optimize store traffic.

  • Brand Advocacy: training and building relationships with retail associates and managers for increasing advocacy and driving shopper experience through informed associates, training events typically happen in-aisle when store employees are otherwise not engaged with shoppers, or more formal “breakroom” training sessions can be scheduled at off hours or before the store opens.

  • Product Demonstration or "Demos": a series of events where brand representatives engage directly with shoppers so they can test & trial the featured products; similar to ASDs (and often done in parallel), typically the events are scheduled Friday-Sunday, for 4-8 hours

  • Merchandising: there are different levels of merchandising, ranging from basic tidying up of products, display and pricing, up to full installations (picture a new display being re-set), these can be one-time activities, or recurring to ensure quality presence. Duration of visits range based on complexity, and numbers of stores covered can go from partial- to full-chain based on the requirements of the retailer and the brand’s investment.

  • Audit & Compliance: these visits are particularly relevant to brands that have invested in in-line, end cap and bulk stack displays – designed to evaluate how accurately and effectively the brand is being represented in the store, including pricing, product information, display performance and placement. These campaigns can be a one-time surge for a particular launch or priority, or may be recurring over the entire duration of the program, with frequency varying, typically 1-4 per month.

  • Research & Mystery Shop: Research, such as consumer sentiment or competitive analysis can often be effectively combined with other activities and campaigns, while the representatives are already on site. Mystery Shops are conducted separately as a means to evaluate other field marketing and related activities, evaluating the store environment, interviewing store staff and observing “other” consumers’ behavior.



What Are Timing & Drivers for Creating Campaigns

  • New product launch

  • New product placement strategy

  • Product price change

  • Product placement execution concerns

  • Category push periods (e.g. tax day, black Friday, dads and grads)

  • Competitive product launches


Types of Field Marketing Roles

Different teams and programs are of course set up differently, depending upon the particular scope and needs of the individual campaign, but here are some general guidelines for various roles that make up a field marketing program. Any effective team also enjoys the critical support of recruiting, payroll, human resources, training, technology, logistics, warehousing and analytics roles.


National Manager

Responsible for all field sales teams activities and ensuring communication is disseminated in a timely and effective fashion while providing report outs of field sales team experiences at the frontline. Manages Regional Field Sales Managers and their team performance.


Regional (and/or District) Manager

Responsible for ensuring flawless execution through the overseeing of the day-to-day execution of the program throughout an assigned region, managing assigned team, ensuring market intelligence integrity and proper focus and deliverables are being achieved.


Field Market Manager

These strategic and highly trained representatives are tasked with managing all business aspects of their market. Individuals who fill these roles understand the interdependencies of merchandising, training, brand awareness, relationship building and localized support and service, and their impact on the goals of the investment: increasing sales, one product at a time. Understanding this, each market manager is expected to effectively balance their time to ensure flawless execution of all focuses. These individuals have strong relationship building, sales and training skills, are highly collaborative leaders, with an aptitude for technology and a passion for understanding the market in which they operate.

Additional frontline representative titles & roles include: ASD Representatives, Merchandisers and Trainers, that fulfill various events and responsibilities relative to the different types of campaigns.


What is a Best Buy Third Party Labor (“3PL”) Approved Provider

To better manage and enhance the customer experience, Best Buy established a list of approved companies to provide all third party labor in their stores. Any Third Party Labor Provider conducting work within Best Buy stores must be a Best Buy Approved Third Party Provider. This program is designed to include more consistent and higher quality performance by third party employees. These third party employees interact directly with customers and blue shirts and provide services that indirectly meet customer needs. Best Buy’s increased involvement in and awareness of third party labor will also help ensure that our customers’ needs are consistently met and that customers encounter a more consistent in-store experience at any Best Buy store. Third Party Labor Providers have product knowledge, Best Buy SELLING SKILLS certification, and additional Best Buy training allowing them to assist customers and Blue Shirts on the sales floor (adapted from Best Buy Partners’ website).

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