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A look into the field marketing landscape with Pete Kroth

Posted 23 Thu Sep

It is undeniably a challenging market at the moment. The pandemic has hit many businesses in different ways. Some have gone bust or been bought out, some have had to cut their teams right down. However, there are still opportunities out there to make the most of field marketing and to showcase the difference that field marketing can make to clients and customers.

Field marketing, after all, is all about the interaction with the shopper. Without a shopper there wouldn’t be any field marketing needs. Ultimately, although online shopping has been growing throughout the pandemic, and is undoubtedly going to continue to grow, there’s still an awful lot of people who enjoy going to the supermarket. Not least because, for so many of us, that’s been the only place we’ve been able to go for a long time! And, that is why field marketing will always be needed, despite the current challenging market.

Throughout the year, there are really key times in the field marketing calendar that attract customers and boost sales. These campaigns, such as Easter and Christmas, form a big and essential part of traditional merchandising and take a lot of planning.

For example, most field marketing companies start to think about Christmas in September. The months from September to December are known as the golden quarter, when Christmas merchandise lands in supermarkets. At many supermarkets, implementation of Christmas merchandise can be slow and initially relatively poor – it’s never quite 100% on day one.  Instore can support brands by ensuring we are adding additional support to the stores, to not only check products are out in the right place at the right time, but to also supply the manpower to help get the product on the shelf at the earliest possible time.

As well as Easter and Christmas, towards the end of the summer, there’s the build-up of ‘back to school’ activity. Halloween is no longer as big an opportunity as you might think and has become of dwindling importance to field marketers over the last 10 years – in part because Halloween is generally dominated by three or four brands, so can be handled by the brand’s internal sales team.

Sporting events such as Wimbledon and the Euros this year for example, offer the opportunity for some really bespoke activity. In a similar way, you can start drilling down into opportunities for regional activations – events like Reading and Leeds Festivals, and Glastonbury, all provide the chance to provide a field marketing solution in those particular locations when the festivals are happening. This type of local targeted activity requires you to ask different questions because it is likely that shoppers in this instance would be engaging in a very different visit than your standard grocery visit. So, it might be that these events offer the ideal time for driving sampling, for instance.

Then, of course, you have other celebrations that take place in a diverse country like ours. We have seen a boom in Passover, Eid and Ramadan – there are so many opportunities to build around – and most field marketing companies should be looking to make the most of these.

All in all, field marketing is an ever-changing landscape and any one day is never the same – even though we would all love it to be. To be able to deal with this dynamic environment, businesses need to be able to adapt quickly to changes driven by retailers and consumers, to really succeed in the short, mid and long-term.

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