Scaling Up Plus Scaling Down –

The impact of rationalization, measurement and digital communication on Field Marketing

Acknowledging the primacy of customer centricity (B2B) and shopper centricity (B2C), all services and solutions need to evolve from that primacy. In order to adapt their portfolio to new market demands Field Marketing agencies are required to look first at their clients’ needs and worries (the needs and worries appearing through changing consumer behaviour and platform enabled market places, not just the ever imminent price pressure and fear of risk and failures), both in retail as well as on the manufacturers’ side.

The solutions Field Marketing currently provides—availability, activation, engagement, implementation insights — as such do actually keep their validity, but all four solutions are affected differently by change.

Availability—as long as we are talking about modern retail— is the solution coming under most pressure concerning pricing and flexibility.

Activation is affected by automated direct consumer communication via smartphone messages, and therefore needs to also move outside the store. There is a need pre‑store and in front of stores.

Engagement is the solution with increasing demand, both in store as well as outside of the store, and both with store staff as well as with consumers.

Implementation insights will always be in demand, the data collection part of in‑store facts is further automated and simplified by technology tools, partially even replaced by tools and supplemented by automated instore‑tracking, the unique possibilities lie in mystery shopping (checking the shopper experience is vital in shopper centricity) as well as the consulting part.

There are shifts around the actual services and sub‑services provided, we do see more services combining several solutions instead of providing one solution at a time   (provided by one supplier), we see new skill‑set requirements, we need to develop more enhanced models for the allocation of activities, which then need to be reflected in payment models.

The Impact of Rationalisation and Measurement

There are evolutions in retail that have a direct impact on rationalisation/economisation of Field Marketing services and activities, especially in relation to availability:

·         More detailed and real‑time information derived from smarter and predictive analytics generated of collected data

·         Automated and/or simplified (more convenient) routine‑activities

Detailed real‑time information both enables and demands more agility and flexibility, automated routine activities can either provide more free time to be saved or put to different use, or even lead to lowered skill sets/qualifications that are required to fulfil a  task.

Detailed realtime information enables hybrid and predictive services.

There is an “upscaling model” for the service evolution for dedicated field forces, and its seeds already are planted especially when we are looking    at Consumer Electronics: there are blurring lines of service activities, one person for one client introducing (and selling in) new products, negotiating additional placements, negotiating promotional activities, checking availability of listed assortments, taking care of regular re‑ordering, taking care of planograms, training and educating store staff (a real need for retailers, as store staff sees themselves confronted with a knowledgeable consumer and can’t afford the knowledge gap) on new products, services or activation programs, and even approaching shoppers directly while on site. So we see the blending of hybrid tasks, availability, activation and engagement tasks, done by one and the same person fully committed to one client.

The other end of the spectre is a fragmented line of micro‑jobs/tasks and there is a need to get a systematic organisation behind.

One option is enhancing the shared or syndicated service model where there is a rather fixed team of people doing the same task for several clients, leading to certain efficiencies along the skill set and saving on travel costs. However this requires more openness from the client side of Field Marketing, than currently often exists.

The Impact of Communication on Activation

Automated personal/situational communication with consumers does affect the activation solution in field marketing. Simple activation activities rather start pre‑store (In this context not meaning online or social media presence, but F2F communication)  and in front of a store, activating consumers to enter the store. In‑store activation needs to be loaded further with experiential and engagement activities.

The Impact on Engagement

Engagement activities are happening in‑store and at public places/events and we see an increasing demand in engagement services as these will be the solution for winning new customers and enhancing customer  loyalty. In‑store, these activities are developing into being main footfall drivers, on public sites, the main task is creating brand awareness and publicity on social media channels. In‑store, there are several elements: entertainment, education, and community building. Spelled into Field Marketing activities, apart from concept and creation (which can either be done by Field Marketing agencies with creative departments themselves or in cooperation with ATL and BTL agencies), there will further develop a need for special skill sets.

Entertainment, education and community can be translated into instore measures that help brands grow.

Starting with more advanced visual merchandising activities, up to providing experts in various fields like for example trained cooks or trained artists. Now the twist comes with combining showmanship and education with building communities around a store. We already see steps into that territory with special retailers like for example in DIY, in sports or in pet food, but still executed rather as single events.

Maintenance Services

In addition to merchandising of products and shelfs, there also arises more and more need for technical maintenance services. Like we already see in activities in flag ship stores of technological companies, tools need to be charged or have batteries exchanged, items need to be replaced, new software updates need to be installed. There is a really open field for service providers.

 

Want to read more about Field Marketing?

Download for free:

Impactful, Innovative & Interdisciplinary: Identifying Field Marketing Part I of a study of Field Marketing in Europe, defines Field Marketing as being about personal interaction, with a DNA consisting of the two strands sales and marketing. These two strands are reflected both in the service range of the majority of Field Marketing agencies, as well as in modern day hybrid services delivered for example by “brand ambassadors”, providing Availability, Activation, Engagement and Implementation Insights to Field Marketing clients across all industry sectors, all sizes, locally and globally, thus making it into a billion Euro industry in Europe.

Influences, Interactions & Innovations: Framing Field Marketing Across Europe, is based on the results of an online survey with 59 Field Marketing agencies from 28 countries, and delivers insights into the capabilities and services within the frame of retailers’ and manufacturers’ pre-requisites, as well as an evaluation of the impact of current developments - retail restrictions, international projects, shopper marketing, online/mobile promotions, plus crowdsourcing and other trends - on budgets and services as seen by Field Marketing Agencies.

Coming September 12th:

Innovation Integration & Implementation: A Glimpse @ the Future of Field Marketing, is taking a glimpse at future needs and requirements in a shopper centric environment powered by digitalizationand technology. Part III looks at Field Marketing as a Glocal Business, New Alliances and Strategic Partnerships, as well as Scaling Up Plus Scaling Down of services.

 

written by Glaeser Kerstin (16 posts)

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