Magazine article Marketing

Field Marketing: Manual - Which Way Forward?

Magazine article Marketing

Field Marketing: Manual - Which Way Forward?

Article excerpt

Do you need an experiential agency or a traditional field marketing shop? Suzy Bashford examines the differences.

If you're new to this sector, one of the hottest issues is the definition of experiential marketing. Agency squabbles over terminology have left many clients confused about the difference between what traditional field marketing offers, and what the growing number of experiential shops can provide.

Some agencies argue that the latter is a subset of the former, while others, mostly the members of the Live Brand Experience Association (LBEA), argue that it is a separate discipline.

Barnett Fletcher, chief executive of Vibe and an LBEA board member, maintains that experiential activity requires a different skillset 'Field marketing is a practical purchase, driven by a need for distribution and sales building,' he says. 'Experiential marketing, created properly, builds an emotional bond between the brand and consumer.' He believes the biggest challenge for clients is determining which agencies have this experiential skillset, and which have added it as a bolt-on to their main offering.

There is also disagreement among agencies over whether the back-end tasks associated with traditional field marketing, such as merchandising and compliance, are included in an experiential campaign. Kate Carr, managing director of traditional agency FSS, believes they are specific to field marketing disciplines, but Fletcher disagrees. 'I am not aware of any rules about what you can or cannot have in an experiential campaign,' he says. 'If the big idea extends to merchandising, so be it.'

The lines between field marketing agencies and their experiential brethren are blurring as some of the former join what is seen as a growing and potentially lucrative sector. To add to the confusion, even agencies recognised as experiential specialists still frequently carry out traditional field marketing activities.

It may be that reaching as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, and encouraging them to try a product, is all you need, in which case traditional field marketing could work best for you. FSS carries out this type of work for Transport for London's Oyster card. 'There are 2500 Oyster tickets shops in Greater London and we call on those ticket shops once a month to check that consumers can easily identify outlets where they can buy Oyster', says Carr. 'We talk to the retailers about deals and educate them on prices and procedures. …

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