FIELD MARKETING LEAGUE TABLES: Industry Takes Its Cue from Sectors - the Requirements of the Different Sectors Are Providing New Business Opportunities

Marketing, August 22, 2002 | Go to article overview

FIELD MARKETING LEAGUE TABLES: Industry Takes Its Cue from Sectors - the Requirements of the Different Sectors Are Providing New Business Opportunities


Almost all the agencies participating in this year's league tables provided figures for the breakdown of the sectors that use field marketing. This provides a useful indication of what the industry is providing as a whole.

The utilities business continues to hold up, helped by the determination of many agencies to provide the quality of training and management of field staff that is often conspicuously absent in this sector. No client wants the kind of publicity generated by the recent scandal at Virgin Energy where employees allegedly falsified applications. Meanwhile, an NOP survey found that nine out of ten consumers who have been approached by a sales agent are keen to avoid a repeat experience.

'Face to face is still the most successful route for customer acquisition, while we as a field marketing company enjoy a very low level of complaints compared with some competitors,' says FDS managing director James Moyies.

Telecoms cutback

There has been some cutback in telecoms, where less competition has meant a smaller marketing spend by companies such as BT. But there is still new business to be won. Mosaic is handling field sales for Sainsbury's Mobile and says it is achieving 'huge success' in signing consumers via field staff. Samsung, another newcomer to the mobile handset market, is running in-store support through PMI. And The Russell Organisation too is becoming involved with such activities, demonstrating models to company car drivers at their place of work, or visiting small- and medium-sized businesses for Orange.

Less expected is the increase in IT and electricals, partly attributed to increased work for Compaq and other major manufacturers by Mosaic Technology, now part of Mosaic UK. This activity has benefited from the continuing need of retail staff to have the workings of computers, gadgets and software explained. Having been delayed at the end of last year, the agency is now rolling out its Homecoach, a service that helps consumers set up computers in their homes.

The figure for financial services is down for some agencies, but has held up for others. Andy Shipton, managing director of SMC, argues that this is a 'very serious contender' to utilities. 'The market place has become quite sophisticated, with consumers very aware of what to look for and how to surf the market place,' he says.

Mosaic is continuing to run its cash-collection service for Prudential, Pearl and Wesleyan, although it has dropped its work for Britannic. President Jerry Stone regards this as significant business and forecasts that it will double over the next 12 to 18 months.

Developing that into a fully fledged home-calling business was always part of the plan, but has been slow to come, Stone concedes. 'People don't always like to be contacted at their home to buy things, although they like to buy from people they recognise, know and see month after month,' he says. But he expects eventually to develop spin-offs from that activity, creating an access point for two million homes for sampling, surveying, or sales on behalf of other brands.

Headcount, too, is starting to think about how to extend its doorstep activity to the benefit of other clients. It is running a test to see if it can sell banking products on the back of direct-debit details that customers give to field staff when making a purchase. …

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