Historically, field marketing has been a one-way street. Field marketers target retail locations, events and communities with the objective of getting their emerging brand into the hands of the consumer. They work quite literally “in the field,” conducting product samplings or demos and engaging face to face with consumers.
The internet age has changed a lot about the small business world, and field marketing was not immune to these changes. While field marketers may or may not be the ones also in charge of online marketing within your startup, there are still a lot of ways that those in the field can engage online to better achieve your startup’s marketing objectives.
The increasing prevalence of social media has created new opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs to expand their reach via the digital space, as well as opened up channels of communication between company and consumer like never before. Combining field marketing with social media marketing is the best way to take advantage of that.
Many entrepreneurs wear many hats, and this is especially true for field marketers. Where field marketing was once a niche category of marketing, it is now completely intertwined with marketing as a whole. The field marketer still has to conduct their in-person merchandising, but they constantly represent their brand both in person and online, leveraging their own community ties to build brand awareness.
As a startup, figuring out how to integrate field marketing and social media marketing can be much more effective and efficient than conducting these functions as mutually exclusive processes.
Taking photos in the field to share on social media is a great way to let your customers know where your team is and engage on social platforms. Encouraging potential customers to follow, like and share content on social media during a field marketing campaign increases brand presence and raises awareness in a wider space than would otherwise be possible from a single field marketing location.
For example, Health-Ade Kombucha constantly has their reps posting photos at samplings and events. These photos not only give consumers an idea of what the company is up to and where to find them, but also helps create a personification of the brand. The reps are always smiling, always in Health-Ade gear, and in general, this creates a light and positive image of the brand in the eyes of the consumer.
Take a look:
Hashtag campaigns are also helpful for generating buzz around a new product or brand. Adding hashtags to Tweets or Instagram posts from the field can help your content reach a wider audience, and encourages customers to get in on the action, contributing their own thoughts or photos to utilizing the hashtag.
Check out Hippeas #GivePeasAChance hashtag in the tweet below!
— HIPPEAS (@hippeas_snacks) June 23, 2017
Field marketing should in no way start and end in the field. In fact, the most important part of any field marketing campaign is following up with it online.
Perhaps your marketers organized a recent sampling event, or conducted a direct mailing. Someone from your organization (whether it is the field marketers themselves or another member of the team) should be monitoring online activity throughout and for a period of time after a campaign.
So what should this follow up look like? Monitoring the hashtags you use, checking for direct messages or mentions on social platforms, addressing any emails that were received regarding the campaign, etc. Remember, field marketing should no longer be a one way street. Consumers should be encouraged to engage with your brand in person and online, and they should be engaged with when they do.
An example? Starbucks is great at communicating with their customers online, and it definitely doesn’t hurt their remarkable customer loyalty.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 22, 2017
While field marketing strategies may vary from one startup to the next, common goals include brand awareness, increased sales at targeted locations, and increased engagement with local buying communities. These three goals are especially vital to a new business or product, and luckily, the internet is full of opportunities for field marketers to reach them.
Know that no matter how great your product is, it won’t sell if consumers aren’t excited about it. Enabling your marketing team to take advantage of opportunities within the overlap of social media and field marketing will help generate long term relationships with consumers and growth for your small business.