The Definitive Guide to Trade and Field Marketing: Strategies, Best Practices, and Covid-19 Challenges

Marketing | 5 minutes to read

25th Oct, 2021

Once the pandemic is behind us, reliance on Field & Trade Marketing will be back. Organization which will make Field Trade Marketing strategy the central element can make incremental progress and drive business growth

Direct and personal communication has been one of the widely used and effective marketing mechanisms for centuries. Pitching products to prospective customers directly and letting them experience their benefits has few alternatives. But what happens when meeting clients and customers abruptly comes to stop? And how do businesses pick up pace again? Let us find out more about one of the most common ways to attract new customers.

B2C field sales and marketing — What is field marketing, and why is it important?

Field sales and marketing is one of the oldest forms of traditional direct marketing techniques that consists of distributing, selling, sampling, and promoting products directly to customers in the field. The field may refer to shopping malls, marketplaces, customer fares, events, cafes, or any other public place.

While field sales is focused on selling the product, field marketing also includes collecting feedback, leads, and building a relationship with customers. Typically, FMCG businesses indulge in field marketing more than other industries, but banking, F&B, and tech companies also make the most of it.

Field sales and marketing are vital to adequately explain the benefits and function of complex or new products, answer queries, convince cynical customers, gather feedback, build relationships, and collect leads. Since field sales and marketing campaigns focus on one-on-one interactions with customers, their strength is in numbers.

A higher number of company representatives in the field and the number of territories will naturally result in better results. Yet, they will also add to higher staff, travel, and other costs. That is why many businesses partner with expert field marketing agencies to implement limited field campaigns instead of permanently hiring a vast workforce of representatives. Despite the higher cost and investment, field sales and marketing campaigns usually earn inside sales processes by 12% to 18%.

Field marketing strategies and best practices

Set the right foundation

This includes doing market research, customer research, creating buyer personas, crafting the right pitch, selecting the right tone, setting goals, and identifying the right metrics to measure. Find out how big the team is going to be, what tools will be required, and create each stage of the sale/customer cycle with the highest diligence.

Find the right team

Whether representatives are hired directly or an agency is commissioned, building and training the right people is vital. Look for people with strong communication skills, warm personalities, and persuasion skills. When choosing an agency, check its expertise, past campaigns, and team quality. Marketing agencies like Denave offer comprehensive, measurable, and result-oriented field marketing and sales services.

Be culturally relevant

Ensure that the product, pitch, message, and marketing are in line with the hyper-local culture and community’s beliefs. Some products or solutions might simply be obsolete in certain regions, or people might refrain from buying them due to cultural or religious beliefs. Do not offend the local sentiment, as it may harm the business and reputation by creating a negative association with the brand.

Experiment with different tactics

There are many ways to run a field campaign; these include, but are not limited to, targeted promotions, merchandising, demos and free giveaways, experiential marketing, roadshows, events, and mystery shopping. Try different tactics to measure customer responses and determine which format gets the best results.

Establish measurable goals

Finally, make the most of the biggest benefit offered by field marketing: gathering accurate numbers. So, in addition to setting up the right goals (depending on the team strength and focus regions), create processes that capture the takeaway of each interaction and pitch. Train representatives to capture all relevant data, information, and feedback methodically, as this forms the basis of future business decisions.

Additionally, read our blog, “Expanding Brand Reach and Maximizing ROI through Tele and Feet-on-Street Engine” to learn how leading B2B brands are deploying a unified telesales and field sales & marketing engine to strengthen lead pipeline and maximize conversions.

B2B field marketing (Trade marketing)

What is trade marketing, and why is it important?

Trade marketing is the B2B equivalent of field marketing that focuses exclusively on supply chain partners like retailers, wholesalers, and distributors. While the purpose of this approach is the same, i.e., to increase revenue and sales, its method varies by targeting partners and stakeholders that manage products after the manufacturing process.

Trade marketing can take many forms but is eventually undertaken to ensure a consistent supply and availability of a product which, in turn, increases its demand. Not only does it lead to better brand recall and perception, but trade marketing also helps cultivate crucial long-term B2B relationships. It also helps onboard new delivery and retail partners, offers a targeted marketing approach, and has an easily measurable ROI.

Over the past few decades, trade marketing has become a critical part of the overall marketing strategy for businesses in most industries. This is due to the massive changes in the domains of media advertisement and how retail chain stores operate. The rise in popularity of category management and the increasing trend of retail consolidation further intensifies the battle to obtain visibility and accessibility to their customers through their supply chain partners.

Make no mistake, trade marketing is not the only thing that manufacturing companies and businesses need to do. They must also continue to market their products to their end customers so that they become more likely to purchase them.

Trade marketing strategies and best practices

Invest in branding collaterals

Before focusing on trade marketing, ensure that the branding and visual communication is on-point. Set up a modern website, a landing page, and get posters, flyers, kiosks, banners, brochures, and business cards printed. An impactful and memorable brand must accompany on-ground presence and interaction.

Choose the regions judiciously

Since trade marketing is a labor and time-intensive campaign, the targeted area must be chosen carefully after due research. Furthermore, other vital factors that will influence these choices are the product price, category, availability, competitor market share, and brand recall value. Similarly, only industry-relevant trade shows, expos, events, conferences, and other such platforms must be pursued.

Train representatives well

Since supply chain managers are experts in their domains, it becomes vital to equip marketing representatives with accurate, authentic, and reliable information to answer questions, dispel myths, and communicate the value of the product. Similarly, they must be trained to cross-sell and how to focus both on the product and the brand.

Cultivate a relationship

All supply chain partners have the potential to turn into valued business clients that order high volumes of the product at regular intervals. Thus, set up a dedicated team to engage and motivate the vendors who are successfully onboarded through regular communication, check-ins, support, incentives, holiday greetings, and problem-solving. Lack of market and customer research is one of the biggest reasons why trade marketing campaigns falter, as the effort is misdirected towards areas with lesser potential.

Think long-term

Unlike B2C field marketing, the chances of a successful sale in trade marketing will convert into future orders is much higher. Hence, be sure to get commitments from all supply chain partners regarding how much stock they will order, how they will promote the product, minimum order gap and level, exclusivity rights in the area, and how to end the partnership.

Challenges and the future of field sales and marketing

Despite the success rate and efficacy of trade and field marketing strategies, nearly all such activities have been brought to a halt since 2020. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has created a challenge to hold personalized and face-to-face marketing campaigns that require travel and indoor meetings. Businesses have temporarily stopped events, sampling kiosks, or targeted marketing as enterprises focus on engaging customers digitally. The on-ground retail industry has been one of the hardest hit, and many small brick-and-mortar stores haven’t survived the disruption.

Until the pandemic has been relegated as a thing of the past and pre-covid levels of consumer activity isn’t possible in retail stores and businesses, there is no option but to acknowledge the power of digital media and virtual meetings. Sales and marketing representatives can continue to stay in touch with their clients, offer support, and provide appropriate incentives. Furthermore, manufacturing businesses can use this time to improve their customer service and conduct comprehensive market surveys to understand their customers better.

Once the pandemic is behind us, there is no doubt that trade marketing and field marketing will be back. They are too critical of a function to be replaced with digital marketing entirely, and their importance will be even higher due to a renewed need for demand generation. The human factor in these activities cannot be replaced and will be leveraged to help businesses grow in the future. In the meantime, set up an engaging digital presence, revamp the business brand in accordance with the time, adapt to new ways of doing business, and continue to stay agile in the face of disruptions.

In conclusion: Trade and field marketing

Both B2C and B2B field marketing strategies are essential for businesses that are trying to revive demand and spur growth. Most B2C enterprises also reach their end customers through retail business and supply chain partners, making trade marketing necessary. Post the covid-19 pandemic, consider an aggressive field marketing and sales campaign to revitalize your brand and re-establish valuable relationships. Denave offers a wide range of B2B and B2C trade marketing services that can help retain customers and attract new ones. Please get in touch with us to know more.

Connect with our field sales and marketing experts to know more about our tech-led sales solutions to expand the bottom line. Contact Us.

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