By David Norbury, chief executive of field marketing specialists REL.
Not so very long ago there was little richness to the field marketing industry. It was all about: “The client wants this, so go and do it”.
There was reporting on activity, but it was blunt and unsophisticated. Since then, the industry has evolved dramatically, and is much more focused on the use of intelligent data to analyse opportunities and drive field marketing activities around them.
With store-level EPOS data becoming much more readily available, brand owners have the opportunity to analyse this data and to pinpoint lost sales potential. Yet even with all the data in the world unless brands can turn that data into insight it will make little difference or have little impact.
Look for the biggest opportunities and target your spend:
The real insight comes when brands look at where they are losing sales and what the value of those lost sales is. For example, analysing EPOS data can tell you that your brand, which was supposed to be in 450 Tesco stores, is only in 375.
From this you know immediately that you’re missing sales opportunities in 75 stores. And when you have this level of data in front of you, targeting your field marketing spend becomes much easier.
Rather than trying to go everywhere and cover everything, intelligent use of data allows brands to pinpoint the stores where there’s the biggest opportunities are – quantified in lost sales – and target the highest value things to do in those stores – again quantified by lost sales.
This means brand owners get the best possible return on investment (ROI) by focusing their activities on the stores where their product is missing or performing badly through non-availability, lower level sales on promotion or distribution failures.
It’s a powerful tool for companies of all sizes and budgets; the more limited the budget, the higher value opportunities you need to target.
Utilise your field marketing team:
The data can tell you that a particular brand or product is not available - but field intervention will tell you why. For example, there might be a systemic issue such as a stock accounting error that needs addressing, or a particular promotion may not be compliant or being executed correctly.
Either way, armed with the intelligence to point them to the right store and point them to the right list of priority tasks in that store, field workers become a major value generator. Not only do brands get the benefit of a sales uplift when the field worker is in store, they also get a long-term benefit through an informed field worker being able unlock any blockage.
Being able to prioritise the task for your field staff based on biggest value means you know that you’re getting the best bang for you buck. When you consider that many manufacturers these days are lucky if they break even on their promotions, this becomes even more important.
On top of this it’s far easier to evaluate. Measuring field marketing activity used to be all about assumption. Now, however, brands can see exactly how effective their activities have been and put a real value on that by looking at the increase in sales of targeted products in targeted stores.
They can then measure whether the incremental sales driven directly through their field marketing activities make enough profit to cover their costs. Suddenly you have a much stronger ROI.
By using intelligent data to target where promotions and general stock sales are not producing the expected results, manufacturers and brand owners are giving themselves the best opportunity to make their campaigns as successful as possible. In doing so they are unlocking their potential at the point of purchase.
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