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Case Studies


Newspaper tactical Field Marketing

Newspaper tactical Field Marketing

Guardian re- launch case study.

Winners at 2006 Field Marketing Awards: Most Effective Tactical Field Marketing Campaign


In 2005 Guardian Newspapers Ltd (GNL) made one of the most important decisions in its 184 year history – to launch the Guardian in a new full-colour “Berliner” format, heralding a new era in national newspaper publishing and celebrating a passionate commitment to quality journalism, photography and design.

Adamant that the £80m re-launch would receive the impact it deserved at retail level, GNL decided that it was vital the launch received effective field marketing support. It was essential to develop relationships with retailers, site point of sale (POS) material and maximise availability and distribution. GNL identified 8,068 retail outlets that needed support for the new format launch and due to the confidentiality of the launch it was also essential that visits were conducted in extremely tight time scales.

Following a three-month pitch involving 20 of the UK’s top field marketing agencies, Intelligent Marketing Solutions (IMS) were chosen as the winning agency on the grounds that they could conduct the campaign efficiently, cost effectively and within tight deadlines.
“IMS were the only agency that could meet our exact requirements for a campaign of this magnitude” said Richard Thompson, Sales Development Manager. “Due to the confidentiality surrounding the launch, it was vital that we supported over 8,000 outlets in a matter of days. IMS demonstrated how they would achieve our objectives, and made constructive suggestions of their own. We were impressed!”


GNL set some firm campaign objectives for their desired impact for the campaign. These were as follows:
• To conduct visits in more than 8,000 retail outlets over a span of 4 days and ensure POS distribution occurred within tight timescales to maintain the secrecy of the format launch.
• To site POS in 75% of the outlets visited.
• To utilise the information obtained from this campaign for future field marketing activity.
• Overall to help increase sales.


In order to effectively conduct 8,068 visits in an efficient and cost effective manner, IMS were able to use their groundbreaking software IMSFUSION alongside the planning solutions of CACI to break down the entire call file into distinct territories. This allowed the field team to book multiple visits in small, defined geographical areas, producing significant cost savings by dramatically reducing travel expenses.


IMSFUSION has many incredible features. It provides clients with unparalleled levels of reporting and also allows IMS to conduct the automated booking of visits. This was key during this campaign as can be attested to by IMS Operations Director, Steve Radford.
“Automated booking quickly allows us to make visits available to top rated field team members based on not just their location, but by matching their skills to the requirements of each campaign” said Steve. “Our systems continually review our team on an ongoing basis. This allowed us to match the absolute best team members for the GNL campaign.”


IMS knew that in order to increase the ROI generated by the launch support activity, it was necessary to conduct an initial audit of the outlets due to receive support. IMS identified the need to establish the specific POS requirements of each of the 8,068 outlets that would receive support during the launch phase. This was done to reduce POS wastage and significantly reduce costs. Retailers could choose from 1 of 8 display units and a range of shelf wobblers and posters.

During these visits the IMS field team also made presentations to outlet staff, based around the ‘Your Business’ concept that had been developed by GNL. This presentation involved communicating the benefits of promoting the sale by providing profitable information with reference to the fact that Guardian readers’ were proven to spend higher amounts on impulse purchases at the counter than readers of other news publications.

These presentations included a bespoke map for each retailer, outlining demographics and potential profits.


Following the completion of the audit, GNL brought time scales forward leaving just 15 days to set up the campaign prior to field work commencing. IMS then faced the challenge of taking the individual POS requirements of each outlet and siting the bespoke kits over a time frame of four days.

Activity commenced on Thursday, 8th September and was completed prior to the launch on Monday, 12 September. Adding to the challenge was the fact the Berliner format was shrouded in secrecy, due to commercial sensitivities. With unbeatable online briefing systems, IMS kept secrecy of the launch date from the team until the 8th September. IMS kept a field team of 350 updated regarding the launch on a purely need to know basis via mass automated emailing and text messaging.

IMS overcame further confidentiality issues connected to the announcement of the new logo, which operationally meant that the required 50,000 items of POS could not be delivered to the field team until 1day before the actual campaign live date.
IMS worked with ArkH and the national distributor, Target to achieve this. For the first time in their history Target agreed to clear an entire warehouse and use extra staff to distribute the 5 articulated lorries worth of POS out to their regional hubs. POS was then held for 2 days to allow planning of delivery routes to ensure all kits were delivered to the waiting field team for the morning of the 7th September. IMS were able to effectively complete 8,068 visits in 4 days.


“Following campaign completion, the impact IMS made on sales turnover for The Guardian was record breaking.” Richard Thompson stated. “Tactical field marketing helped to generate our highest ever volume of sales. As a direct result of the campaign we sold more newspapers than on any other day in The Guardians history. A truly record breaking sale!”

The following information shows how IMS generated increased ROI for the Berliner format launch:

• Outlets visited by IMS with the ‘Your Business’ campaign reported increases in sales figures eight times higher than the national average
• ABC circulation figures went up 18% and remained at that level for a 4 month period.
• 8,068 outlets were visited in 4 days and coordinated the
• distribution and delivery of POS in 24 hours.
• POS was sited in 86% of stores – 11% over target.
• IMS subsequently supported the launch of the new format Observer (which saw a 21% increase in circulation in its first month of sale), and have since handled 16 campaigns for GNL.
• IMS collected information on outlet opening times, exact addresses, parking and other data which has generated significant ROI for future field marketing activity.
• To date a total of 57,843 visits completed over a span of 51 days.


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