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Article

Innovative Field Marketing Methods are Arising from COVID-19

02/09/2020

As countries around the world continue to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing tactics have had to alter significantly. COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in social distancing, masks being worn in-store, minimal touching and handling of products, amongst other significant changes that have transformed the consumer experiences instore dramatically. 

Yet the desire to find ways to reconnect is greater than ever. As brands and stores aim to break the austerity of the pandemic they look to field marketers for new ways to bring novelty, fun and memorable experiences back into their shopping experience.

The biggest benefit of Field Marketing is the ability to leverage interaction with consumers in order to increase brand awareness, increase sales at targeted locations and increase engagement with local communities. This is achieved through promotions, demos, samples, and direct sales amongst others. 

The new COVID-19-driven shopping experience has challenged field marketing agencies to retain consumer engagement whilst elevating their client’s brand in new and exciting ways. 

As we noted in our article The Future of Field Marketing , the line between online and offline is becoming increasingly fluid. Where once we saw a clear distinction between online and the physical sales channels, COVID-19 has accelerated the integration of the two as we innovate and adapt into this new reality. 

In addition to the traditional field marketing methods, here we highlight some of the most fascinating ways that companies are achieving fantastic field marketing results around the world by leveraging technology and new methodologies. 

 

How COVID-19 is Changing Field Marketing

 

QR Codes: 

QR codes are making a comeback. In the new world of low-touch living, their use is becoming more and more frequent for creating interesting brand experiences and increasing interactions with consumers. Field marketing agencies are now able to use QR codes strategically and effectively. 

Tesco, the UK retail giant, has recently been a great example of just this. They opened up a “Shop on the Go” solution for their customers with long working hours in South Korea. By scanning QR codes from a board of items displayed at bus stops and train stations across Korea, busy customers can order their groceries on the go! 

Nike has also paired with WeChat, the Chinese messaging app, to create personalized shoes via QR code. Customers have to first scan the relevant QR-code in order to be taken to a specific portal for this campaign. From there, they upload a colourful picture and a shoe is designed with exactly those colors as reference.  

 

Virtual Hostess: 

An interactive virtual hostess as a point of contact for consumers is both innovative and refreshing. It enables consumers to simulate face-to-face interaction without the risks of COVID-19 impacting the interaction. For field marketing agencies, virtual hostesses are an ideal solution, because the screen doesn’t simply display a pre-recorded message. It’s actually a digital panel connecting the customer to an online hostess. The hostess will interact with the consumer at the point of sale, enabling them to make the sale and display the products as if they were directly in the store.

 

Virtual Promoter: 

Currently used by companies such as Lego, Adidas, Porsche and more, a virtual promoter is a large interactive screen that can be used as lead generation, product promotion, public relations and more. Field marketing agencies can leverage the interactivity of this technology to create real brand awareness and generate leads from anywhere in the world.

These are often used in public or busy spaces such as shopping centres, train stations, bus stops and conference centres. The audience simply stands in front of the screen and interacts with it via hand gestures. This helps them to explore the interactive journey that has been set up for them, as the screen reacts dynamically through motion sensors and its camera. With QR codes to scan after the interaction, the consumer receives information about the product and brand directly to their own phone, even after their interaction with the screen is over. 

 

User Generated Content: 

User-generated content (UGC) helps shoppers to find, evaluate, and purchase products faster. It’s a field marketing tactic that works based on the science of social proof. By displaying reviews and photos from customers, businesses are able to get products discovered and draw more people to the company’s site. 78% of shoppers globally online trust product reviews. 

In response to the restrictions posed by COVID-19, field marketing agencies are taking the opportunity to interact with their audiences online, creating social proof and user-generated content for the brand. 

When consumers tag their Instagram Stories with, for example, a personal trainer that they’ve purchased a livestreamed session from, their followers receive social proof about the efficacy of that workout session as a product. Field marketing agencies are leveraging user generated content like this more than ever before, encouraging audiences to share on social media as much as possible. 

 

Holograms: 

“The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing.” — Tom Fishburne, Founder & CEO, Marketoonist. 

Holograms are a perfect example of this quote being brought to life. They have that “wow” effect that makes consumers forget they’re being sold to. Field marketing agencies are leveraging this now more than ever. Holograms are easy to install and are highly Instagram-able, meaning that they generate further user generated content beyond the 1:1 consumer interaction 

Carlsberg’s Belgium market experienced just this when the company’s founder made a holographic appearance on the stage to introduce the brand’s famous tagline. This was in order to generate a buzz and gain market share in the highly competitive Belgian market. 

Furthermore, by displaying a product as a hologram, the brand is elevated and seen as instantly more innovative, modern and desirable. It enables customers to visually see and experience the product, which they rated as important to them in this study. 

All in all, a hologram is a fantastic way to ensure that your product will stick firmly in the minds of your consumers for weeks to come. 

 

Virtual Training: 

Training remains a key focus of field marketing agencies and so the ability to deliver this online through e-learning platforms is hugely beneficial. With learning portals brimming with content for employees to train and enhance their skills, it’s an industry truly catered to getting the best from the digital world. Employees are able to access real-time learner analytics and reporting, as well as performance support tools and mobile learning. Virtual training is a powerful tool in the field marketer’s arsenal. 

 

NFC Technology:

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It is a feature on many phones that enables contact-free data transmission – all consumers have to do is tap their phone to an NFC point. By using this, field marketers are encouraging their audience to interact with a location or physical object at a small distance. 

For example, Lexus used NFC when they printed ads in Wired Magazine. By simply tapping a phone to the ad, people immediately had a link to the Lexus app on their phones. Similarly, KFC’s latest UK campaign meant that people just had to tap their phone to the KFC posters, and their phone’s map would route them to their nearest KFC store. 

NFC stickers are often simply added onto displays or products. Field marketers can use this to: 

• Offer live assistance with remote ambassadors. For example, vending machines can suddenly be awakened and can offer personalized support for the range of available products. 

• Surveys can be sent directly to people’s phones, removing the need for a field interviewer. 

• On-demand home sampling sessions can be scheduled in order to empower consumers to bring the brand home with them. 

• Chatbots can be linked to the product, meaning that more leads can be captured and converted, simply due to their proximity with the product. 

• Digital leaflets containing offers and promotions can be sent directly to consumer’s phones, without any pollution. 

• By simply tapping, consumers can receive personalized information about their product. 

 

Home Ambassador Program: 

Many field marketing agencies are using micro influencers to demonstrate products from directly inside the home. A perfect example of this is the way that clothing brands in China work with influencers to create shopping shows that live stream on retailers’ platforms. 

Livestream sales hosted by micro influencers are the newest unbeatable trend in China and many fashion retailers are jumping on the bandwagon. Taobao, a large Chinese e-commerce fashion retailer, has seen sales from micro influencers double since COVID-19 hit. As it’s an online platform the experience is seamless – if a viewer likes what they see from the ambassador, they can simply click and buy it. 

 

Live Streaming: 

Also in China, live streaming has taken the country by storm in the wake of COVID-19. More and more, field marketing agencies are taking inspiration from live streaming and engineering campaigns such as those below:

• Chefs have been giving live-stream cooking tutorials from their very own restaurant kitchen. 

• Gym instructors have pivoted to delivering live stream work out classes

• Club DJs live now stream mixes for “cloud clubbing” sessions

• Real estate agents are giving live stream tours of properties for sale and moving forward with the transactions that way.

• Farmers live stream produce in-the-field in order to sell to buyers

Another great example is Wendy’s livestreaming themselves playing Animal Crossing on Twitch to promote one of their new meal deals and connect with customers. Truly a way to get the brand out there! 

 

Digital Product Sampling: 

Product sampling has always been a mainstay of field marketing. Digital product sampling is becoming a fantastic way for field marketing agencies to push their product out there and start getting the attention they’re looking for. 

How it works is that field marketing agencies ask customers if they would like to experience the product in exchange for honest feedback, whether through a review or on social media. The product is sent in the mail, and the customer writes a review in return. 

 

The Future of Field Marketing: 

The future of field marketing is quickly evolving. With new innovations being launched every day, field marketing agencies now have a wealth of knowledge, technology and new methodologies at their disposal. With brands trending more and more towards being accessible and relatable, this could not come at a better time. Despite COVID-19, audiences are looking for a higher level of connection than ever before. Through the use of technology in field marketing, agencies are able to offer brands interesting and relevant ways to connect with consumers.

 

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