Current Trends, Developments and How They Are Viewed by Field Marketing

In the online-survey six different topics were looked at: Crowdsourcing, Retail Restrictions, Shopper Marketing, Online Mobile Promotions, International Projects, as well as "Other Trends" to be named. Participants were asked to scale the respective impact a) on Field Marketing services and b) on Field Marketing budgets, the scale ranging from 0 (no impact) to 10 (high impact).


Retail Restrictions


Retail Restrictions is the topic with the highest impact on Field Marketing, both in regard to Field Marketing services (7,5), as well as budgets (6,9). And though the grade may slightly vary between territories or group/network members vs. Localists, for every group of participants, Retail Restrictions are the number one factor in influencing Field Marketing.

This result is not astounding, as there is a dependency of Field Marketing on retail developments, which goes far beyond the who (which agency is allowed to do services in-store), © COMBERA GROUP GmbH 16 but is rather more about the what (which type of service) and how (what time/timeline, regular, one-off, etc.) Field Marketing services may be provided in-store.

Retail is currently in a process of aligning itself with changing shopper behaviour and—if one wants to call it such—an empowered shopper, though an expression like "educated" or "knowledgeable" shopper might be more appropriate.

While classic online stores have started catering to the need of becoming tangible by opening pop-up or even first kind of flagship brick & mortar stores, brick & mortars have come to copy tracking the complete customer journey by beacon or LED technology, following their customers’ mobile through the store and delivering personalized7 or at least situational8 messages to address shoppers during their journey.

Aside from "big data" collection, a vast amount of other technologies like "intelligent" or "smart" shelfs9, digital mirrors, holograms, and countless other tools are tested out. All these technologies do define the shaping of services needed in the future,—while smart shelfs impact "availability", other tools affect "activation" and "engagement".

Will that mean services provided to achieve these solutions will become completely redundant in the future? Well, aside from retail technology, we are currently also looking at a lot of words and phrases borrowed rather from the world of arts and entertainment, like for example "Retail is the closest thing to show business off Broadway"10, curated assortments11, at integrating theme parks12 or "grocerants"13.

So not only is there not a simple answer with a yes or no to that question, even the question itself is not as simple as that.

Technology and data will influence instore services in two ways: in part routine tasks may be diminished (like stoke control) and lead to more "free time" which can either be reduced or applied to additional/different tasks, so the blurred lines between activities will become even more indistinct; on the other hand, faster/real time information will ask for faster reactions, so it is likely we need to see even more flexibility in routine tasks, like for example rack jobbing several times a day.

Entertainment and engagement will ask for further qualifications and special skill sets, be it technological maintenance or show-cooking.


International projects and the advantage to be part of an international group/network


Aside from Retail Restrictions, this is the topic viewed as being of most impact both on services (7,3) and budgets (6,9). With Localists the impact on services ranks even higher than within European groups/networks (7,6 vs. 7,3), and is leading among the topics together with Shopper Marketing. An explanation for that is that those not belonging to an international network/group see the rise of demand from client side.

With the impact seen in international projects, it does not come as a surprise, that 97% of the participants do see an advantage in being part of an international group/network, with 100% of the Localists saying so.

An interesting aspect within the Localists is, they also do not only see a direct impact by participating in international pitches, or sharing development costs for tools, but they — like the networkers — see advantages in the "soft" factors like knowhow transfer, best practice exchange, business development via new ideas and trends, plus reputation.


Shopper Marketing


Educated and empowered shoppers do showrooming and web-rooming, they compare price, quality, service, experiential equity14 not only before starting a shopper journey, but also during the entire shopper journey, which means at (m)any points they may get re-routed.

And they do that both in online stores as well as in off-line brick & mortars15. In addition they share their knowledge and experience with others16.

Plus they do not belong to the same category of shoppers all the times, the same person can be multiple shopper personalities depending on mood, time, needs and missions.17 Shopper Marketing (Shopper Centric Marketing) therefore naturally is seen as being of high impact both on services (7,2) and budgets (6,7) in Field Marketing. In Western Europe Shopper Marketing is the second highest ranking topic (almost as high as Retail Restrictions), while in Eastern Europe it is ranking number 4 (after international projects and Online/ Mobile Promotions). There may be two explanations for that, Western and Northern European Field Marketing agencies already have taken a step towards integrating Shopper Marketing activities into their portfolio of services and would therefore naturally be inclined to put more emphasis on that, another explanation is that the term as such has not yet gained sufficient ground, in the rather price promotion driven Eastern European markets.


Online/Mobile promotions


Overall, Online/Mobile promotions are viewed as being of more mediocre impact both on influencing services (6,7) and budgets (6,7) in Field Marketing, though in Eastern Europe the impact is significantly seen as higher (service 6,9; budget 7,2) than in Western Europe (service 6,5; budget 6,4). Explanations could be that Online/Mobile Promotions are newer in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe and therefore have more of an exciting novelty character. All in all online and mobile promotions as such are routine tools and there is more disruption in the shopper journey to be expected from mobile payment systems.




In the case of Field Marketing, Crowdsourcing18 can be described as the use of non-professionals taking over tasks, which have both a minimized scale and scope, being remunerated by a combination of payment and recognition.

Most common use of Crowdsourcing currently is found along the lines of auditing activities— measuring in-store factors like product availability, product placement, price or promotional activity — however, with a limited depth in scope (limited number of articles, limited number of characteristics), limitations in the coverage of rural areas and challenges to provide 100% coverage of scheduled outlets within a pre-determined time frame.19

It therefore does not come as a surprise that Crowdsourcing is not seen as being of high impact on the services delivered by Field Marketing agencies. On the scale from 0 to 10, Crowdsourcing reaches 5,4. The impact on budgets is seen as higher than the impact on services. However it is discernible that in countries where Crowdsourcing companies are particularly active, the impact is seen much higher both on services (6,8) as well as on budgets (6,2).

As the penetration of Crowdsourcing companies is higher in Western Europe than in Eastern Europe, Western Europe gives higher rates (5,7 service, 5,5 on budget) than Eastern Europe (4,93 service; 5,7 on budget). Interestingly, countries having less experience are not afraid of an impact on services, but have a much higher fear of impacts on budgets. Members of an international network or group do tend to rate the impacts both on service and on budgets higher (5,8 on service; ,9 on budgets), than the Localists (3,9 on service; 4,6 on budget). As the country/region mix of European territories is not responsible for belonging to a group or not belonging to a group, an explanation is: information or first experiences with this type of competitors spreads faster within a group/network and gives food for thought.


7 Personalized is using personal data and shopper history to make suggestions.



8 Situational is connecting store location and products checked out instore to make for cross or additional sales suggestions.



9 RFID-Readers tracking items and providing alerts for replenishment, misplacement, expiry notifications, customer interest notifications as well as digital signage.



10 Rodgerson, D. (2015) Looking at the Future of Retail. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/looking- future-retail-dave-rodgerson (Accessed: 29 February 2016). Inline Citations: (Rodgerson, 2015)



11 In extreme theme-based stores changing their assortment every couple of weeks/days.



12 Hamleys, winning a World Retail Award 2015 for best store design: https://vimeo.com/136703682



13 Nielsen TV: Are ‘Grocerants’ the grocery stores of tomorrow? (2015) Available at: http://www.nielsen.com/ca/en/insights/ news/2015/nielsen-tv-are-grocerants--the-grocery-stores-of-tomorrow.html#st_refDomain=www.facebook.com&st_ refQuery=/ (Accessed: 29 February 2016).



14 "We are all familiar with the term Brand Equity. And while still important, what we should now be really asking ourselves is does our product have Experiential Equity? Does it deliver a genuine unique experience to the shopper? Does it deliver enough value experientially to add to their social currency when they share it? When you look at the product or service you sell through this lens you see the truth. If what you sell wouldn’t make someone take their phone from their pocket and snap a photo to share, then it is lacking in experiential equity. If they don’t want to ‘share’ their product experience within their digital eco-system, then you have failed in delivering an experience." (Hughes, 2015) in Hughes, K. (2015) SHARABLE EXPERIENTIAL EQUITY. Available at: http://www.kenhughes.info/shareable-experiential-equity/



15 Though depending on mission and need in brick & mortars re-routing might happen rather in the next journey.



16 This might be the real "empowerment" part, being an influencer to others. Shopper behaviorist Ken Hughes speaks of Three consumer worlds: MY World, OUR World and THE World. "Together they make up their entire being, but individually they are very different places, and realities that any brand needs to understand. …This division between these three worlds might seem simple and insignificant, but brands that are unable to push their way in to the OUR or MY world circles are discovering the cold shoulder of irrelevance. The growth of the P2P economy is significant and framing your brand proposition to be part of this inner peer group is critical. Today you have to be ‘ONE OF THEM’, not a corporate outsider." (Hughes, 2016) in Hughes, K. (2016) WHAT ST. PATRICK DAY CAN TEACH TO YOUR BUSINESS. Available at: http://www. kenhughes.info/business-st-patrick/ (Accessed: 30 March 2016).



17 While having a basket delivered during the week as a convenience, on weekends it might be a fun activity to go shopping.



18 "Howe first published a definition for the term "crowdsourcing" in a companion blog post to his June 2006 Wired magazine article (Crowdsourcing, 2016)



19 In order to guarantee 100% coverage within a certain time frame costs are no cheaper than a visit by outsourced Field Marketing specialists, in fact crowdsourcing companies promoting these factors to their clients often make use of Field Marketing agencies and their nationwide trained field forces