International Field Marketing -Part 1.4

International Field Marketing -Part 1.4

Aside from the early historical seeds with sales agents or commercial representatives being

the easiest option for generating distribution afar from the doorsteps, by the late 1990s, early

2000s full service Field Marketing agencies have been taking steps into internationalisation.


Internationalisation was driven by clients asking for identical service levels in neighbouring

countries (countries belonging to the same regional cluster on the clients side), in other

parts, this was driven by Field Marketing agencies themselves in an attempt to make the

most of an European Community common market or by staking claims in newly emerging

markets in Eastern Europe.


It is not surprising then that 97% of all agencies that answered to the survey question “Do

you think it is an advantage to be part of a multinational group/network?” stated “yes”14.


Looking at service types apart from merchandising, auditing was among the first activities

to be more harmonized and outsourced on an international scale.

Looking at sectors IT and Consumer Electronic companies were pioneers in international

harmonization, rather than Food and Beverage companies. For the simple reason: “We do

not need to come in different varieties, we simply need to translate our user manual into

many languages”, explains a White Goods executive.


Today in the age of the connected, knowledgeable and ever more empowered consumer,

products, brands and services are no longer necessarily local/national but in principal globally

accessible. And this gives a decisive push on clients’ sides, to increase their international

harmonization efforts, sharing and applying cross-country best practice, re-defining

processes and business models, adding efficiencies, searching and embedding international

strategical and preferred suppliers.


14 This question was the last one in the survey and not mandatory which explains that a couple of participants skipped.



An overview of Europe’s largest internationally operating Field Marketing Groups15:





An Estimated Industry Size of an Invisible Market

Even on country levels there are no robust figures available for outsourced Field Marketing.

In parts this is due to the definition challenge, in part the cause is the invisibility factor.

The value of Field Marketing in the UK alone in 2005 was estimated to be 770 Mio BP/ 997,3

Mio €16; French Sorap estimates 310 Mio € for 201218, the Dutch organization gives no figures

at all.


Management ratios along the line field/KAM spends do not differentiate between insourced

and outsourced, while marketing spends include also all communication budgets.


Figures on Outsourcing or BPO are not limited to Field Marketing but include facility management

and IT spends.


An educated guess based on the figures provided by the online survey comes to the conclusion

of an industry size across Europe exceeding 3.200 Mio €.18


15 Cosine Group and CPM Group both have presence outside of Europe as well. Figures based on publicly available information (2015).

16 Williams, A. and Mullin, R. (2008) The handbook of Field Marketing: A complete guide to understanding and Outsourcing face-to-face direct marketing. London: Kogan Page Publishers; p.7.

17 Home—SORAP—Syndicat des Professionnels de l’action Commerciale terrain (2014) Available at: http://www.sorap-fieldmarketing. com/ (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

18 The 59 responses to the turnover categories result in a cumulated turnover of up to 785 million €. Originally identified were 171 Field Marketing agencies. 59 out 171 agencies are 35%. 785⁄35×100 = 2.243 Mio €. If we assume that 171 agencies identified online make around 70% of the existing Field Marketing agencies, we derive at 3.204 million €.


Initiator and lead-author of this paper is COMBERA GROUP GmbH. Munich-based COMBERA GROUP is Europe’s leading provider of Field Marketing Services and Solutions, covering 31 European countries, with an international turnover of accumulated 310 Mio €, and a field staff of 48.000 providing availability, activation, engagement and auditing/implementation insights to more than 180 multinational clients. We want to thank everybody who contributed, by being available for discussion, and extra special thanks go to all the colleagues in Field Marketing agencies who took the time to participate in the online survey.


If you want to find out more, please get in touch directly or follow the other 2 papers coming soon:


Part II, Influences, Interactions & Innovations: Framing Field Marketing Across Europe, is based on the results of an online survey with 59 Field Marketing agencies from 28 countries, and delivers insights into the capabilities and services within the frame of retailers’ and manufacturers’ pre-requisites, as well as an evaluation of the impact of current developments— retail restrictions, international projects, shopper marketing, online/mobile promotions, plus crowdsourcing and other trends—on budgets and services as seen by Field Marketing Agencies.


Part III, Innovation Integration & Implementation: A Glimpse @ the Future of Field Marketing, is taking a glimpse at future needs and requirements in a shopper centric environment powered by digitalisation and technology. Part III looks at Field Marketing as a Glocal Business, New Alliances and Strategic Partnerships.