Field Marketing v. Experiential Marketing
What, exactly, is the difference between field marketing and experiential marketing? To be honest, we even struggle occasionally with drawing the line between the two because it’s not always night and day when it comes to distinguishing them. Often, it helps to look at each particular campaign on a spectrum that takes into account the depth of a consumer’s engagement with the brand.
However, one thing’s for sure—experiential marketing is different from a field marketing campaign. Here’s how we define the two so you can decide what side of the spectrum you might want your campaign to fall.
Field marketing is a traditional marketing practice aimed around proving existing marketing claims and encourages immediate sales action. Often a local grassroots effort, field marketing typically relies on promotional brand ambassadors using one-way communication to deliver a sales message, product sample or premium item.
Whether in-store or at a street level, field marketing is effective at supporting local retailers or points of sale activity. When the client’s goals revolve around mass sampling and a high number of engagements, field marketing becomes a game of staffing and numbers to try achieve those goals as efficiently as possible while aligning with the brand’s key objectives and messaging. So yeah, field marketing is often price-driven.
For this type of campaign, it’s not uncommon to use more “off-the-shelf” solutions and tactics. For example, dio and big sister company do it outdoors media utilize the following to execute turnkey field marketing campaigns:
- Dedicated roster of national field managers to execute all campaigns to our company standards and fully understand how to execute and oversee them for our clients
- Experienced W-2 brand ambassadors who are used to execute every campaign. Through a robust brand ambassador scheduling process, we’re able to quickly adapt to any last-minute scheduling changes
- An existing fleet of out-of-home media formats to promote specific sales opportunities
This can be extremely effective for one-off activations or long-term campaigns, from grand opening events to new product launches. In short, using field marketing teams to distribute your timely sales message can be very effective.
Experiential marketing, on the other hand, is used to prove a brand’s credibility and build long-term brand loyalty. Experiential marketing is more strategic in nature, delivering tailored solutions to meet a brand’s specific challenges. Experiential marketing can change perception, humanize a brand or develop relationships with consumers.
Brand experiences should also create two-way, interactive communication. Consumers participate in an activity that genuinely represents the brand’s personality. While field marketing interactions may only last a few seconds, brand experiences should last a few minutes. This allows for deeper immersion into a brand, awakening multiple senses.
Brand ambassadors staffing experiential campaigns should be very carefully selected to align with the buyer persona(s) of the target audience(s). Like field marketing, brand experiences can be event-based, street level, guerrilla style or in-store; find places and ways to engage with key audiences differently than any other marketing discipline.
We connect with consumers both rationally and emotionally to impact their perception of the brand. There is strategy backing our every decision, from experience development through execution.
Experiential marketing creates memorable consumer engagements.
So, it doesn’t necessarily have to tie to a specific marketing message or claim. Offering real experiences to consumers sparks word of mouth and social media mentions, growing the reach of your campaign organically. Experiential also supports a brand’s public relations and ability to gain earned media coverage. A campaign of this nature certainly does generate immediate calls to action (98% of participants are more inclined to make a purchase, according to EventTrack). The biggest benefit is its ability to drive brand recognition, recall and loyalty.
Field marketing can make consumers like your brand and give your product a try.
Experiential marketing compels consumers to fall in love with your brand, which results in a higher lifetime customer value.
Another related question we are asked a lot is: “What’s the difference between your big sister brand (do it outdoors media) and dio?” Answer: dio is our experiential arm, evolving from the former’s promotional media assets and field marketing execution. We are a separate, fully strategic experiential marketing agency. Once a full-service advertising and branding agency, we have an art and creative team to support every experiential initiative. Experiential marketing, although perhaps born from the field marketing genre, is its own marketing discipline. One that demands distinction from its predecessor, as it requires skills and competencies that field marketing teams do not need to be successful.
What’s great about working closely with a dual-brand is the sharing of strengths, creating one powerhouse marketing team for your brand.
Let’s tap into your audience’s consumer motivations to craft the best type of marketing campaign for your goals and challenges. Give us a shout.