Field Marketing: Professional armies on call

Today we tend to view the Swiss as a peace-loving bunch, with a foreign policy based on neutrality and home to international organisations like the International Committee of the Red Cross and various UN bodies.

But between the 15th and 17th centuries, Switzerland was viewed as the place that monarchs turned to when they needed a professional army. Kings found it too expensive to maintain large standing armies and citizen armies were a bit amateurish and tended to drift home at harvest time. Enter the Swiss. They had developed a new form of warfare using experienced pikemen to repel cavalry and hack their way through infantry.

In a similar fashion on behalf of marketers, field marketing agencies can raise small armies of professionals at short notice to fan out across the country to visit retail multiples and independents for specialist tasks. These could range from checking that supermarkets are implementing in-store promotions which manufacturers have paid for to making sure products are actually on shelves and properly merchandised.

In this era when supermarkets know more about customer behaviour than brand owners do, field marketing also provides marketers with the chance to reconnect with consumers, through sampling, product demonstrations and experiential marketing.

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