The Evolution of Field Marketing and 5 Factors to Consider When Going Overseas

The role of marketing in an organization has undergone a monumental shift –with the rise of modern marketing strategies, and the proliferation of advanced marketing technologies, marketing teams are being asked to contribute more and more to the bottom line. These changes can be felt across every function within Marketing, but their impact is most tangible in one core discipline: Field Marketing. No longer confined to planning events and setting up booths, Field Marketing has become a true strategic business partner that now aims to influence the entire buyer’s journey. The focus has shifted from tactical execution and reactive sales support to proactively identifying go-to-market strategies that reflect local market conditions. For organizations marketing on a global scale, that means creating and maintaining relevant connections with local audiences to influence their buying decisions and support local growth objectives.


But engaging an international isn’t as easy as packing up your playbook and shipping it to Europe. US and European markets have several key differences that could make or break your Field Marketing strategy.


Download the Sample Field Marketing Campaign RACI Tool to make sure you can execute on field marketing campaigns, rate various corporate wide and localized campaigns as Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, and rate various roles in your company based on the RACI format.


The Top 5 Things to Consider When Marketing Overseas


  1. Data & Privacy  


    Advances in marketing technology have given marketers the ability to deploy hyper-targeted messages at the account, persona, or even individual level. That kind of precision is largely driven by, and dependent on, access to data. In the US, consumers have grown to expect communications tailored to their specific needs and are more willing to share their personal information with marketers in order to get it. European consumers can be much more sensitive to how their personal data is being utilized by marketers, and with the new rules associated with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), marketers need to take extra precaution in how they engage with their audience.  This means Field Marketing needs to work harder to educate consumers on the value and benefits of sharing their online behavior in order for them to truly appreciate personalized experiences.


  2. Language & Localization


    In the US, marketers benefit from an audience of 325 million that (mostly) speak the same language – but marketing in Europe can be a much different story. With some 508 million people spread across 28 countries, speaking a combined 24 different languages, the European Union alone presents an interesting challenge. Even with as much as 51% of the population recorded as “proficient” in English, only 13% speak English as their native language. That means Field Marketing must have a solid understanding of how (and when) to localize content. Engaging an audience in their native language can be a powerful tactic, while assuming they speak English can often be equally as damaging. Mapping your customer touchpoints and evaluating your customer experience design can inform Field Marketing of buyer preferences and help them take the right approach.


  3. Cultural Differences


    While topics like privacy and localized content and pretty easy to grasp, some of the most important differences can be a little harder spot. At the core, Field Marketers exist to engage local audiences in a meaningful way – but what works in the US may not always translate to Europe. The work culture of Europeans can be vastly different from that in America, and those nuances can make a big difference when developing a field marketing strategy. European labor laws are much more worker friendly, making for a much better work-life balance. While it’s not uncommon for American workers to push through a 60 hour work week, very few European’s work over a 40 hour work week. In the US, two weeks of vacation is the norm, and typically taken 2-3 days at a time – if at all. Europeans actually use their minimum four weeks, in most case all at once. While it varies by country, July to August is a popular time to take summer holiday. All this presents a unique challenge for field marketers who are planning campaigns, events, and outreach. It’s important for any international field marketing strategy to have the pulse of the local community, there’s nothing worse than throwing an event that no one is in town for.


  4. Tactic & Channel Approach


    Because of the vast differences in regulations, language, and culture, the type of content – and the channels it’s distributed on – is an important consideration for field marketers. European companies may have more restrictive regulations when advertising at home, so US-based organizations can gain an advantage by focusing on local advertising. Some channels are much better suited for global transition, particular visual ones that can convey messages and tone-of-voice beyond simple translation. Try to leverage mainstream media channels with a mix of tactics to create a content journey that speaks to your audience in a relevant way.


  5. Agency Selection


    With all these nuances, that can often change by country, it’s important that any agencies you partner with  are well versed in the European market. Many top US firms have limited international reach, if at all, so be selective when choosing a vendor. There are a handful of field marketing groups within Europe that have built up a large network of agencies, do your due diligence and choose an agency that can help you meet your goals and objectives.


Field marketing is one of the most challenging roles, sitting between two different departments, serving two masters. Building a modern field marketing organization that can scale international is a key component to making your number. Are you set up for success?


Download the Sample Field Marketing Campaign RACI Tool to make sure you can execute on field marketing campaigns, rate various corporate wide and localized campaigns as Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, and rate various roles in your company based on the RACI format.



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