Posted by Peter O'Neill on February 18, 2010
Thanks to all of you who have already sent me feedback about my first report on the challenges facing field marketers. See report.
It was based several meetings with field marketers over the last months. My next step is to do structured interviews with field marketing professionals over the next months to even better understand where the job is going and map roles, tasks and responsibilities in a priorities listing in my next report.
Field marketers are the subject matter expert who can communicate the strength of the offered product or service in the language of the buyer in their local market. By language I do not just mean the spoken or written tongue, I also mean an affinity to the business issues being faced by the customer. Even in the days of social media and automatic language and personal control over Web sites, this contribution isn’t going to disappear overnight. But it will change.
A new way of doing business will encroach more and more - but we are a few generations away from digital marketing fully replacing people sitting across the table and talking about something. In fact, one of my theories is that those new companies on the block who focus on “as-as-service” and cloud will only really become successful and established when they add the traditional processes and resources to their marketing and sales repertoire.
I think field marketers will continue to be their company’s scout on a local basis. Successful field marketing people will acquire social marketing skills and be able to discover prospects with needs in their local markets - probably much earlier than the corporate social media processes will be able to. The local people will assist these prospects in their project investigations and then be involved right through the engagement phase. If product managers from the factory want to discuss product needs with these customers, then someone has to be the mediator about combining social media and person to person communication.
So, one of my theses for the future is that field marketers will become a sort of “marketing concierge”: helping prospective and existing customers to engage with their peers (other users) as well as with colleagues (in the marketer’s organization) through social media. I have been using this term in conversations for a while now and I am very happy to see Steve Woods, CTO at Eloqua, a marketing automation vendor that is both client and supplier for Forrester, use something similar in his latest blog.
Anyway, I’m enjoying our conversations, so keep those comments and emails coming.
Always keeping you informed!