still looking for the most cost-effective field marketing solution for 2018?

Here’s a question many big brands will have asked themselves recently: should we spend time and money developing a fully-fledged in-house field marketing team or should we be using a specialist agency?

Some brands are happy to sit on the fence and have a combination of in-house and agency resource working side-by-side. With measurable results that can be compared, it’s certainly a good way of keeping an agency on their toes.

Other brands have successfully implemented a DIY approach, having initially used an agency to provide a concept and develop the skills before replicating the formula themselves in-house.

One of the main reasons for keeping things in-house is that organisations resent sharing their agency with other clients, and can be left feeling that not enough time is being dedicated to their particular cause.

Communication issues are also less likely to arise within an in-house environment, as permanent employees will be fully in tune with the brand’s story, messaging and have more access to the business as a whole.

On the downside, though, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of resource and operational support required to manage a successful field marketing team. Fleet management, hotel and venue booking, as well as the day-to-day people management and performance issues are just a few of the many headaches someone in the organisation will need to deal with.

In the end though, everything comes down to money. But while agencies can initially seem like the expensive option, closer analysis suggests the opposite is true.

Territory planning and consumer analytics software that help determine the best areas of opportunity, as well as reporting software systems, can cost tens of thousands of pounds per year. Any reputable field marketing agency will already have these systems in place, so you will only be paying a small percentage of the overall cost, as opposed to having to swallow the entire amount if you set up an in-house team. 

With an agency, you have less long term exposure and usually greater control of costs, as these will be agreed up front and reviewed on an ongoing basis. If an agency isn’t achieving the levels you have agreed, it’s an easier situation to manage than when employees are under-performing. Also, economies of scale mean that an agency can often cover much more ground than any internal team could realistically manage.

Then, of course, there’s the pool of skilled people on hand that can be deployed at short notice, in specific locations. Many companies simply do not have the internal expertise, infrastructure or resource to undertake this level of additional workload, whereas this is precisely what a well-established field marketing agency is geared up to do. They will be able to cover short term projects, seasonal peaks, promotions and product launches. For organisations not wanting to invest in full time, permanent members of staff, an agency is a compelling option.

For some organisations, field marketing is relatively unknown territory. The thought of an experienced agency leading them through a project and helping to achieve certain deliverables can be appealing and comforting.

With plenty of field marketing agencies to choose from, one worth its salt will fight to win your business with innovation and great service delivery. With specialist knowledge and a proven track record in delivering successful campaigns for previous clients, an agency can provide the fresh impetus and objective thinking that an organisation needs.

Always do everything you can to get the best people you can afford involved, whether they work in-house or for an agency. At the end of the day, quality people make a world of difference, no matter which side of the fence they’re on.

Additional sources: Wagepoint, Michael Page, TTP

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Head of Business Development, Retail7

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