Field marketing: Reach out to your audience when football fever strikes

As England and the other 31 World Cup finalists prepare to take to the field in South Africa, marketers must make sure their tournament tactics are spot on.

The FIFA World Cup is an ideal vehicle for field marketing. But the traditional game of handing out samples and making sure products are in store has fallen out of favour; field marketing is now about integrating promotions with new digital channels such as Facebook and Twitter to gather valuable customer data.

While official FIFA sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Adidas and Budweiser are leveraging their global involvement at a local level, companies such as Carlsberg (see Client View, page 27), Nando’s, Spar and Budgens are also using this summer’s expected football mania to reach out to sports fans.

Simon Couch, head of field marketing at agency RPM, says that for this tournament, brands are using field marketing in a more sophisticated way than ever before. “A brief may have come in for the last World Cup and it would have been quite isolated,” he says. “It might have said we have to hand out a certain number of samples or interact with a set amount of people.

“This time we are seeing wider briefs – we can look at social media, public relations or work with other agencies. We have to keep on the front foot of production innovation, such as making sure you take videos that people have just made and getting them on the web immediately.”

Coca-Cola, as an official tournament sponsor, aims to make sure its field marketing is one part of a larger media mix. It is executing its strategy – focusing on the history of celebration – in 160 countries at various levels. One of its biggest field marketing events will be at FIFA’s “Fan Fest”, where matches will be broadcast live in nine cities in South Africa and in Mexico City, London, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney.

“The Fan Fest is where the consumer is immersed in the world of football and the world of celebration, brought to them by Coca-Cola. We need people to live the campaign physically to experience it,” says Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola’s group director for, worldwide sports and entertainment marketing.

It is also running discrete field marketing activities across the globe, such as a promotion in Mexico where a parade will be held and 500,000 Coca-Cola squeeze bottles given out to fans. While this is to be expected of a brand on this scale, according to Sharon Richey, managing director of agency BEcause, she thinks Coca-Cola needs to get more personal in its field marketing.

What is really interesting with this World Cup is that brands are genuinely reaching consumers through more touchpoints. There is much more integration between social media, iPhone apps, broadcast, field marketing and sampling. As a result, the way brands are promoting themselves to shoppers has become much more personal.

Field and experiential disciplines are working in partnership, rather than the lines blurring between the two. You can create the demand with experiential techniques and then use field marketing to make sure the product is on-shelf. The challenge is to make sure that you are doing all the right things at the right time.

Brands should be doing sampling in the early stages of the World Cup finals to introduce consumers to the products. When it comes to the latter stages of the tournament, the focus needs to be on merchandising, resources and making sure that in-store promotions are well executed. Then it’s time to concentrate on availability and ensure any promotions are constantly replenished by store staff.

It’s a challenging time because everybody is after their space in store. However, not everyone likes football or will be watching the World Cup, so brands still need to associate themselves with areas such as health and beauty – the “WAG effect” may happen among women as it did in 2006.
It goes back to marketing basics – ensure that shoppers can purchase the brand of their choice where and when they want to. If your productsare not available, you risk people switching brands as a result.

Don’t forget the power of convenience stores either. Even though larger multiple retailer chains have much higher budgets, people still make local and impulse purchases at convenience stores. View every sale as a chance to gather more insight on your consumers.

World Cup marketing will be a challenge because we don’t know how shopper behaviour will vary according to the outcomes of matches. So on 23 June, when we know whether England has qualified for the next round or not, brands need to be ready to respond to the change. It might mean switching on field marketing resources at short notice to meet demand. You have to respond to the fact that, all being well, England will be in the next round.

Client View

Ifan Jenkins, senior brand manager, Carlsberg

The great thing about the World Cup is that it appeals to non-football fans. There are all sorts of people who support England at big tournaments but don’t follow football at other times, which is why our England sponsorship is so crucial. During the tournament, people will be going into pubs that normally don’t do so.

We are the official beer of the England football team so we really wanted to leverage that and run a campaign for as long as possible to build sales. There will be information for consumers on how to find their nearest pub. Once people are in, they have to deliver the atmosphere and make sure people are served quickly.

The core insight behind our World Cup campaign is that we are giving fans the opportunity to be “the 12th man” and inspire the team. It’s our England credentials that allow us to do that. There is lots you can do to get the fans on board but field marketing is brilliant because you can get out there and meet lots of 18- to 34-year-old lager drinkers and you are making it really easy for them to get involved.

We have two parts of activity running this year, both under the idea of “If Carlsberg did team talks”. One part is an ad campaign. In the other part, we gave fans the chance to meet the England players at Wembley through our Carlsberg Roadshows.

It’s the first time we’ve used an idea that has gone completely through the line; everything is built off the “team talk” idea. In 2006 we ran a TV campaign – “Carlsberg Old Lions” – but that didn’t integrate into what was on-pack with what was in the outlets. This year absolutely everything carries “team talk”, including outdoor, digital and even our vehicles.

We have closely monitored how many people attended our roadshows, what time they came and when the busiest periods were. We also took email addresses for everyone who took part or who had their picture taken. We may well use their email addresses in the future to keep them aware of any similar campaigns we might be running.

The use of technology at the roadshows was also new and we tried to make this seamless so people could record a video and post it on YouTube straight away. They could also have their picture taken and dropped into a shot of the England team.

The world has changed in the last four years. Digital media means people are interacting with brands so quickly that you really need to have something that is consistent.

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