In most global technology companies marketing is often organised at an HQ (Corporate marketing) level and local (Field marketing). And this structure often behaves like a seesaw, with budget and resources shifting from the field to a central team and back again. Sound familiar?
Whatever the structure, a field marketer’s job has always been a busy one, juggling the various demands from their local sales team. Very often their remit was to plan and run the local activities that the regional or corporate marketing team were unable to manage. Remember the days when the stationery cupboard was heaving with branded swag and events were run on a weekly basis.
Back at HQ, the marketing function probably provided your product marketing collateral (which you then had to localise), brand guidelines and hosted your local websites. Your marketing budget was allocated locally (decided by your regional/ country management team), and you were responsible for how it was spent. Reporting consisted of how many people turned up at an event and handed business cards over for sales follow up. Life was always busy, but you knew what to do.
Fast forward to today.
Field marketing generally reports into the corporate marketing function these days. With a view that corporate marketing should work more closely with the field and develop programs that can be more easily implemented across multiple regions. In theory this sounds like a promising idea, however, the reality is that often this model is flawed in its implementation.
So, what are the pros and cons? And is there a better way to work?
Central Marketing team responsibilities:
Field Marketing Responsibilities:
We asked Mobina Mehlam, our Field Marketing Associate in the Middle East what it was like being a field marketing manager today. "It's much more complex now.” She explained. “Not simple at all. I have to wear so many hats at one time.”
“The different elements of marketing a field person needs to be completely aware of, as well as being totally engaged with the local business.... there’s so much more to do”
“You not only must understand the needs of your market, and how your customers and your ecosystem works (your channel). You also need to implement a lot of that and mould it to local requirements”
When we asked her how things could be improved, she told us “The relationship between a central marketing team and field marketing should be a two-way conversation. With the field providing more input on local dynamics. What messages are resonating, what are the market trends, what are the opportunities and taking those insights into the global programs”
So, why is it that so many organisations regard the field marketing function as the 'doers’ or final step in the marketing delivery chain, when there’s so much local market knowledge they can provide? Aren’t they closest to your customers, sales channels and competitors?
Surely the most critical input in your marketing strategy?
If your organisation is customer focused, then it’s time to rethink the role of field marketing within your business:
At the Marketing Bee, we believe the field marketer of the future will be a key lever of success for high growth businesses.
We’d love to know your views on the role of field marketing and how the function might evolve. And maybe you’ve got your own field marketing challenges to solve that you’d like our help fixing. We’ve got years of experience both in corporate and field marketing functions.
The Marketing Bee. – we’re the experts in how B2B technology marketing should be.