What is field marketing? A Guide to the sharpest weapon in a B2B CMO’s playbook

November 10, 2022
Meisha Bochicchio
Meisha Bochicchio
Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast

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Ever wondered what field marketers do exactly? You’re not alone. Field marketing can be a tricky thing to define. In part, because so many field marketers seem to do it all.

In the past, field events were limited to a single geographic location and in many cases, they were a single, once-per-year affair. Back then, the term ‘field marketing’ had a fairly clear-cut definition. You have an area or “field,” and you market to it with the goal of increasing sales. Simple, right?

But the world of marketing has evolved.

Today, brand storytelling, connecting with customers, and collecting deeper account insights are all pivotal aspects of a successful field marketing strategy. And field events—whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid—have become the ultimate solution to achieving all of the above.

Let’s take a closer look at what field marketing is today, the various hats modern field marketers wear, plus proven tips to elevate your field marketing strategy.

Here’s what we’ll cover‍:

  • What exactly is field marketing?
  • ‍What does a field marketer do?
  • How to measure the role of a field marketing manager
  • 10 field marketing strategies for increased engagement

What exactly is field marketing?

Field marketing focuses on forging personal connections with a target audience, using experiential marketing to generate interest in a company's products, services, and brand.

On the surface level, some may view field marketing as little more than event planning in a given geographical area or “field.” Others will see it as a sales support function.

But more and more, companies are beginning to see field marketing as the complete package it really is — the sales, revenue, and brand-building function a modern marketing strategy can’t live without.

Because no matter how you define it, field marketing is crucial to a brand’s ability to connect with, educate, and convert current and future customers.

And with the corporate event marketing industry predicted to reach nearly $511 billion by 2030, field marketing is one area you can’t afford to overlook.

With technology finally making event data both attributable and actionable, field marketers are starting to claim their seat at the table — and they have a lot to juggle from day to day.

What does a field marketer do?

Today’s field marketer works closely with sales teams to generate and track qualified leads, craft detailed account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns, and maximize event ROI for optimal revenue impact.

In our endeavor to untangle the gray area around field marketing, we’ve connected with hundreds of leading field marketers across the globe. One of our favorite insights comes from expert Nina Butler, Senior Director of Revenue Marketing at Alyce:

The charter of field marketing is to create as many experiential moments as possible with buyers, to increase their intent sign, and to give our sales team the greatest likelihood of receiving a response. When we think about what channels are at our disposal to create those memorable moments, events are one of the ultimate ways to do it.

Part of what makes field marketing so tough to put a finger on is that it touches multiple revenue functions across the business. And while events are indeed a big part of it, they’re certainly not the only part.

‍Field marketing vs. event marketing

For eons, the terms “field marketer”’ and “event marker” have been used interchangeably. But while event marketing can easily be a full-time role all on its own, it’s usually just one aspect of a field marketing position. Don’t get us wrong. Event marketing is often a major part of the package — but when it comes under a field marketing umbrella, it tends to be more strategic and revenue-focused, with at least some ownership over generating or accelerating the sales pipeline.

Here are some common field marketing responsibilities that you may or may not see in an event marketing role:

  • Planning, implementing, and tracking virtual, in-person, and hybrid events
  • Defining event goals and metrics, including targeted lead flow to maximize pipeline generation and acceleration
  • Monitoring event metrics, conducting post-event evaluations, analyzing and reporting on results, and making recommendations for optimization
  • Evaluating 3rd party opportunities and building vendor relationships to drive market penetration
  • Managing the event marketing budget
  • Continuously bringing new, revenue-driving ideas to the table‍

Field marketing vs. demand generation

Depending on an organization’s structure, it’s not uncommon to see field marketing sitting within the demand gen team.

But within that team, field marketing often plays a connective role, going beyond brand awareness and lead gen to help drive prospects through every stage of the pipeline.

A field marketer helps drive pipeline by:

  • Working closely with stakeholders to develop, execute, and optimize comprehensive marketing strategies that create demand
  • Managing campaigns throughout the lead lifecycle — from awareness and lead generation to nurturing and sales acceleration
  • Telling the brand story through various types of event and non-event content, including emails, landing pages, webinars, case studies, and blog posts
  • Working in multiple marketing channels, including (but not limited to) digital, media, email, paid and non-paid social media, and monitoring and reporting on results

Field marketing vs. account-based marketing

Field marketing isn’t the same as account-based marketing (ABM) — but it’s certainly an integral part of it.

One way to think about it is: demand gen builds prospect awareness, field marketers gather crucial account-level gems, and sales uses those golden data nuggets to provide prospects with personalized solutions that help convert them into paying customers.

All of this can happen as part of a greater ABM strategy. But for field marketers to really ace their part, they’ll need to:

  • Qualify and manage leads by providing specific content for nurture campaigns or even reach out to leads directly when needed
  • Set up programs and tools like Marketo, Hubspot, and more to track results and route leads to sales
  • Monitor account-level engagement and campaign metrics
  • Support and execute account-based strategies and programs

‍Field marketing vs. customer marketing

Field marketers don’t exist solely to influence lead gen efforts. They’re a full-service marketing function that can also be used to keep customers happy and increase recurring revenue.

Because whether it’s accelerating product adoption, improving retention rates or building brand loyalty, field marketing touches every aspect of the sales cycle and beyond.

While not every customer marketing role has a field marketing component, it’s not at all rare to find field marketing roles where customer marketing is central.

This inevitably means more responsibilities, including:

  • Working with business development representatives (BDRs) and account managers (AMs) to find revenue gaps and growth blockers within the customer journey.
  • Analyzing data from pre-existing customer events to understand the reasons for revenue decline or low product updates.
  • Collaborating with product and development teams to bridge those gaps.
  • Utilizing customer events to improve product knowledge, upsell new products, and increase brand-to-customer face time.

In many organizations, field marketers have to be a jack of all trades. But they also have to be masters of those trades too.

That’s where having the right metrics to measure field marketing success is critical.

How is the role of a field marketing manager measured?

For field marketing insiders like Salesloft’s Director of Global Event Marketing Jennifer Cummings, being able to measure event success is key to the role.

“There's so much actionable data that you're getting from your platform now that can always be used more intentionally,” Jennifer explains.

“Sometimes they’re vanity metrics, like the number of people that logged on. But then there's stuff that's like, ‘Oh, I can actually do something with that—I can use this to personalize our follow-ups or improve the attendee experience.’”

Ways to measure field marketing success

Here are some of the metrics you may want to focus on:

‍Demand gen metrics

  • List of qualified attendees and their companies, job titles, geographies, etc.
  • Number of registrations
  • Actual attendance numbers
  • Time spent in an event
  • Engagement with on-demand assets
  • Actions taken post-event

‍Account-level metrics

  • The number of VIP attendees coming to the event (e.g., important leads, customers, etc.)
  • Real-time engagement (e.g., questions asked, polls taken, content downloaded during the event, etc.)
  • Engagement with on-demand assets
  • Total engagement score for each attendee (time in session, content downloaded post-event, questions asked, polls completed, etc.)

‍Pipeline metrics

  • Prospect stage of each attendee (lead, prospect, MQL, SQL, or customer)
  • Percentage of each type of prospect attending the event
  • Percentage of customers attending the event
  • Minute-by-minute attendance rates (including best sessions and drop-off areas)
  • Number of private discussions with VIP attendees
  • Conversions into a qualified lead
  • Conversions to number of qualified meetings
  • Pipeline (both sourced and influenced)
  • Closed-won opportunities
  • Closed-won revenue

10 field marketing strategies for increased engagement

As you might’ve guessed by now, field marketing is a competitive world.

To make sure your field events rise above the noise, you’ll need to think outside the box with your field marketing strategies.

Start with these 10 powerful event engagement ideas to keep your attendees tuned in from beginning to end.

1. Swag

Think vouchers, tickets, and branded items.

2. Networking opportunities

Peer-to-peer messaging, video conferencing, networking hubs, and randomized breakout sessions.

3. Social media

Event hashtags, selfie-sharing, and referral competitions. 4. Virtual photo booths

Via virtual photo booth integrations like Snapbar and WeBooth.

5. Q&A

Invite audience members on stage to ask their questions with next-gen video Q&A.

6. Polls

Increase interaction, help shape topic navigation, and collect account-level data.

7. Gamification

Collect badges, embed multi-user event gaming experiences, and introduce scoring systems or digital leaderboards.

8. Speakers and entertainment

Opt for an industry maverick, live band, Michelin Star chef, or celebrity cameo.

9. Sponsor and sales interaction

Utilize booths for 1:1 sponsorship interactions or sales demos.

10. On-demand content

Record sessions and make event content downloadable for those who couldn't attend or want to re-watch.

To discover more ways to win with field marketing, check out the many incredible successes of these inspiring field marketers. 🔥

Make field marketing your secret weapon

Clearly, it’s time to redefine the role of the field marketer within your organization and give them as much agency, autonomy, and applause as you can.

By shifting your focus and viewing field marketers as the true growth levers they are, marketing and sales can tap into new revenue streams they never thought possible.

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