Unless you are knee deep in marketing, you probably wouldn’t ever have to worry about the difference between field marketing and brand (corporate) marketing. I on the other hand, have to deal with the internal battle that is field marketing vs. brand marketing almost daily.
The main difference between the two types of marketing relates to the messages communicated. Brand marketing focuses on communicating the values of the brand, the brand image and the core brand messages. Field marketing takes brand marketing one step further in that it uses the brand images and formats, but the message is focused on more tactical and usually geographic-specific messages.
The key with field and brand marketing is to know when to use either one. I would strongly recommend that you try not to produce pieces that include both elements in it. It seems harmless enough, so why don’t I recommend it? That because if you have a well defined and large brand value and position and a lot of field messages, you will end up with a marketing piece that has way too much information on it to be effective.
So, back to my original point, when should you use field and when to use brand marketing. In my humble opinion, brand messages always come first. You need your audience, whomever they may be, to understand who you are and what your company stands for first. This builds brand awareness and equity. New companies should definitely focus on this type of advertising (if they have a decent sized marketing budget). If you have a mature brand, one that people know and recognize, or you have a very modest marketing budget, then field marketing might be better suited for you. This type of marketing will allow you to give specific messages and/or offers to specific geographies that you are targeting. You would still have your core brand elements (logo, tagline and format) in this type of marketing. In my experience, field marketing has been more successful in building brand preference than brand marketing, but both types of marketing can build brand awareness, equity and preference.
In the end, I actually prefer field marketing to brand marketing and use field marketing as much as possible. The company I work for has a fair amount of brand awareness and equity, so I don’t have to focus on brand education (for my company). So in my marketing pieces, I like to target the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) message based on geographic, industry and decision-maker differences among my prospect audiences.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the subject!