Field Marketing Versus Brand Marketing, the Fight of the Century

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!


7 responses to this post.

  1. Sharon, I really enjoy your analysis of the dichotomy between these two types of marketing. I also appreciate your pragmatic advice regarding the implementation and practical application of both. Thank you for the post.


    • Posted by sharonmarkovsky on January 7, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      I am glad to be of help. What I didn’t say in the article because it was getting too long is that you will fight this field marketing vs. brand marketing battle with your ad agency as well. They tend to want to do ads at the brand level and not get into the field level.

      Thanks for reading my blog and providing a comment!


  2. Sharon–well said. I have always known this on the intutition level but could never quite express the difference. Thanks for explaining in regular easy-to-get terms.

    You rock!


    • Posted by sharonmarkovsky on January 14, 2010 at 9:28 am

      Thanks Elaine!

      There are so many different types of marketing that it is hard to keep them all straight! The difference between field and brand marketing is important as it really defines who you are as a marketing department within a company.

      Thanks again for your comment!


  3. […] Field Marketing vs Brand Marketing 20 06 2010  I recently came across another marketing blog entry which argued that the fight of the century will be between field marketing and more traditional brand marketing.… […]


  4. Hi Sharon,
    I fundamentally disagree with your argument here I’m afraid.
    I believe that field marketing and brand marketing can and should coexist in order to create a balanced marketing strategy.
    To find out more take a look at my most recent blog entry –


    • Posted by sharonmarkovsky on June 21, 2010 at 6:43 am

      Thank you for taking to the time to read my blog and provide your comments. While I can understand why you would think that I am arguing that you should only do field marketing, what I was suggesting is that brand marketing is most successful in building brand awareness. Field Marketing is generally more supportive of the sale and is thus more suited for efforts that are further down the purchase funnel. If you have the money to do both, that is great and should be done. However, most marketers don’t have that kind of money.

      Thanks again for your comments.


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