AGENCY 2001: FIELD MARKETING AGENCY OF THE YEAR - RPM. Its high-quality roadshow and event activities for brands such as Strongbow and Adidas have helped RPM walk off with this prize

RPM is achieving a reputation for high-quality brand-building in

events and roadshows, and has been chosen as field marketing Agency of

the Year. Its market has received a double hit from the economic

slowdown and the foot-and-mouth outbreak, which dampened enthusiasm for

summer events. Despite this, the agency has held on to all its clients

and won £1.2m of new business.



RPM has been promoting events as a brand-building alternative to mass

advertising. Clients such as Lipton Ice Tea and Amarula are making this

a central part of their marketing strategies. The agency has also

pioneered the industry's first brand experience evaluation model and is

campaigning for greater recognition of the value of the medium in

influencing both consumer attitudes and behaviour.



That seems to be paying off. "During the advertising downturn of the

past two months, we have never been busier with new-business pitches,"

says managing director Ross Urquhart. "It's an indication that companies

recognise the value brand experience can deliver."



The agency is now projecting growth of 30%-40% next year, from 20% in

2001.



As part of its strategy, RPM has started to work more directly with

clients, reducing its agency work from almost one-third of turnover in

2000 to less than 2%. "This has enabled us to deliver better quality

solutions and is reflected both in our results for this year and our

projections for next," says Urquhart.



The company has expanded by beefing up its senior team and opening a new

office in London. On the HR side it has brought in an imaginative new

training and incentive scheme that rewards staff who come up with

innovative ideas.



Live activity



The creativity of RPM's solutions has been recognised, for instance in

the two Marketing Event awards it won for its Adidas stand at Marathon

Expo. Another example of its approach is its work for Strongbow in

creating live experiences to recruit new drinkers to the youth market.

Its "Loafing Lounge" provides a focus of activity at UK dance music

events, where festival-goers can meet, relax and sample the cider.



The lounge is designed in the style of an exclusive club, a giant

dome-like structure housing DJs, an underlit dance-floor, plasma

screens, video games and a large bar. Traffic is driven to the lounge by

teams of rocket-packers who tour the festival sites, giving out samples

of Strongbow.



"We knew we had to create something of genuine value if we were to drive

up Strongbow's credibility," says Urquhart. "The key was to provide a

memorable experience and make sure the brand was aligned with it in a

subtle, credible way."



This year RPM extended the concept to Ibiza with a 14-week "Summer of

Loaf" campaign. This included Monday night parties at Cafe Mambo with DJ

Roger Sanchez, free "sundown loafing massages" and extensive bar and

beach-front sampling. It also created a permanent Strongbow Loafing

Lounge in the backroom of the world-famous Eden club.



Almost half a million 18 to 24 -year-olds sampled the drink and,

according to research, one in four have now become regular Strongbow

drinkers. In Ibiza, the campaign has reinvigorated local sales. The

experience also secured strong press and broadcast coverage in national,

dance and regional media, including a three-minute prime-time plug from

BBC Radio One DJ Chris Moyles.



CPM



CPM has been carrying out face-to-face sampling to promote Guinness

Extra Cold, Guinness Draught chilled at a constant 4deg C and offered in

response to increasing demand for cooler beers.



CPM operatives visited 1,500 on-trade outlets across the country, in one

of the largest sampling campaigns ever mounted by the brand. The plan

was to drive traffic into the on-trade stocking Guinness Extra Cold. As

well as face-to-face sampling, consumers were involved in interactive

dice games with the chance for 12 people to win £5,000 each.



Each outlet hosted a sampler whose task was to distribute 80 "first

pint" vouchers to all male drinkers aged 18 to 34. Once most were

drinking Guinness Extra Cold, the sampler launched an interactive dice

game that could be played by everyone in the outlet, or by smaller

groups. Winners were given vouchers for Guinness Extra Cold.



A second mechanic involved two operatives entering an outlet with a

metal briefcase. They distributed combination lock codes, with the

successful code opening the briefcase to win £5,000 and free pints

of Guinness Extra Cold for everyone in the bar. All outlets were

merchandised prior to the activity by the field staff with the

announcement of a Guinness Extra Cold night.



FMCG



This has been a good year for FMCG, says business development director

John Stocker. The agency is well-placed to benefit from the need for

auditing activity and has pulled in some big-name clients.



One is Post Office Counters, which displays in-store marketing material

in 12,000 post offices across the UK. Each branch regularly receives

instructions on the positioning of posters and leaflets, but these are

not always acted on, so the material is not always readily accessible to

customers.



FMCG was appointed in June to a two-year contract to check compliance,

completing a full audit every six months. About 260 staff carry out the

initial work, identifying branches that are failing to position the

material correctly and pointing out to managers the need for compliance.

A follow-up audit of these branches is then carried out.



"Point-of-sale compliance is often overlooked, but our experience is

that getting this right is an important factor in driving sales," says

Stocker.



"Too often the communications in-store do not receive the attention they

deserve. The result is that the medium fails at the final hurdle and the

money invested in it is lost. On many occasions, this also negates much

of the great marketing activity already in place elsewhere."



Brann Ellert



Brann Ellert has been running a business-to-business campaign for Toyota

Fleet since last year. The integrated campaign, based on classic CRM

principles, was launched with a data-acquisition exercise that saw

Toyota's prospect pool expand from 2,500 to almost 20,000 contacts.



The agency first arranged visits by a dedicated Toyota Fleet and Ellert

field-sales force. In the year to the end of September, 2,000

appointments were scheduled.



Sales representatives introduce prospects to the Toyota range, seeking

to build an understanding of their individual needs and the solutions

Toyota can provide.



All customer data gathered through the programme is fed into a central

CRM system that ranks prospects according to their position in the

buying cycle. This system enables Toyota to develop and implement

effective and fully integrated direct mail, telemarketing and

face-to-face activities.



TOP 20 FIELD MARKETING AGENCIES

Rank Company Turnover 2000 Turnover 1999 %

(pounds) (pounds) change

1 CPM UK 75,303,000 56,929,000 32.28

2 Aspen Field Marketing 47,901,000 33,661,000 42.30

3 FMCG 45,518,000 36,880,000 23.42

4 Brann Ellert 40,912,000 33,055,000 23.77

5 Headcount Worldwide Field

Marketing 31,530,000 26,435,000 19.27

6 Momentum 23,383,000 14,350,000 62.95

7 FDS Field Marketing 15,853,000 10,899,000 45.45

8 Mosaic Technology UK 13,309,000 9,789,000 35.96

9 IMP Field Marketing/Face to

Face 12,074,000 10,835,000 11.44

10 Merchandising Sales Force 9,671,000 9,789,000 -1.21

11 Network Field Marketing &

Promotions Co 7,434,000 5,583,000 33.15

12 REL Field Marketing 7,400,000 5,900,000 25.42

13 RPM 7,517,000 6,186,000 21.52

14 iD 6,108,000 4,038,000 51.26

15 Pareto Marketing 5,400,000 3,800,000 42.11

16 Quest Field Marketing Services 5,183,000 4,033,000 28.36

17 Trinity Executives 4,346,000 3,571,000 21.70

18 i2i Face to Face Marketing 3,916,000 n/a n/a

19 DSPS Field Marketing 3,585,000 3,520,000 1.85

20 Creative Sampling 3,170,000 1,250,000 153.60

Source: Marketing league tables.



MERCHANDISING SALES FORCE



Merchandising Sales Force (MSF) has carried out a number of

demonstrations in Safeway on behalf of Pernod Ricard UK, promoting Soho

Litchi Liqueur.



At the 54 stores taking part, 8,000 samples were given out. According to

EPOS data, on the Friday prior to the campaign only one bottle of Soho

Litchi Liqueur was sold in all 54 stores. On the days of the

demonstration sales totalled more than £4,000, a massive

increase.



"The demonstrators received many positive comments," says Kay Ellis, MSF

director of demonstrations. "Pernod Ricard can expect to see increased

sales following the activity, particularly during the run-up to

Christmas."



HEADCOUNT



Despite the economic downturn, Headcount remains confident of a strong

future because companies often turn to the highly measurable activities

field marketers can provide.



One recent activity has been to monitor the top four supermarkets'

agreements with Kerry Foods. Headcount operatives have carried out

monthly audits, checking planogram, price and promotional compliance

across Wall's and Richmond sausage and bacon products. Poor compliance

figures in many cases have led to extension of the activity.



According to Kerry Foods customer marketing manager Sarah Davies, the

company employs professional auditors to ensure regular and consistent

updates. "Having reliable quantitative data is far more effective than

our team occasionally popping in to check," she says.



The company enjoys the status of category champion for its brands in

several major supermarkets. Working with retailers ensures that both the

brand and own-label perspectives are reflected and that the space and

position allocated to each product can be justified.



Return on investment can be measured to some extent in the testing phase

by checking against control stores, but otherwise results come in terms

of greater compliance with planogram agreements.



ID



ID ran a national sampling campaign to educate consumers about the

heritage of Wyndham and Etchart Estate wines. A versatile stand in the

form of an al fresco bar was erected in front of selected Asda and

Safeway stores.



About 55,000 samples were delivered to 44 stores over six weeks. The

graphic display provided information about the wine's background and

staff trained in wine-tasting served consumers.



"The strategy of our grocery sampling campaign is to use trials of the

wines at point of purchase to drive immediate and consistent sales of

the two brands," says joint managing director Paul Soanes.



"The innovative stand and sampling method creates a dynamic and yet

relaxing environment in which to sample the wines and an excellent focal

point at the front of the store." The average uplift in sales for both

brands was more than 500% on the day of activity; one week later, growth

continued at nearly 300%. Event managers negotiated in-store presence in

the wine aisle in 75% of stores, encouraging further sales uplift.



The agency is running a new phase of sampling activity at ten Asda

stores in and around London, leading into the Christmas period. "We

expect to reach the great results that were attained in our previous

campaigns," Soanes says.



FDS



Important wins from Interbrew and Nestle have given FDS an increasing

presence in fmcg. It also expanded its work with Npower, its emphasis on

effective processes and training ensuring growing returns for the

client.



One Npower campaign this year has involved the launch of "smart socket"

telephony. The aim is to maximise levels of domestic distribution in

specific regions by visiting consumers in their homes. Monitoring

systems have been set up to provide the client with detailed information

about sales.



Recruitment and HR are handled by well-structured administration

processes, with the aim of turning contracts into orders as quickly as

possible.



Field managers are given detailed data, such as territory targeting that

helps avoid duplication and excessive travel.



Training gets great attention too, with operators given two days in the

classroom followed by on-the-job coaching. There is special emphasis on

an ethical approach, with back-checks made on at least 10% of each

salesperson's customers.



"What has made this such a profitable campaign has been a constant

analysis of systems in recruiting, working practice and training," says

marketing director James Moyies.



MOMENTUM



Managing director Derek Noakes says this has been a fantastic year for

Momentum. Turnover is growing fast and the agency has acquired a number

of new clients, including Camelot, Foodbrokers and the Metropolitan

Police.



One specialism is brand experience. The agency carried out an

eye-catching activity on behalf of American Express to boost interest in

its New Green card.



To achieve this it used Amex's sponsorship of golfing champion Tiger

Woods, whose youthful, sporty and trendy profile challenges the

conservative image of the card.



The mechanic was an exhibition of the master's golfing skills in

London's Hyde Park, organised by Momentum. More than 5,000 people saw

Woods performing and talking about his experiences.



Invitations were offered via telephone hotline, ensuring data-capture

for prospective card members.



Football pitches were converted into a landscaped golf course,

surrounded by three branded grandstands. The show was hosted by

ex-England football star Gary Lineker and attended by other sporting

celebrities. Three members of the audience were offered the opportunity

to win £1m if they achieved a hole in one.



The event led to a 26% increase in the number of calls and new

acquisitions, exceeding objectives. Other effects included a 24%

boosting of brand awareness and a 25% increase in web applications. The

event also generated considerable media interest in the national press

and broadcast media, with global coverage in five large European

countries.



I2I FACE TO FACE



The £20m launch of Bird's Eye Walls frozen meal brand enjoy!, run

by i2i Face To Face Marketing earlier this year, involved what is

thought to be the UK's largest hot-food sampling campaign, reaching more

than three million people.



Twenty two teams were on the road for three months from February,

visiting multiple grocers, train stations, high streets, city centres

and key events such as the Ideal Home Exhibition.



The campaign was a complex exercise involving detailed journey planning,

control of frozen product, hot-food sampling of 13 recipes and theatre

chef demonstrations to bring the brand to life.



"We believe all brands can be effectively sampled provided you use an

agency with creativity and imagination plus strong logistical control,"

says Bruce Burnett, i2i managing director. "Combining elements such as

frozen storage and cooking with consumer communication is complex, but

it is not insurmountable."



Burnett adds: "The past few years have seen strong growth in sales of

ethnic foods, organic foods and foods that are trying to build new

market sectors. Sampling plays a key role in demonstrating and

communicating the benefits to consumers."



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