FIELD/TELEMARKETING: MEET THE PEOPLE - Two dramatically different communications sectors are converging as telemarketing and field marketing unite in the name of CRM and cost-effectiveness

Historically, the telephone and the field force have occupied

opposite poles of the communications mix. One is a remote,

technology-driven tool.

The other is reliant on the more old-fashioned value of face-to-face

contact. Both have thrived, becoming two of the fastest growing sectors

of the communications industry.

Telemarketing has grown phenomenally and, in the UK, call centres employ

400,000 people, which is more than the coal, steel and vehicle

manufacturing industries combined. According to the Department of Trade

and Industry, 38 per cent of all new jobs created in Britain are in call

centres and, by 2008, the sector is expected to employ 665,000 people.

The value of the business is immense, with the top 53 telemarketing

bureaux generating a revenue last year of pounds 793 million - a 51 per

cent increase on 1999.

In comparison, the field-marketing sector is smaller, but no less


The top 35 field-marketing companies generate a revenue of approximately

pounds 400 million and the sector is growing at an estimated 30 per cent

per annum. The industry, which encompasses areas such as road shows,

home calling, sampling, merchandising and promotional auditing, is now a

vital channel for marketers.

Traditionally the preserve of cigarettes, soft drinks and confectionery,

field marketing is now attracting investment across the board, from

utilities, financial services and media companies.

Despite their historic differences, these apparently opposed disciplines

are moving closer together. Although technologies such as the telephone

and the internet allow customers to be served more efficiently,

marketers realise that they carry the risk of companies becoming remote

and faceless organisations, accessible only through the sterile portals

of a telephone or PC.

So, as communication becomes ever more technology-driven, it is

gradually coming full-circle, with field marketing finding a new role in

adding one-to-one value to the call centre's remote task. It is a

symbiotic relationship, with telemarketing helping field forces to

become efficient and targeted, and people in the field adding the human

touch that call centres often struggle to find.

Mike Havard, the managing director of the call centre consultancy

Outsourcing Insight, says; "The fact that field marketing is working

more closely with telemarketing is not a rejection of technology, but a

sign that technology is helping companies to make face-to-face

affordable. Businesses need a personal touch - it opens up valuable

commercial opportunities that can't be as easily converted via the web

or the phone."

The factor causing the convergence of field and phone is the rise of

customer relationship management. The concept at the heart of CRM is

being "channel neutral" - allowing customers to interact with the

company through whatever channel they choose. Today's "modal consumers"

(as the Henley Centre calls them) vary their means of communication with

a company according to any number of factors, be it the time of day,

their mood or the weather. In response, companies have to be able to

cater for all eventualities.

Another principle of CRM pushing field and telemarketing closer together

is the intelligent use of customer data to optimise customer

relationships and drive overall profitability. This means that all data,

collected from whatever communication channel, is integrated so that the

company can have a "single view" of the customer. As well as improving

customer service, this allows companies to calculate how to mix

communication channels most efficiently. In theory, the data can tell

companies which customers are worth a personal visit and those for whom

the phone or e-mail is a more cost-effective option.

CPM, the UK's largest field-marketing company, pointed the way towards

field and phone convergence when it merged with the telemarketing bureau

Intelmark in 1999. The move was logical, as both were already part of

Omnicom, but, nevertheless, the integration of the two disciplines

signalled a shift in strategy.

CPM's managing director, Tom Preece, says: "We realised that you can't

rely on one channel of communication any more. This has to be an

important new trend for the field-marketing industry."

Preece adds that using field and telemarketing in tandem produces far

better results. The telephone takes the chill out of cold-calling,

warming customers in advance by making an appointment and then following

up the visit with more relationship-building contact. This works

extremely well for utility clients, whose doortstep sales campaigns now

account for a large chunk of the leading field-marketing agencies'

business (see box).

CPM's competitors have been quick to follow its lead into the

telemarketing space. FMCG, which in 1999 won a pounds 70 million

contract to take over premium collections for the Prudential, has built

up a sizeable home-calling business, working under the name of FMCG Home

Services. FMCG has a field team of 200 who collect premiums on behalf of

the Pru. In time, it hopes to offer this home-calling force as a

resource for other clients wanting a face-to-face presence.

Another field-marketing player seeking to offer an integrated approach

is Cordiant-owned Headcount. The company is in the process of buying a

180-seat call centre, which it plans to double in size in its first


Mike Garnham, the managing director of Headcount, whose clients include

Powergen, says the influence of the utilities in field marketing is

partly behind the sector's dovetailing with telemarketing. He says;

"Three years ago, when the deregulated utilities windfall first

happened, it was all about customer acquisition. But now, as the sector

matures, the emphasis has shifted from selling to CRM, and that creates

a greater role for the phone."

As telemarketing bureaux and field-marketing agencies are absorbed into

the major communication networks, it's natural that the two sectors

should seek more synergy. Cordiant clearly wants to offer an integrated

phone and field package to clients through Headcount and this desire is

also evident at the McCann World Group, which recently acquired GSD

Field Marketing (now called Momentum Field Marketing). Momentum Field

Marketing works alongside McCann Relationship Marketing, which has a

350-seat call centre.

The two combined on a test-drive operation for Saab. The project aimed

to establish warm prospects for Saab and then deliver cars to a

customer's home or office for a test drive. Telemarketing was used for

lead generation, contact management and appointment-making, while the

field team took care of the face-to-face meeting, greeting and test

driving. Field agents then fed information back into Saab, which

enhanced its database.

Despite enthusiasm for telemarketing integration from some in the

field-marketing world, senior figures on the telebusiness side of the

fence are reserving judgement. Martin Hill-Wilson, the European director

of CRM for the UK's fourth largest telemarketing bureau, Merchants, sums

up the feeling. "I can't help feeling that field marketing needs us more

than we need them. You've got to remember that field forces are the most

expensive marketing tool. Clients are keen to integrate the telephone

because they want to reduce the inefficient use of a highly costly

communication channel."

Neville Upton, the chief executive of the top 30 UK call centre, The

Listening Company, echoes these sentiments. He says: "Door knockers are

expensive and inefficient if they are not a well-marshalled


Most companies with a field-marketing operation want to make it more

efficient and adding telemarketing gives them a more structured and

targeted approach."

For all the talk of channel neutrality, the convergence debate boils

down to the inevitable desire of communications agencies to move further

up the food chain. Field marketers want to move into the call-centre

space because it is of a perceived higher value to the client. Likewise,

telebureaux are looking to new media and database consultancy to enhance

the value of their offering.

CPM's Preece concedes that this is partly true. "I wouldn't say that

field marketing is lower in value than telemarketing, but it's certainly

true that both are trying to move up to the next rung on the ladder. For

telebusiness, the next level is new media and for field marketing it's



There is some confusion as to what exactly field marketing entails.

According to research carried out by the Field Marketing Council (part

of the DMA), the primary activities of field marketing are: auditing

retail displays; sales drives; demonstrations; merchandising; mystery

shopping and sampling. Secondary activities are defined as: concourse

promotion; door-to-door selling; events; roadshows; leafleting and


However, clients and agencies have different ideas of what field

marketing is all about. Only 20 per cent say auditing is an FM activity

(compared with 100 per cent of field-marketing companies) and 60 per

cent recognise merchandising as FM's preserve (compared, again, with 100

per cent of field-marketing specialists).

Conversely, more than 50 per cent of clients and agencies say letterbox

marketing is an FM function, whereas no FM companies sees it as its



1. Vertex (pounds 155.9m)

Founded: 1996, subsidiary of United Utilities Group

Clients: Texas Utility Group (Europe), Cable & Wireless Communications,

JD Williams

2. Ventura (pounds 123.3m)

Founded: 1968, subsidiary of Next

Clients: BT Cellnet, The Woolwich, Amerada

3. Sitel Corporation (pounds 66.6m)

Founded: 1983, subsidiary of Sitel Corporation (US)

Clients: Philips, British Gas, GMAC

4. Merchants (pounds 63m)

Founded: 1981, subsidiary of Dimension Data Holdings

Clients: Virgin Mobile, One 2 One, Birds Eye Wall's

5. Thus (pounds 48.8m)

Founded: 1994

Clients: Compaq, Microsoft, Sega

6. Broadsystem (pounds 38.67m)

Founded: 1986, subsidiary of News International

Clients: COI Communications, Cable & Wireless, Yorkshire Electricity

7. 7C (pounds 35m)

Founded: 1998, privately owned

Clients: ONdigital, Vodafone, Alitalia

8. Brann Contact (pounds 22.5m)

Founded: 1990, division of Brann Worldwide owned by Havas Advertising

Clients: Sainsbury's, London Electricity, Centrica (British Gas)

9. CPM (pounds 19m)

Founded: 1988, subsidiary of Omnicom

Clients: Centrica (British Gas), Guinness, Kellogg

10 MM Group (pounds 17.5m)

Founded: 1950, privately owned

Clients: UK Passport Agency, WPD, Cadbury

TOP 10 FIELD MARKETING AGENCIES (1999/2000 turnover)

1. CPM (pounds 56.9m)

Founded: 1936, subsidiary of Omnicom

Clients: Mars, BT, Asda, Guinness, Eastern Energy

2. FMCG (pounds 36.8m)

Founded: 1989, a subsidiary of Mosaic Group

Clients: Birds Eye Wall's, Cadbury, Golden Wonder, Prudential, Rothmans

3. Aspen Field Marketing (pounds 33.6m)

Founded 1975, privately owned

Clients: Britvic, Nestle, Vodafone, Electronic Arts, Bass

4. Brann Ellert (pounds 33m)

Founded: 1980, subsidiary of Snyder Comms

Clients: SkyDigital, BT, Motorola, Kellogg, Eastern Energy

5. Headcount Field Marketing (pounds 26.4m)

Founded: 1994, subsidiary of Cordiant Comms

Clients: Powergen, News International, Amex, UDV, Heathrow Express

6. Momentum Field Marketing (pounds 14.35m)

Founded: 1979, privately owned

Clients: Imperial Tobacco, Landmark, Procter & Gamble, Scottish Power,


7. FDS Field Marketing Group (pounds 10.9m)

Founded: 1990, privately owned

Clients: One 2 One, Yorkshire Electricity, MBNA, Eurobell, Esso

8. IMP Face to Face/Field Marketing (pounds 10.8m)

Founded: 1968, a division of IMP (D'Arcy)

Clients: Tesco, IPC Magazines, Marks & Spencer

9. Mosaic Technology & Communications (pounds 9.9m)

Founded: 1993 (as EMS), a subsidiary of Mosaic Group

Clients: Toshiba, BSkyB, Microsoft, Compaq, Orange

10. Merchandising Sales Force/TTMS (pounds 9.8m)

Founded: 1975, subsidiary of Havas Advertising

Clients: Safeway, Procter & Gamble, Mars, Foodbrokers, Unilever


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